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October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month: COCC professor suggests several ways for everyone to stay safe online | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


(Update: Adding video, comments from COCC professor)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, an effort to raise awareness about the importance of staying safe online. When it comes to cybersecurity, it’s important to keep yourself safe online, and a COCC professor has some suggestions on how to do that. 

“I helped three different people over the last two months who have been victims of cyber security,” Eric Magidson, COCC’s professor of computer information systems, said Wednesday.

Magidson has experience with preventing trouble online.

“All three have been phishing attacks, where they clicked on a link and then interacted in order to lose their data,” he said.

In one case, the person used similar passwords on sites, which affected their bank accounts, both business and personal — this can happen by saving your credit card online. 

It’s very important to be aware of every interaction you have on the internet, especially  in instances where it contains financial information. 

“Most importantly, what you can do is, do not click,” he added. “Make sure that you’re checking the links. and the best way to check the link is to mouse over — without clicking in a browser.”

“You can mouse over, if there’s a graphic that says click here to enter information or whatever, mouse over the link and look in the bottom left, to make sure it’s going to the domain you expect.”

To protect yourself online, don’t use the same password for multiple sites and have anti-virus protection like Norton or Trend Micro. and keeping your software up to date — including your home wi-fi router. 

Using two- factor authentication also will help you stay protected, as will using a VPN, a virtual private network.

“It’s very easy for someone like me to create a secondary network that looks like it’s the Starbucks network,” Magidson said. “If users connect on to that, to utilize the wi-fi, thus gain access to the internet, I can capture all that data. So using a VPN means the only data I’m going to capture will be encrypted. So any time you’re using an untrusted wi-fi network, connect with a VPN.”

Taking precautions online should not just be done in October, but year-round.

Here are 10 ways that Magidson recommends consumers protect themselves, their data and their online activity and accounts:

  1. Use Strong, Unique Passwords with a password manager application.
  2. What is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) and why you should use it when available?
  3. Keep software updated and don’t forget your ISP modem or owned equipment
  4. Use a Reputable Antivirus and Firewall
  5. Learn how not to be caught by a Phishing attack
  6. Use a Virtual Private Network – Especially when traveling
  7. Check for the HTTPS
  8. Regularly Monitors accounts (Credit Karma is free)
  9. Limit personal information shared online
  10. Backing up your data – The first line of defense but that last on your to-do-list

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