The Department of Public Service would like to acknowledge the Center for Cyber Safety and Education for its very helpful consumer information about using the Internet safely, and for this webpage’s title.
Nearly everyone accesses the Internet to communicate with friends and family, to shop, to work remotely, to access healthcare, and for educational reasons. Going online or accessing social media has its risks. Terms such as spyware, scareware, phishing, virus, and malware are becoming everyday words in our vocabulary.
Are you aware that smart home devices and appliances, such as lights, locks, refrigerators, washing machines, even baby monitors, that connect to the Internet are vulnerable to cyberattack? A hacker can access information from a smart device to disable a security system, turn off an appliance, or steal your personally identifying information. Connected smart home devices should be protected by an IoT (Internet of Things) security system that uses device execution protection, and authenticates and encrypts the data transmitted between the device and the home network.
Secure your home Wi-Fi network by updating your router settings to help protect valuable wireless devices such as IP cameras, voice assistants (Alexa, Siri, etc.), and smart TVs from being hacked.
Don’t always believe what you are told. Sometimes a cyber spy will ask for credentials to confirm you are not a cyber threat, and request personally identifying information to “verify” your authenticity.
Suggested Steps to Take Now
You can take steps to safely and securely access the Internet and use social media more confidently. Some examples are:
- Create/update strong passwords
- Protect your mobile device
- Use stronger authentication when paying or banking online. For example, a one-time PIN texted to a mobile device provides an added layer of security beyond the password and username.
- Keep your security software updated to prevent malware from being downloaded to your device
- Recognize attempted cybercrime
- Don’t “just trust” familiar names, people, organizations, or domains
- Be aware of the manufacturer of your devices
- Use common sense; if it “feels” wrong, it probably is
The links below provide resources and guidance to help you stay connected safely:
- Free Cyber Safety Resources for Senior Citizens (Center for Cyber Safety and Education)
- Parent Safety Topics (Center for Cyber Safety and Education)
- Smart Home: Threats and Countermeasures (Rambus.com)
- Home Network Security (Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency)
- Online Security Tips (Federal Trade Commission)
- How to Secure Your Home WiFi Network (Federal Trade Commission)
- CISA Cybersecurity Awareness Program Toolkit (CISA)
- 5 Ways to be Cyber Secure at Work Tip Sheet (CISA)
- Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks (CISA)
- Protecting against Ransomware (CISA)
- Scam Spotter (Scamspotter.org)
- 131 Cybersecurity Tips that Anyone Can Apply (Heimdal Security)
- Cybersecurity (Homeland Security)