October, 9 2015
Attorney General Jepsen: October is
National Cyber Security Awareness Month
Encourages Consumers to Take Advantage of Resources
to Stay Safer and More Secure Online
Cybercrimes and security breaches are a growing problem globally, claiming 556 million victims annually and over $100 billion in costs. This month, Attorney General George Jepsen is participating in National Cyber Security Awareness Month, a month-long collaborative effort between the United States Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance that began in 2004 and is held every October. During the campaign, individuals are encouraged to take advantage of resources that can help them be safer and more secure while online. One first step is to visit https://www.staysafeonline.org/ and learn more about cyber security.
Today, the Attorney General is providing consumers with basic tips and facts to better protect personal information while online and other best practices.
“I encourage all Connecticut residents and businesses to take full advantage of the tips and advice provided during National Cyber Security Awareness Month to be better protected against cyber threats,” said Attorney General Jepsen. “Consumers that are equipped with these resources can increase their awareness of serious online risks and be safer when online.”
Below are some simple tips to help consumers minimize the risk of the falling victim to a cybercrime and how to stay safe online:
TIP #1: When it doubt, throw it out:
Be very cautious about clicking on a link or opening an email, social media post or tweet (or its attachment) from someone you do not know and trust, and always keep virus protection software up to date. Over 600,000 Facebook accounts alone are compromised daily and 1 in 10 social media users claimed to have fallen victim to scam or fake link. Consumers should always exercise extreme caution in order to avoid the danger that can be done to users' files and finances and instead delete or mark as junk. Consumers that use Facebook or Twitter should regulate their privacy settings to ensure personal information is protected and not accessible. Also, only allow those that you know into your social network rather than those that you may not recognize.
TIP #2: Watch out for phishing emails or scams:
You may do business online with financial institutions that you know and trust, however, always keep in mind that legitimate businesses will never ask you to reply in an email with any personal information such as your Social Security number, PIN number. If you question the validity of an email you received, call the number on your credit card, bank statement, or on the financial institution's actual website (which you should find online without clicking on any links in a suspicious email). If available, always use a safe payment option when making online purchases, such as a credit card.
TIP #3: Keep your machine clean and up to date:
Online users can reduce the risk of their computers being infected with malware by keeping antivirus software up to date and having the latest versions of apps, Web browsers and operating systems. Many but not all software programs will automatically update in order to avoid risks. Consumers should consider turning on automatic updates when available to be sure that critical updates are not missed while waiting for manual download.
TIP #4: Help to educate your children about online safety and security:
Remind your family to limit how and with whom they share any information on line. When made available, set privacy and security settings on accounts and web browsers used by children to your comfort level for surfing the Web and information sharing. If your browser does not support such settings, consider using one that does. From social media to simple internet searches, it is important to talk to children about online security before they potentially confront risks on line.
TIP #5: Regularly change and update passwords and web keys:
If you use the Internet for banking, bill-paying or other monetary transactions, be sure to select secure, difficult-to-guess passwords and PINs, and get in the habit of changing them on a regular basis whenever possible. Consumers can also protect their personal and communications data by encrypting their own wireless Internet networks and regularly changing their wifi passwords. Try not to login into any social media accounts on a public computer and if you must, be sure to never save passwords or login information.
For more information and resources, visit: https://www.staysafeonline.org/
This past March, the Attorney General announced the creation of a new department within the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General – the Privacy and Data Security Department – that works exclusively on investigations and litigation related to privacy and data security.
The new department has been responsible for all investigations involving consumer privacy and data security. It also helps to educate the public and business community about their responsibilities, which include protecting personally identifiable and sensitive data and promptly notifying affected individuals and the Office of the Attorney General when breaches do occur.
Individuals wishing to report data security concerns can contact the Attorney General’s Privacy and Data Security Department by calling (860) 808-5440 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The Office of Attorney General, upon receiving such reports, will try to work as a resource for those affected as well as alert local authorities.
Assistant Attorneys General Michele Lucan and Matthew Fitzsimmons, head of the Attorney General's Privacy and Data Security Department, are assisting the Attorney General with this matter.