National Cybersecurity Awareness Month kicks off

by 86th Airlift Wing Wing Cybersecurity Office

The 16th annual National Cyber­security Awareness Month began Oct. 1. Spearheaded by the Department of Homeland Security, NCSAM 2019 seeks to “ensure every American has the resources needed to stay safer and more secure online, while increasing the resiliency of the Nation during cyberthreats.”
According to DHS, cybersecurity is our shared responsibility. Every individual has a role to play, and cybersecurity is not merely a concern during the duty day. For assigned personnel and their dependents living in the Kaiserslautern Military Community, the many travel opportunities living in Germany offers poses additional challenges to staying safe online. Here are four best practices as we enter into a busier period of travel as the end of the year approaches:
Use Strong Passwords — Change any default passwords on your mobile device to ones that would be difficult for someone to guess. Use different passwords for different programs, sites, and devices. Do not choose options that allow your device to remember your passwords. Consider using a password vault app on your mobile device.
Review Privacy and Security Permissions — Be sure to review and understand the privacy and security permissions for any websites or apps where you share your personal information. When using social media sites, you can often customize your privacy settings. Make your privacy settings strict so that only people you know or approve can view your information.
Be Careful What You Post and When — Wait to post pictures from trips and events so that people do not know where to find you. Posting where you are could also notify others that you are away from home, leaving your home vulnerable. Additionally, many social media platforms allow you to check in and broadcast your location, or automatically adding your location to photos and posts. Consider adjusting these settings as well.
Exercise Caution When Using Public Wi-Fi Networks — Before you connect to any public wireless hotspot — like on an airplane or in an airport, hotel, train or bus station, or café — be sure to confirm the name of the network and login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. Cybercriminals can easily create a similarly named network hoping that users will overlook which network is the legitimate one. Most hotspots are not secure and do not encrypt the information you send over the Internet leaving it vulnerable to online criminals. Avoid online shopping, banking, and sensitive work that requires passwords or credit card information while using public Wi-Fi.

Finally, remember that there is no delete button on the Internet. Even if you delete your content, someone could have saved it or taken a screenshot. Before posting, ask yourself: “Am I comfortable with sharing this information with the whole world?”
Practicing cybersecurity is an everyday task and requires relatively minimal effort to safeguard yourself and your families. Over the course of the month, the 86th AW, Wing Cybersecurity Office will be presenting material in line with this year’s overarching themes of “Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT,” and will focus on key areas including citizen privacy, consumer devices, and e-commerce security.

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