Maricopa County is committed to the security of the Internet and the digital lives of Internet users. October is Cyber Security Awareness Month. As such, Maricopa County will be providing information on securing your digital life throughout the month.
Mary Rose Wilcox, District 5 Supervisor and David Stevens, Chief Information Officer help raise awareness regarding the responsible use of cyberspace and the creation of a more resilient and safer digital society in this online video.
NACo has teamed up with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), National Cybersecurity Alliance and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) to bring you a number of important webinars highlighting county government’s role in protecting the Nation’s cyber infrastructure.
What is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM)?
We all need to do our part to ensure that our online lives are kept safe and secure. NCSAM was created to raise awareness of using cyberspace responsibly, and to create a more resilient and safer digital society.
Why is NCSAM so important?
Every day we rely on digital devices to help us with our lives. Smartphones, e-readers, tablets, and laptops are used in almost every aspect of our day-to-day activities. This reliance on technology requires us to protect the resource that makes it possible. The internet is a shared resource and securing it is our shared responsibility. No individual, business, or government entity is solely responsible for securing the Internet. Together we need to become a more resilient and safer digital society.
What can I do to help?
Cyber security begins with STOP. THINK. CONNECT. These three simple are the starting point for staying safer and more secure online.
STOP: Before you use the Internet, take time to understand the risks and learn how to spot potential problems.
THINK: Take a moment to be certain the path ahead is clear. Watch for warning signs and consider how your online actions could impact your safety or your family’s.
CONNECT: Enjoy the Internet with greater confidence, knowing you’ve taken the right steps to safeguard yourself and your computer.
There are also several helpful tips and tricks included below that will help you become security conscious.
Protect your password
Never share your password with anyone, not even a relative or colleague. If another person has your password, they can, for all computer purposes, be you. This extends far beyond simply reading your email. This would include sending email as you, gaining access to sensitive information, and changing where your paycheck goes, and is considered a serious policy violation.
It's very important to use different passwords for different systems. This limits the damage a malicious person can do should a password fall into the wrong hands. Everyone understands that it's nearly impossible to memorize a different strong password for each service you need to log in to. It's a good idea to have a set of four or five very strong passwords that you use on different systems.
Use strong passwords everywhere
No matter how many walls are placed around your machine, there is always a key for complete access: your password. There are countless programs that attempt to determine passwords, both by guessing common ones and by randomly generating possibilities and trying them all, or a combination of the two.
The best defense is a "strong password". A strong password is a combination of numbers, uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and, if possible, other characters. This makes the password nearly impossible to guess in a reasonable amount of time, and ensures that all the hard work you put into keeping your machine well-defended does not go to waste. The longer the password, the harder it is to guess.
Of course, as passwords get closer to random numbers and letters, they also get harder to remember. That doesn't mean that you have to fall back on a weaker password, though. You can m15peLL w0Rdz intentionally, or use a mnemonic device like a strong passphrase.
Always be sure to change your password if you think that there's a chance that someone else has seen it.
Guidelines for Creating Strong Passwords
A strong password is designed to be complex and therefore difficult to guess or crack. To be sufficiently complex, it must:
- be 8 characters or longer
- use a combination of upper and lower case letters, and
- include at least one numeric and/or special character (&, ?, @, etc.), punctuation, and spaces.
A pass-phrase or sentence is a very secure way of creating passwords that are both hard for others to crack and easy to remember by you.
Other Important Password-Related Guidelines
Your account is your responsibility. Do not share your password with others, including technicians. Customer Care Center staff will never ask for your password.
Do not base your password on personal information that someone who knows you may be able to guess.
Avoid letting software save or store your passwords. Besides increasing the chance that someone will be able to access data on your computer or personal information, you are more likely to forget the password if you do not type it in regularly.
Make sure you always log out of programs or web sites and close browser when you are done working with them, especially on public computers.
Protect your passwords and treat them as valuables.
Lock your computer when you are away from it
Even if you only step away from your computer for a few minutes, it's enough time for someone else to destroy or corrupt your information. Locking your computer prevents another person from being able to simply sit down at your computer and access all of your information.
The text that you see representing a Uniform Resource Locators (URL’s) in an email can be set to display whatever a hacker wants it to show. In the email below, the URL looks like it is going to a Microsoft website once you click the link.
But, if you hover your mouse over the link, you can see that the link will actually send you to a hackers site once you click it, as seen in the below picture.
So as a best practice do not click links in emails even when sent from people you know. If you receive an email from a friend or someone you know copy the link and paste it into a web browser to make sure you are going to the correct site.
Cyber Security Proclamation