Protect Yourself Online

The more frequent you are online, the more you are put at risk of cybercrime such as identity theft and hacking. 

Statistics

  • In 2014, 47% of Americans had their personal information stolen in a cyber attack.
  • The estimated annual global cost of cybercrime is $400 million.
  • 13.1 million Americans were victims of identity theft or fraud in 2015.

Common Risks

Public Wi-fi:

Often, public networks are not secure. If you are connected to public wi-fi, do not put personal information such as credit card numbers into a site.

Best Practices:

  • Only send personal information to websites you know are fully encrypted (the "https:" before the webpage's URL address). 
  • Do not connect automatically to Wi-Fi hotspots that are nearby. Edit your phone's Wi-Fi settings. 
  • Make sure that Windows Firewall is enabled to block viruses, worms, and hackers.
  • Use two-factor authentication so that even if your password is stolen from public Wi-Fi, a second factor is needed. 
  • Turn off file sharing so that your files are not accessible to others. 

Out-of-date Software:

Cyber criminals target older versions of software when they create malware. Keep your software updated, as updates will address security flaws and stability and usability issues. Install the latest security features. 

Personal Information on Social Media:

Be aware of the information you display such as:

  • Location
  • Birthdate
  • Relationship status/ Spouse information
  • School and graduation date
  • Pet's name

Sharing Devices:

  • Keep your phone to yourself.
  • Use a passcode to lock your device.

Other Security

Malware:

  • Malware is software that intends to damage or disable computers and computer systems.
  • Use anti-malware software. For windows, Immunet. For Mac OSX, Sophos or Avast.

Browser Extensions:

Browser extensions help with protecting your privacy. Extensions can help block you from malicious ads and malware, inform you about a website, block scripts, and enforce SSL. 

Resources:

Enable Multifactor Authentication:

  • Multifactor authentication is another layer of defense for personal information.
  • Enables you to provide multiple pieces of information for increased security.

Do not use administrator:

Administrator accounts have the ability to do essentially anything on the computer. Using administrator account opens the possibility for malicious software to install itself and make changes. A more secure option is to use a non-privileged account for daily activity and only use administrator when it is necessary. 

Schedule backups:

In case of theft or infection, you should schedule regular backups to keep your data.

Physical Security:

Track your device using:

Set a password for all of your devices. Record your serial number and MAC address and store it in a secure location in case you lose your device. 

Guidelines For International Travel

When traveling internationally, it is important to be responsible for your cybersecurity. Practice safe online behavior and security of Internet-enabled mobile devices. The State Department website contains safety information for every country in the world. 

Tips for Travelers

Here are some tips provided by the Department of Homeland Security regarding cybersecurity while traveling. Particular measures are recommended for high risk countries as listed. Consult the Recommendations for High Risk Countries for guidance. 

  • Before you go
    • Back up electronic files.
    • Remove sensitive data.
    • Make sure you are using strong passwords for all accounts and devices.
    • Make sure that the antivirus software is updated.
    • Arrange to use loaner devices whenever possible.
  • While traveling
    • Keep an eye on all devices.
    • Be conscious of your surroundings.
    • Consider using a privacy screen.
  • Returning home
    • Devices used abroad may be compromised. Take safety measures such as changing passwords when you return. 
    • Run antivirus scans on your devices.
    • If your credit card was used while traveling, check your statements for any discrepancies.

Dangers of International Travel 

  • Public wireless networks are insecure and may allow access to your Internet-enabled devices. Keep in mind that the public networks found at airports, restaurants, hotels, and cafes may be a threat.
  • Public computers are accessible by anyone. Travelers should not trust these computers as they may not be updated with the latest software. They may be infected with malicious viruses and software. 
  • Travelers are often targeted by thieves. Be wary of your electronic devices.