October is Cyber Security Awareness Month!

Did you know October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month?  Many business owners have shared the horror of realizing their systems were compromised, and I’ve personally provided support during the process of backup, replacing , and researching these attacks.  Have you experienced the loss of productivity, frustration and lack of preparedness such an attack can cause?  In this post we’ll learn more about Botnets and how to protect ourselves.

According to StaySafeOnline, Botnets are generally networks of computers infected by malware (computer virus, keyloggers and other malicious software) and controlled remotely by cyber criminals, usually for financial gain or to launch attacks on website or networks.  Botnets may infect and use laptops, desktops, servers, routers, smartphones, or any other network equipment to conduct malicious activity.

Title Screen

Source: TTC Press Images, Flickr

All computers connected to the Internet are susceptible to malware infections.  Stay Safe Online, powered by National Cyber Security Alliance provides the below keys to survival in the Digital Age:

Keep a Clean Machine

Keep software current: Having the latest operating system, software, anti-virus protection, web browsers and apps are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.

Enable automatic updates: Most security software will automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates if that’s an available option.

Protect all Internet-connected devices:  Remember smartphones, tablets, gaming systems and other devices can be infected with viruses and malware, too. Protect them like you would your computer, including updating apps and operating systems.

Plug & scan:  USB sticks, thumb drives, CDs, DVDs and other external media can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them.

Connect With Care

When in doubt, throw it out:  Delete any online communications (i.e., texts, emails, social media posts) that look suspicious, even if you think you know the source.  

Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots:  When using a public or unsecured wireless connection, avoid using sites and apps that require personal information like log-ins.

Be cautious about “scareware”:  Cybercriminals have used fear to compromise your computer and to steal your personal information, which may include credit card information and banking login credentials. If you get security notices saying you are infected and need to purchase software, these could very well be attempts to compromise your device.

If You Think You’re Infected:  If you are notified, become aware, or suspect your computer has become a bot, take immediate steps to remove malware.  You can find a list of free botnet detection and remediation resources at www.stopthinkconnect.org/keepacleanmachine.

And lastly, update passwords periodically this can be a great way to keep our computers and data safe.

Be effective in ALL you do!



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4 thoughts on “October is Cyber Security Awareness Month!

  1. Great to know Jenelle that October is cyber security month. There’s quite a few things that we can do to secure our privacy and data on our local system as well when we are browsing on the Internet. Thanks for the extra resources, I will check it out.

  2. I was just thinking about this today:

    “Plug & scan: USB sticks, thumb drives, CDs, DVDs and other external media can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them.”

    My niece goes to college and brings her flash drive everywhere. When she was here visiting, she asked if she can type her research paper on the laptop. When she had the flash drive out, I told her to scan it first. She never even thought about that before.

    More college kids needs to be aware of this!

    Another great post, thank you!