Your Data, Your Protection …. Is Up to YOU!!

Karen Sylvester

By: Karen Sylvester, AAP, CAMS, CRCM, NCP, Director, Compliance Education

October 2018 officially begins the 15th annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). As a user of the internet, it is our shared responsibly to help safeguard ourselves and stay educated on the current threats. NCSAM was created to build a strong cybersecurity workforce to protect families, communities, companies and even our country’s infrastructure. This sounds like a daunting task but it is actually more manageable than it seems.

As we think about technology we utilize throughout the day, from our phones, computers and other smart devices, it’s obvious we leave ourselves vulnerable to cybercriminals. A goal of NCSAM is to provide all internet users with information and tools they need to be safer and more secure online and educate on protecting personal data. We have seen the General Data Protection Requirement (GDPR) in the European Union (EU) go into effect earlier this year requiring not only financial institutions but all entities that house personal data belonging to citizens of the EU protect the information. California also passed a law going into effect in 2020 with significant requirements that include similar standards to that of the EU.

As consumers, we must make a conscious effort to be mindful of to whom we give personal data, knowing all those that ask for information are not looking out for our best interest. With the onset of daily robocalls to our phones preying on those who might have student loans, credit card debt, health insurance needs or maybe even just body pains, cybercriminals are looking to get their sticky fingers on our information. Though there seems to be nothing we can do about these robocalls, except not answer, we can be alert and be cautious before providing any information. The same can be said for searching for products or answers on the internet. We may like to believe everything we read on the internet to be true, but it isn’t always reliable or accurate. Research and referrals by our friends and family is a good place to start.

We are not alone in the quest to protect information. Together, we can keep ourselves, and those around us, safe by being cautious. Below are some great resources to read, share and use to help increase safety and raise cybersecurity awareness. Happy National Cyber Security Awareness Month!

Resources for Cyber Safety

Identiytheft.gov is the Federal Government’s one-stop resource to identity theft victims. The site provides a streamlined checklist and sample letters to guide you through the recovery process.

Identity Theft brochures and wallet cards remind consumers to report identity theft. These resources are free and available for you to share with friends, family and your clients.

Be a champion! The NCSAM Champion program is a way to officially show your support. Champions represent those dedicated to promoting a safer, more secure and more trusted internet. Champions can be companies, organizations, schools, nonprofits, government organization or individuals.

Stop. Think. Connect ™ provides a variety of free resources in different languages to encourage us all to think before posting. Tip sheets include tax season, wedding planning, holiday shopping, digital declutter and much more!