GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - October represents a lot of things: Autumn, Halloween, tailgating. But did you know that October is also National Cyber Security Awareness Month? Amidst all the fun that fall brings, it's important to make sure you're keeping yourself, your kids and your parents safe online. Today Brad Swenson from Device Pitstop joined the KARE 11 News at 4 to share the latest in cyber security tips.


Cyber Security Tips

1. Online safety basics

Malicious emails can look like they’re coming from a financial institution, government agency or any other business, often prompting you to act quickly to resolve a fraudulent issue.

Contact the company directly but not through the information the email provided. If it appears to come from your credit card company, for example, call the customer line of your provider to verify if this email actually came from them.

Avoid clicking on any links or opening any attachments in emails that appear to be suspicious. Never send personal or financial information via email and do not respond to emails that solicit this information.


2. Responding to identity theft, fraud and cybercrime.

If you have been the victim of identity theft or another cybercrime, knowing how to respond and report is vital.

Change your passwords for all online accounts and contact your financial institutions to temporarily freeze your bank accounts.

File a report with your local law enforcement agency. A copy of this report can be helpful when dealing with creditors, banks and debt collectors.

If your information was stolen due to a corporate data breach, you will likely be contacted directly by that institution with information on how to move forward.

3. Securing key accounts and devices

The key to securing your accounts is starting with a strong password. Avoid using the same password for all your accounts. At a minimum, separate your work and personal passwords and make sure your critical accounts (bank, credit cards, etc.) have the strongest passwords.

If your account has been compromised or hacked, notify all your contacts to let them know they may receive a message appearing to come from you. Tell them to not open these or click on any links in the message. You should also change the passwords to all of your accounts immediately.

4. Managing your privacy

Many teens connect with others through social networks and gaming online. Remind that to be wary of ever sharing personal information with people they don’t know or haven’t met before.

Urge them to consider carefully what they’re posting online, as posts can last a lifetime and can sometimes lead to repercussions down the road. If you wouldn’t want a teacher or parent to see it, don’t post it!

Be aware of what’s inadvertently being shared with a post. For example, you may be giving away information about where you go to school, live, or hangout when posting pictures of you and your friends without any privacy settings in place.

A great resource for additional tips is www.netsmartz.org.