October is Cyber Security Awareness month, a reminder for consumers to review their bank statements and credit card bills to confirm that all the transactions listed are legitimate. Individuals should also be vigilant when using their smartphones, tablets and other devices that store personal information digitally.

Launched by the National Cyber Security Alliance and the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security in October 2004, Cyber Security Awareness month has grown to include the participation of industry experts, their customers and employees; and the general public. 

Experts in CNA’s Cyber Preparedness Center  have shared 15 tips for companies to minimize exposure to cyber attacks:

General Security

  1. Make sure passwords are at least eight characters long and contain both uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as special characters.
  2. Consider using a phrase to help create your password. For example, “Jack and Jill went up the hill,” becomes “J_Jwuth.”
  3. Never use the “Remember Password” software feature offered by various applications
  4. Never use personal information when creating passwords
  5. Remember, the longer and more complicated the password, the less likely it is to be broken.

Mobile Security

  1. Turn on screen locking (e.g., password, PIN, swipe pattern) on your mobile device.
  2. Perform a factory reset to wipe all data when disposing an old mobile device.
  3. Avoid storing confidential or otherwise sensitive information on a mobile device, including passwords, bank account or credit card numbers.
  4. Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when they’re not needed.
  5. Delete text messages that contain sensitive information.

Home network security

  1.   Make sure wireless networks are password protected.
  2.  Consider changing default passwords for your network devices (e.g. modem or wireless access point) often.
  3.   Never use personal information that can identify you or your location when creating wireless network names or passwords.
  4.   Remember, protect yourself from malicious software by staying up to date on virus protection software.
  5.   Consider visiting StaySafeOnline.org  to learn how to keep kids safe on the web.