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Cybersecurity Awareness Month: How to protect you and your family online

October is National Cybersecurity Month
Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 4:09 PM EDT
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WATERVILLE, Maine (WABI) - October is National Cybersecurity Month, a great time to do a check up on your digital life.

TV5 sat down with Frank Appun, Professor of Cybersecurity and Project Management at Thomas College Wednesday.

He gave us some key advice on how we can secure our networks at home, work, and school.

“There’s a little bit of risk everywhere, and you need to be cautious because someone that uses my computer or my network could be an entry for bad things,” he said.

While we’re all targets for a cyberattack, Appuns says there are steps you can take to protect your data.

First, take a look at your passwords. Don’t use default passwords. Instead try long passwords that would make it hard to hackers to identify.

Two-factor authentication is a must, too.

“No matter where it is, don’t reuse passwords because if you use it in one place, you might suddenly find an empty bank account,” he said.

If you feel you’re at risk, consider getting a password manager.

Appun, suggests doing a simple search online. Read over the popular ones, and pick one that works best for you.

It may be worth paying a few extra dollars to get extra protection.

“If your risk goes higher, it’s getting complicated that you want a password manager, so you can have complex and different passwords for everything and you’re going to be ahead of the game,” said Appun.

Thomas College
Thomas College(WABI)

When it comes to backing information up, you may want to invest in an external hard drive.

Backing up passwords and other information on the iCloud is an option, but Appun says it’s good to be prepared in case that fails.

“Because it’s not connected, there’s no sneaky ransomware risk,” said Appun. “So, you’re sort of covering few things and you’re spending a lot less than $100 to get really good safety.”

As far as your personal information goes, never click and tell.

Account numbers, Social Security numbers, birthdays, among other information should be private.

Be aware of sharing your location with everyone, too.

Lastly, when it comes to social media, keep tabs on the latest apps and encourage your children to do the same.

Social media platforms like TikTok may be fun, but Appun warns users data on that app is being harvested.

“TikTok data goes across international boundaries. It’s owned by a company that doesn’t have good intentions with the United States.,” he explained. “So, please realize that we do things and there are risk. We drive a car, there are accidents. You’re on TikTok, there are issues. Can you stop TikTok? No. But, maybe you can help your children be a little wiser about what goes on on TikTok.”

For more online safety tips, visit the Better Business Bureau or cisa.gov.

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