AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
It can happen to anyone – one click is all it takes for someone to get access to your personal and sensitive information. Cyber professionals tell us what to look for so you can remain cyber-secure.
“Everything is IT- has an IT component,” said Tammy O’Brien, Dean of the School of Cyber and Design Media at Augusta Tech. “Which makes everything that we use vulnerable to some type of intrusion.”
Practices like changing passwords, updating software periodically and making sure you recognize senders are just some of the ways you can keep your data safe.
O’Brien says email is the biggest target….and cell phones can be just as vulnerable. “You can be extremely computer savvy and still be fooled,” said O’Brien. “People with great computer experience or those who don’t have computer experience, I think the risk is about the same.”
Keisha Quick, academic curriculum director at Brown Girls Code, encourages her students to think of cybersecurity as routinely as putting on a seatbelt. She tells us that the biggest cyber threat she sees for young people is ‘scareware’. “… all that is is just software that aims to scare you into giving up your credentials…or make you believe that the threat is real,” said Quick. “And before you have time to even allow someone to look into it, you’ve released the information that they want you to release.”
Quick tells us that cyber criminals are skilled at preying on your emotions- and they often attack when you’re less alert.
“They know what time of day that people are moving and grooving,” said Quick. “And they know what time to best target you.”
Professionals encourage constant education in cybersecurity and trends.
If you do become a victim of a cybercrime, O’Brien says you should never hesitate to reach out for support.
“If somebody seems to have information that they should not,” said O’Brien. “Contacting the authority that’s connected to whatever you’ve done incorrectly would be the first step.”
For more information on how to protect your personal and sensitive data, you can visit https://www.cisa.gov/cybersecurity-awareness-month.