In honor of Cyber Security Awareness Month, we have collected six valuable tips to help you and your family stay cyber secure:

  1. Create strong passwords. In fact, instead of a password, create a passphrase. Make it something unique to you and easy to remember. For example, if you’re a pie lover, your passphrase could be Ilovechocolatepie. Like to golf? How about Golfismyfavoriteactivity. Think of something that would be easy for you to remember, but hard for a thief to crack.
  2. Enable stronger authentication. Stronger authentication (also known as two-factor or multi-factor authentication) adds an extra layer of security beyond using a password to access your accounts. Most major e-mail, social media and financial platforms offer multi-factor authentication to their users. To learn more, visit www.lockdownyourlogin.com.
  3. Think before you connect. Before you connect to any public wireless hotspot – such as those in an airport, hotel, train/bus station, or café – be sure to confirm the name of the network and exact login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. Many fake networks have seemingly legitimate names.
  4. Protect your money and your information. Do not conduct sensitive activities, such as online shopping, banking, or sensitive work, using a public wireless network or a public computer.
  5. Turn off your Bluetooth when not in use. Bluetooth enables your device to connect to other devices – for example, it’s what allows you to operate your smartphone hands free while you are in the car. When it’s on, it can open you up to vulnerabilities.
  6. Keep your software updated. Keep your operating system and other software strong by installing updates to improve your device’s ability to defend against malicious software, also known as ‘malware’.

When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon.  You can join the Fraud Watch Network and receive alerts about scams happening in South Dakota. Any one of any age can join for free by visiting aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork or to receive Fraud Watch Network alerts by phone, call 1-866-542-8172.

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