Stay Safe for Cyber Securty Awareness Month

Charlene OHanlon

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has declared October to be National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, urging everyone to be extra diligent when online.

'Americans can follow a few simple steps to keep themselves safe online. By doing so, you will not only keep your personal assets and information secure but you will also help to improve the overall security of cyberspace,'

So writes the DHS on its website. But I doubt Hallmark has come out with a greeting card recognizing the event, and the government's approach is kind of corny. The issue of online security is an ongoing concern among companies and the government alike. It doesn't really take that much to keep yourself safe online; it's a matter of diligence and awareness in ensuring your assets are protected.

In fact, DHS has posted some tips on its site to help folks keep their data safe:

Make sure that you have anti-virus software and firewalls installed, properly configured and up-to-date. New threats are discovered every day, and keeping your software updated is one of the easier ways to protect yourself from an attack. Set your computer to automatically update for you.

Update your operating system and critical program software. Software updates offer the latest protection against malicious activities. Turn on automatic updating if that feature is available.

Back up key files. If you have important files stored on your computer, copy them onto a removable disc and store it in a safe place.

Simple steps that can really make a difference, especially with computers that are constantly on and online.

The DHS also is asking companies to promote National Cybersecurity Awareness Month by creating a section for cyber security on their website, including using banners than can be downloaded at, and by adding the following signature block to their e-mail: 'October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Stay Safe Online! Visit for the latest cybersecurity tips.'

Grumman and Google are two companies showing their support for the DHS' efforts to prevent cyber crime.

Will your company show its support also?

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