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October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Here Are Four Cybersecurity Tips to Keep You Protected

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month and a great time to remind you to sign up for the OPEIU Identity Theft Protection benefit. This benefit is provided at no cost to all OPEIU members. Below is some information to keep in mind from our identity theft protection provider, IDIQ.

There’s never been a better time than right now to review the processes you have in place to avoid the latest cybersecurity risks lurking in the corners of our everyday digital lives.

The top cybersecurity concerns for consumers regarding their personal information are identity theft and stolen credit or debit card information, according to a recent survey conducted by core technology provider CSI.

The top cybersecurity issues that worry consumers as related to their personal confidential information are identity theft, 60 percent, and stolen credit or debit card information, also 60 percent. Interestingly, the report also found that 30 percent of Americans said it is okay to use the same password for an online bank account they use for other accounts. And 40 percent admitted they don’t know how to protect themselves from cybercrime.

What Personal Data is at Risk?

Everything is at risk, including our personal identity information, bank accounts, sensitive work data, health-related data and more.

Here are four personal cybersecurity tips you can use to better protect your data:

1. Use a Password Manager. Alarmingly, a whopping 30 percent of survey participants thought it was okay to be lax on passwords. Weak passwords are one of the easiest ways for hackers to access your private accounts. Using a unique and strong password for every online account you own is an easy way to help make sure a breach of one service doesn’t lead to bad guys accessing more of your online accounts where you used the same password. Instead of reusing a password – or a series of passwords – rely on a password manager to create, store and autofill your login information.

2. Keep Your OS and Software(s) Updated. Ransomware attacks were a major attack vector last year for both businesses and consumers and continue to make headlines in 2021. One of the most important cybersecurity tips to mitigate ransomware is patching outdated software, both operating systems and applications. This helps remove critical vulnerabilities that hackers use to access your devices. An easy way to keep updated is by turning on automatic system updates for your device.

3. Enable 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication). We can’t stress this enough, passwords are important. So beyond creating a strong password, it can also be a good idea to follow a two-step verification process to help keep bad guys out, even if they have your password.

4. Identity Theft & Credit Report Monitoring. Stay on top of your identity and credit reports to help you spot unusual activity. It pays to sign up for an identity theft and credit monitoring service. To take a more active hand in watching for fraud, sign up with a credit monitoring service that constantly monitors your credit report and scores with the three major credit bureaus and alerts you when it detects unusual activity. A service that actively monitors your identity and scans the dark web for your personal information is essential. You can receive alerts if your personal information is vulnerable as well as identity theft insurance and restoration assistance if you do become a victim of an identity thief.

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Office and Professional Employees International Union was chartered in 1945 and with more than 104,000 members (representing 110,000 employees) strong, we’re one of the larger unions of the AFL-CIO.  OPEIU has locals in every state, Puerto Rico and Canada. 

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