With October National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Altadena Station is reminding residents to protect themselves against cyber theft and other Internet crimes.
The average person has a long list of Internet passwords to keep track of and it doesn’t take much for a thief to hack into any one of those accounts, according to a Sheriff’s advisory.
A criminal can gain access to email, financial information, social security number and medical records if a person is not careful.
The Sheriff’s Department offered these tips to protect yourself against cyber theft:
- Don't use words that can be found in any dictionary of any language and use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Don't use passwords that are based on personal information or that can be easily accessed or guessed including birthdays, names of pets, or favorite movies and books that can be found by a quick search on social networking sites.
- Use passphrases like "Thispasswdis4myemail!" to help you remember complex passwords.
- Write down your passwords and store them in a secure place away from your computer if necessary. For example, passwords locked in your desk drawer are secure, but passwords on a sticky note stuck to the monitor are not.
- Use different passwords for different accounts and change them regularly.
- Make sure account login pages use encryption including a URL that begins with "https:" instead of "http:". Look for the padlock icon in the browser bar, too. If the padlock icon appears on the webpage, but not in the browser bar, it might just be a graphic that a cybercriminal embedded to trick you into feeling secure.
For more information on choosing and protecting passwords, visit the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) websites:
Choosing and Protecting Passwords
and for general online safety tips, visit Stop.Think.Connect.
Get Involved and Informed
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month
Cybersecurity – What You Can Do