Are you secure? October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

By Alison Kennedy

Sony, Target, Home Depot, Yahoo and even the U.S. Office of Personnel Management have all been attacked by cybercriminals. Let’s face it: In today’s world, the cybersecurity threats facing our nation can seem overwhelming – and downright scary. Cybersecurity, specifically the protection and security of consumer-members’ assets and the nation’s complex, interconnected network of power plants, transmission lines and distribution facilities is a top priority for electric cooperatives and other segments of the electric power industry.

This October, East Mississippi Electric Power Association is participating in National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). Since its inception under leadership from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance, NCSAM has grown exponentially, reaching consumers, small and medium-sized businesses, corporations, educational institutions and young people across the nation.

By raising awareness and understanding of basic cybersecurity practices, we can all work together to combat cyber threats.

EMEPA invites you to join us in recognizing NCSAM. Cyber security tips and resources will be shared through EMEPA’s social media pages throughout the month of October. We encourage you to take a look and share with your network of friends and followers.

You have a role to play in ensuring the security of your personal and professional data. Use the tips below to safeguard your computer:

  • Keep all software on internet-connected devices – including PCs, tablets and smartphones – up to date to reduce risk of infection from malware.
  • Create long passwords that only you will remember, and change them every six months. Remember, a strong password is at least 12 characters long.
  • Avoid the use of thumb drives and other portable memory devices.
  • Don’t click on weblinks or attached files in emails when you’re not certain of who the sender is.
  • Keep pace with new ways to stay safe online. Check trusted websites for the latest information. Share security tips with friends, family and colleagues, and encourage them to be web wise.

We hope you will join us in raising cybersecurity awareness. Use and follow #cyberaware on social media to show and share your support. To learn more about NCSAM, visit www.staysafeonline.org.

Alison Kennedy writes on business and technology strategies and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives.

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