In October, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month brings into focus three indisputable truths about the Internet. One, it is an incredible resource that offers a universe of opportunities to connect, transact and be entertained, and learn. Two, pursuing these activities comes with the risk of falling victim to digital delinquents intent on separating you from your personal information, privacy and money. Three, the methods are increasingly more sophisticated and persistent, so you must be even more determined to thwart their efforts at every step.
The good news is that you don’t have to defend your digital realm on your own. Most internet services now offer tools that can detect and deter potential fraud and scams before you even know they’re happening. Today, internet safety is truly a team effort. You do your part on the home front, and your provider protects you on the network. Together, you’re a substantial security force against online threats and schemes.
With that in mind, there are common sense practices you can take to get ahead of Internet threats and minimize your risk of being hacked, phished or scammed:
• Protect your accounts with a strong password – seven or more characters, include a number and symbol; and vary passwords across accounts. For even better protection, consider a password management tool like “LastPass” that generates and stores strong, unique passwords, helping you securely log in to any work site or app — which means you can finally ditch the post-It note that has been stuck to your monitor with all your logins.
• Use two-factor authentication that generates a one-time code that is sent to your mobile device or email to confirm your identity.
• Always be vigilant, especially when opening emails or text messages that are from unknown senders or ones that come from a familiar source but seem off. Be suspicious of anything that asks you to click on a link to update private or financial information.
• Steer clear of unsecure websites. If the URL doesn’t begin with “https:,” just say no.
• Don’t overshare personal information, or your whereabouts, on social media.
• Install antivirus software on your devices and run scheduled scans. Disconnect any device from your network you suspect has been hacked.
If you‘re following these “golden rules,” then the next smart thing you can do to minimize your online exposure – that doesn’t require a lot of heavy lifting – is to activate the online security features available through your internet service provider.
Cox customers can take advantage of Panoramic Wifi’s Advanced Security feature, an included service that delivers an additional layer of protection for your home network through the following features:
• Connected device monitoring automatically extended to any device that connects to your home network wirelessly: phones, laptops, game consoles, cameras, etc.
• Continuous Wifi traffic analysis, using Advanced Intelligence and machine learning to detect and automatically block suspicious activity in real-time.
• Action alert dashboard that lets you check your network’s safety status any time and informs you of digital security-related actions that are taken each day.
Advanced Security helps you avoid inadvertently accessing malicious sites. It blocks remote access to smart devices from unknown or dangerous sources and monitors activity in real-time to detect when devices are behaving in unusual ways that could indicate a network threat.
Advanced Security is included in your Panoramic Wifi service and can be accessed via the Panoramic Wifi app. It takes less than a minute to set up and puts you in control. You can also take advantage of the new Cox Internet Security Hub to learn about how to stay safe in online situations. The hub also provides guidance on getting the most from your Cox services as well as expert help for all your devices.
This October, don’t just recognize Cybersecurity Month, observe it by mobilizing your internet safety team. Learn more at the Cox Panoramic Wifi Advanced Security page.
Author: Susan Anable is vice president of Public Affairs for Cox, Southwest Region.