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October is National Bullying Prevention Month

Bullying and Cyberbullying

Source: Stopbulling.com

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, a nationwide campaign founded in 2006 by PACER’s National Bullying Center. 

Stopbullying.gov defines bullying as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.” Bullying can affect those who bully, are bullied, and witness bullying and is linked to negative outcomes including stress, anxiety, depression, poor school performance, substance use, suicide, adverse physical effects, and future delinquent behavior. Cyberbullying, a form of bullying that takes place using electronic technology, is also an emerging public health concern. Bullying and cyberbullying are not problems confined to K-12 schools; they exist on college and university campuses and in the workplace as well.

  • Data from a 2015 survey on bullying indicates that nationwide, 20.2% of students in grades 9-12 reported being bullied on school property in the 12 months preceding the survey and that 15.5% of students had been electronically bullied through e-mail, chat rooms, instant messaging, websites, or texting.
  • Research from the University of Washington on cyberbullying, depression, and problem alcohol use found that college-age females are just as likely to suffer the negative effects of cyberbullying as younger adolescents. Results indicated that 27% of participants had experienced cyberbullying as a bully, victim, or bully/victim in college.
  • A 2014 national survey examining the prevalence of workplace bullying found that over one-quarter of adult Americans (27%) said they had directly experienced abusive conduct at work.

The National Bullying Prevention Month campaign encourages communities to work together to stop bullying and cyberbullying by increasing awareness of the prevalence and impact of bullying on people of all ages. Many carry the effects of bullying with them for years and the Health Resources & Services Administration sponsored a working session to explore the connections between bullying and family violence, sexual harassment, and dating violence. PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center provides resources that individuals, schools, and communities can use to support bullying prevention this month and throughout the year. You may also sign-up for the StopBullying.gov listserv to learn of new resources that may be helpful in your bullying prevention efforts.

The Tyler Clementi Foundation’s mission is to end online and offline bullying in schools, workplaces, and faith communities. The foundation offers several programs that promote proactive and positive actions through prevention, remediation and larger systemic change, and encouraging individuals and communities to take a stand against bullying from #Day1. #Day1 toolkits are available for specific communities including higher education and university Greek systems. The Upstander Pledge empowers individuals to take the first step toward ending bullying by making a personal commitment to stop it, report it, or reach out to the victim with support. You can encourage others on your campus and in your community to take responsibility for their actions.

If you’d like to read more about bullying and cyberbullying and how you can prevent and handle these incidents, the following resources are available:

Cybersecurity at Boise State is Everyone’s Responsibility

National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) – observed every October – was created as a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Source: National Cyber Security Website.
In today’s digital world, our Boise State University OIT professionals aren’t the only ones responsible for protecting the campus community from cyber criminals. Every person at Boise State  – from our custodians to our Vice Presidents, and the student to our Deans – shares a responsibility to be vigilant about online threats.
Recent major cyber incidents, like the WannaCry and Petya ransomware attacks, demonstrate the devastating effects cyber attacks can have on a company or university, including significant financial losses, severe operational interruptions, and damaged consumer confidence. While Boise State was not directly impacted by the attacks mentioned above, the attackers are constantly probing our campus defenses.
Unfortunately, human error is usually a major factor in cyber breaches. Student and employee actions as simple as clicking on a malicious link, opening a suspicious email attachment, or setting a weak password (like “password123”) can give cyber criminals access to campus networks.
That’s why all Boise State students and employees at all levels must protect our campus’ sensitive information and networks by being wary of online threats.
Here is how you can keep Boise State safe and secure online during National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) and year-round.

  • Beware of phishing emails. Do not open emails, links, or attachments from strangers. Phishing attacks use email or malicious websites to infect your machine with malware in order to collect personal and financial information. Sometimes the emails will have familiar names from your address book, but the actual email is not a Boise State email address.
  • Make your passwords complex. Use long passwords with a combination of numbers, symbols, and letters (uppercase and lowercase). Change your passwords regularly, especially if you believe your password has been compromised.
  • Report all suspicious activity. If you notice something unusual about your computer or email account, report it immediately to the OIT Help Desk at 208-426-4357 or email helpdesk@boisestate.edu.

Find more information on strengthening our campus cybersecurity, and find out how to get involved in NCSAM 2017, at www.dhs.gov/ncsam.

Boise State Parking Permit Holder Advisory for All Permit Holders: Boise State vs. New Mexico University Football game, Thursday, September 14, 2017.

To facilitate a better understanding of permit restrictions and alternative parking for the upcoming Bronco Football home game, the following information is provided for all Boise State campus parking permit holders.

PARKING RESTRICTIONS FOR GAME DAY:

Alternative parking locations will be available beginning at noon, Thursday, September 14, 2017. Check your Boise State email for parking restriction details related to your parking permit and where to find Alternative Parking locations. Your support and understanding for vehicle relocations during the Boise State Bronco Football home games is appreciated! All Stadium parking spaces must be vacated by 12:00 noon on Thursday, September 14 or your car will be relocated.

STREET RESTRICTIONS:

Euclid Avenue and Grant Avenue – Euclid and Grant Avenues, between Belmont Street and University Drive, will be closed for security operations starting at 11:59 p.m., September 13, 2017, and remain closed until the end of the game.

University Drive – University Drive, between Denver Avenue and Grant Avenue, will be reserved for authorized vendor access and will be closed starting at 11:59 p.m., September 13, 2017, and remain closed until the end of the game.

BOISES STATE SHUTTLE INFORMATION:

The Blue Shuttle route will end at 2 p.m. The Orange route will only have two shuttles on route starting at 2 p.m.

During football games, University Drive is closed beginning at 5 p.m. to through traffic at Broadway Avenue. This will force shuttles to detour to Belmont and Beacon Streets accordingly.

Here is a link to the Boise State Shuttle Tracker so you can see the realtime locations of the shuttle: http://shuttle.boisestate.edu

ALTERNATE TRANSPORTATION:

Boise State students, faculty, staff, students and visitors are encouraged to use the bus, downtown shuttle, carpool or bike to campus to avoid game day traffic issues. Boise State students, don’t forget about your free  bus pass on your Student ID!

For questions regarding this advisory or game day parking or if you need a free bus pass, please call our office at (208) 426-7275 or stop by the Transit Center in the Student Union; we are right next to Starbucks.

 

Daylight Saving Time March 12 – Time to Turn and Test

It is almost time to Spring Forward for Daylight Saving Time.

When setting your clock ahead one hour on Sunday, March 12, make sure your smoke alarms are working, and check that the batteries have plenty of charge. It is also a great time to check the expiration dates of your emergency supplies.

A smoke alarm with a dead or missing battery is the same as having no smoke alarm at all. Take care of your smoke alarms according to the manufacturer instructions, and follow these tips from the U.S. Fire Administration:

  • Smoke alarm powered by a nine-volt battery – Test the alarm monthly. Replace the batteries at least once every year. Replace the entire smoke alarm every 10 years.
  • Smoke alarm powered by a 10-year lithium (or “long-life”) battery – Test the alarm monthly. Since you cannot (and should not) replace the lithium battery, replace the entire smoke alarm according to the manufacturer’s instructions and dispose of it properly at a household hazardous waste site or by sending it back to the manufacturer.
  • Smoke alarm that is hardwired into your home’s electrical system – Test the alarm monthly. Replace the backup battery at least once every year. Replace the entire smoke alarm every 10 years.

Spring is also a great time to replace any of your emergency supplies that will expire within the next six months and use the old supplies before they expire. Some examples of items that can expire are:

  • Water
  • Food
  • Prescription medications
  • First-aid supplies
  • Batteries

For more information on emergency supplies, visit Ready.gov/kit.

Winterize Your Car

Source: Ready.gov
Don’t hit the road without a jack or until your car is ready for winter weather.
There are specific emergency items to store in your car during the winter. There are also maintenance checks to keep you safe, your vehicle warm and your engine running. Follow these tips and find more winter preparedness information at Ready.gov Winter Weather.

Check or have a mechanic check items, such as:

  • Antifreeze levels – ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
  • Battery and ignition system – should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
  • Exhaust system – check for leaks and crimped pipes and repair or replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives no warning.
  • Heater and defroster – ensure they work properly.
  • Lights and flashing hazard lights – check for serviceability.
  • Windshield wiper equipment – repair any problems and maintain proper washer fluid level.
  • Install good winter tires – Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. However, some jurisdictions require that to drive on their roads, vehicles must be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.

Add winter items to the emergency kits in your vehicles:

  • A shovel.
  • Windshield scraper and small broom.
  • Water.
  • Snack food.
  • Extra hats, socks and mittens.
  • Necessary medications.
  • Blanket(s).
  • Tow chain or rope.
  • Road salt and sand.

Additional winter preparedness tips are available to keep your family safe and warm all winter long. To view more, check out the America’s PrepareAthon! How to Prepare for a Winter Storm guide.

Preparing for Winter Weather, Part 2

Winter Weather Watches, Warnings, & Advisories: Know the Difference

tab2_winterstorm_watchwarningSource: National Weather Service

Winter weather related Warnings, Watches and Advisories are issued by your local National Weather Service office. Each office knows the local area and will issue Warnings, Watches or Advisories based on local criteria. For example, the amount of snow that triggers a “Winter Storm Warning” in the Northern Plains is typically much higher than the amount needed to trigger a “Winter Storm Warning” in the Southeast.

1. Warnings: Take Action!

  • Blizzard Warnings are issued for frequent gusts greater than or equal to 35 mph accompanied by falling and/or blowing snow, frequently reducing visibility to less than 1/4 mile for three hours or more. A Blizzard Warning means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring. Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibilities are likely, leading to whiteout conditions making travel extremely difficult. Do not travel. If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle and wait for help to arrive.
  • Winter Storm Warnings are issued for a significant winter weather event including snow, ice, sleet or blowing snow or a combination of these hazards.  Travel will become difficult or impossible in some situations. Delay your travel plans until conditions improve.
  • Ice Storm Warnings are usually issued for ice accumulation of around 1/4 inch or more. This amount of ice accumulation will make travel dangerous or impossible and likely lead to snapped power lines and falling tree branches. Travel is strongly discouraged.
  • Wind Chill Warning are issued for a combination of very cold air and strong winds that will create dangerously low wind chill values. This level of wind chill will result in frostbite and lead to hypothermia if precautions are not taken. Avoid going outdoors and wear warm protective clothing if you must venture outside. See the NWS Wind Chill Chart.
  • Lake Effect Snow Warnings are issued when widespread or localized lake induced snow squalls or heavy showers are expected to produce significant snowfall accumulation. Lake effect snow usually develops in narrow bands and impacts a limited area. These bands can produce very heavy snow with sudden restrictions in visibility. Driving conditions may become hazardous at times.

2. Watches: Be Prepared

  • Blizzard Watches are issued when there is a potential for falling and/or blowing snow with strong winds and extremely poor visibilities. This can lead to whiteout conditions and make travel very dangerous.
  • Winter Storm Watches are issued when conditions are favorable for a significant winter storm event (heavy sleet, heavy snow, ice storm, heavy snow and blowing snow or a combination of events.)
  • Wind Chill Watches are issued when there is the potential for a combination of extremely cold air and strong winds to create dangerously low wind chill values. See the NWS Wind Chill Chart.
  • Lake Effect Snow Watches are issued when conditions are favorable for a lake effect snow event. A potential exists for heavy accumulation of lake effect snow. Travel and commerce may be significantly affected.

3. Advisories: Be Aware

  • Winter Weather Advisories are issued when snow, blowing snow, ice, sleet, or a combination of these wintry elements is expected but conditions should not be hazardous enough to meet warning criteria. Be prepared for winter driving conditions and possible travel difficulties. Use caution when driving.
  • Freezing Rain Advisories are issued when light ice accumulation (freezing rain and/or freezing drizzle) is expected but will not reach warning criteria. Expect a glaze on roads resulting in hazardous travel. Slow down and use caution while driving because even trace amounts of ice on roads can be dangerous.
  • Wind Chill Advisories are issued when low wind chill temperatures are expected but will not reach local warning criteria. Extremely cold air and strong winds will combine to generate low wind chill readings. If you must venture outdoors, take precautions against frostbite and hypothermia. See the NWS Wind Chill Chart.
  • Lake Effect Snow Advisory are issued for widespread or localized lake effect snowfall accumulation (and blowing snow) remaining below warning criteria. Expects lake effect snow showers and assume travel will be difficult in some areas. Some localized snow bands will be intense enough to produce several inches in a few areas with sudden restrictions in visibility.

Here are some additional key winter weather terms to understand:

  • Freezing Rain: Rain that freezes when it hits the ground; creating a coating of ice on roads, walkways, trees and power lines. 
  • Sleet: Rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes moisture on roads to freeze and become slippery.
  • Wind Chill: A measure of how cold people feel due to the combined effect of wind and cold temperatures; the Wind chill Index is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin. Both cold temperatures and wind remove heat from the body; as the wind speed increases during cold conditions, a body loses heat more quickly. Eventually, the internal body temperature also falls and hypothermia can develop. Animals also feel the effects of wind chill; but inanimate objects, such as vehicles and buildings, do not. They will only cool to the actual air temperature, although much faster during windy conditions. Read how the Wind Chill Index was developed.

Find the current local forecast at National Weather Service Boise.

Prepare for Winter Storms, Part 1

Administration building covered in snowSource: Ready.gov

If you have been outside recently, you might think this article is unwarranted. However, winter is definitely close and that means the potential for winter storms. This is the first article in a series discussing Emergency Preparedness for Winter Storms.

While the danger from winter weather varies across the country, nearly all Americans, regardless of where they live, are likely to face some type of severe winter weather at some point in their lives. Winter storms can range from a moderate snow over a few hours to a blizzard with blinding, wind-driven snow that lasts for several days. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain.

One of the primary concerns is the winter weather’s ability to knock out heat, power and communications services to your home or office, sometimes for days at a time. Heavy snowfall and extreme cold can immobilize an entire region.

The National Weather Service refers to winter storms as the “Deceptive Killers” because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm. Instead, people die in traffic accidents on icy roads and of hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold. It is important to be prepared for winter weather before it strikes.

To prepare for a winter storm you should do the following:

  • Before winter approaches, add the following supplies to your emergency kit:
    • Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency for a complete list of recommended products.
    • Sand to improve traction.
    • Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
    • Sufficient heating fuel. You may become isolated in your home and regular fuel sources may be cut off. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
    • Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.
  • Make a Family Communications Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
  • Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or other local news channels for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS). Be alert to changing weather conditions.
  • Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.
  • Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.

Winterize Your Vehicle

Check or have a mechanic check the following items on your car:

  • Antifreeze levels – ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
  • Battery and ignition system – should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
  • Brakes – check for wear and fluid levels.
  • Exhaust system – check for leaks and crimped pipes and repair or replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives no warning.
  • Fuel and air filters – replace and keep water out of the system by using additives and maintaining a full tank of gas. A full tank will keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • Heater and defroster – ensure they work properly.
  • Lights and flashing hazard lights – check for serviceability.
  • Oil – check for level and weight. Heavier oils congeal more at low temperatures and do not lubricate as well.
  • Thermostat – ensure it works properly.
  • Windshield wiper equipment – repair any problems and maintain proper washer fluid level.
  • Install good winter tires – Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. However, some jurisdictions require that to drive on their roads, vehicles must be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.

Update the emergency kits in your vehicles with:

  • a shovel
  • windshield scraper and small broom
  • flashlight
  • battery powered radio
  • extra batteries
  • water
  • snack food
  • matches
  • extra hats, socks and mittens
  • first aid kit with pocket knife
  • necessary medications
  • blanket(s)
  • tow chain or rope
  • road salt and sand
  • booster cables
  • emergency flares
  • fluorescent distress flag

Winterize Your Home

  • Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.
  • Winterize your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment. Clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year.
  • Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear.
  • Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
  • Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
  • Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
  • Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow – or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.

Know the Terms

Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a winter storm hazard:

  • Freezing Rain – Rain that freezes when it hits the ground, creating a coating of ice on roads, walkways, trees and power lines.
  • Sleet – Rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes moisture on roads to freeze and become slippery.
  • Winter Weather Advisory – Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening.
  • Winter Storm Watch – A winter storm is possible in your area. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for more information.
  • Winter Storm Warning – A winter storm is occurring or will soon occur in your area.
  • Blizzard Warning – Sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 miles per hour or greater and considerable amounts of falling or blowing snow (reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile) are expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.
  • Frost/Freeze Warning – Below freezing temperatures are expected.

Carbon Monoxide

Caution: Carbon Monoxide Kills

  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal¬ burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
  • The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
  • If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.
  • Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.

It’s National Preparedness Month; Do You Know Your Neighbors?

KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS! 

The logo for National Preparedness Month 2016 with space to customize for regions/states logos.

The logo for National Preparedness Month 2016 with space to customize for regions/states logos.

Source: Ada County Emergency Management Preparedness Flyer, September 2016.

A disaster can happen without notice. Being personally prepared is the best first step in protecting you and your family during a disaster. Having 72-hour kits for every member of your home and an emergency plan in place are the initial steps in being prepared for a disaster. However, many of the resources you may need in addition to your 72-hour kits are in your own neighborhood. Many people will rely heavily upon their neighbors for help and resources during the first 3 days following a disaster. Knowing your neighbors is one of the best ways to be be er prepared for a disaster.

PLAN WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS!

People obtain information about preparedness from a variety of sources, but the Center for Disease Control reports that 53 percent of people receive preparedness information from neighbors, friends, and family. Meeting as a neighborhood is one of the best ways to start the preparedness conversation in your local area.

This is also a great opportunity to learn what resources your neighbors have that could be helpful after a disaster. Create a neighborhood network to share information and updates on emergencies in your community. Most importantly, identify who may need extra assistance during an emergency and make a plan to check on all of your neighbors after a disaster. Be mindful that during a disaster or emergency, it may be a long me before help can arrive. You and your neighbors will be the first to respond to a disaster in your local neighborhood until help arrives.

SERVE YOUR COMMUNITYVolunteers

One of the best ways you can help your community become more resilient is to volunteer. There are many local churches, local agencies, and non-governmental organizations have volunteer opportunities available. Ada County Emergency Management has a
web page dedicated to providing information about volunteer organizations in our community. Many of these organizations assist with disaster response. To learn more about what organizations you can volunteer with in our area, visit adacounty.id.gov/accem/Volunteers

Transportation & Parking Advisory for Bronco Day, April 11, 2015

Boise State Permit Holders Parking Advisory for the 2015 Blue and Orange Spring Football Game & Bronco Day, Saturday, April 11, 2015

broncoday-headerBoise State will host the 2015 Blue and Orange Spring Football Game and Bronco Day in addition to other events throughout campus on Saturday, April 11, 2015. The following information on lot closures and traffic limitations will help guide motorists to acceptable, no-charge parking locations.

Bronco Day to begin at 9:00 a.m. in various campus locations: Information on Bronco Day

The scrimmage will start at 5pm at Albertson’s Stadium: Information on Spring Game

Accessible parking

  • Accessible parking available in designated areas in stadiums lots, the Lincoln Avenue Garage, and the Engineering and Technology Lot. Accessible shuttle transport starting at 3:00 p.m.
  • Accessible drop-offs are permitted at all times.

Engineering and Technology Lot

  • Permit holders after 1:00 p.m. may park in Lincoln Garage, Manitou, or Norco lots.

West Stadium and Bronco Circle

  • Parking for Optimist Football sign-ups
  • Authorized Stueckle Sky Center parking
  • Parking for permit holders not available beginning at 7:00 a.m.

East Stadium

  • Lot opens to spring game attendees at 1:00 p.m.
  • Parking for permit holders on a space available basis

Lincoln Garage, Manitou and Norco

  • Bronco Day parking beginning at 7:00 a.m.
  • Lots open to spring game attendees at 1:00 p.m.
  • Parking for permit holders and public parking on a space available basis

Liberal Arts, Library Lots, and University Drive Central Lot

  • Parking for permit holders and public parking on a space available basis

For additional assistance, please contact Transportation and Parking Services at (208) 426-4322 or go to http://transportation.boisestate.edu/

National Data Privacy Day: The Four Major Ways to Put Your Data to Risk

Data Privacy Day, recognized each year on January 28, is an international effort focused on protecting privacy, safeguarding data, and enabling trust. Data Privacy Day encourages everyone to weigh the benefits and risks of sharing information, understand what their information can be used for, and take steps to protect themselves and their identities.

gI_86012_Worst Passwords of 2014

gI_86012_Worst Passwords of 2014

Here are the most common ways people put their personal data at risk:

  1. Using weak passwords. Are your passwords part of the worst passwords of 2014 list? This list was compiled by analyzing the passwords found in large data breaches. Do not choose an easy-to-guess password, and do not use the same password for multiple accounts.
  2. Keeping devices unprotected. If you are separated from your mobile device, you do not want anyone to be able to access all the data from your device, including data stored in your apps. Put your devices out of sight when you walk away from them and password-protect them.
  3. Sharing too much information online. From including your birthdate, phone number, and address in your social media profiles to posting pictures of when you are on vacation, sharing too much online can give people enough information to access your accounts or your home when you are away. Wait until you’re home from your trip to post pictures.

To help protect yourself and your family, start with these tips from the national cybersecurity awareness campaign, Stop.Think.Connect.™:

  • Secure your devices. Take advantage of lock screens, passwords, and fingerprint scanning capabilities to secure your smartphones, tablets, and computers.
  • Set strong passwords. Make your passwords hard to guess, and change them regularly.
  • Think before you app. Many apps request access to information stored on your mobile device, including your contact lists, pictures, and location data. Determine if you really want to share such information before downloading the app
  • Do business with reputable vendors. Before providing any personal or financial information, make sure that you are interacting with a reputable, established vendor. Attackers may try to trick you by creating malicious websites that falsely appear to be legitimate companies.
  • Customize the settings on your accounts. Many accounts include default settings that promote more information sharing. Check your account settings to ensure only the information you want to share is visible to those people you want to share it with. Use the National Cyber Security Alliance’s Check Your Privacy Settings page to get started.

For more tips on safer online behavior and how to protect yourself and your data, visit www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect.

Source: dhs.gov