Online Privacy & Security: Simple Tips to “Own It”


By Greg Surla, Vector Solutions Director of Cybersecurity

Did you know that 64% of U.S. adults have noticed or been notified of a significant data breach affecting their sensitive accounts or personal data? And that roughly half of Americans (49%) feel that their personal information is less secure than it was five years ago?

Perhaps it’s no surprise considering that the Internet continues to touch our daily lives in more and more ways, as we work, shop, bank, connect with family and friends, and even handle medical records online. Often, these activities require us to provide personally identifiable information (PII) such as your name, date of birth, account numbers, passwords, and location information. To reduce the risk of becoming a cyber-crimes victims, we all must #BeCyberSmart in these situations.

Held every October, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is a collaborative effort between the U.S. government and industry to help ensure that all Americans have the resources they need to be safer and more secure online. To support that mission, all month long, the Vector Team is providing free access to our 12-minute cyber awareness crash course – a must-watch for all employees.

Additionally, Browse These Quick Tips to “Own” Your Online Privacy:

    • Double your login protection. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure that the only person who has access to your account is you. Use it for email, banking, social media, and any other service that requires logging in. Visit for more details on how to turn on MFA for many of your online accounts.
    • Play hard to get with strangers. Cybercriminals use phishing tactics, hoping to fool their victims. If you’re unsure who an email is from—even if the details appear accurate— or if the email looks “phishy,” do not respond and do not click on any links or attachments found in that email. When available use the “junk” or “block” option to no longer receive messages from a particular sender. Read the Phishing Tip Sheet found at the Department of Homeland Security for more information on how to spot or report phishing messages.
    • Never click and tell. Limit what information you post on social media—from personal addresses to where you like to grab a coffee. What many people don’t realize is that these seemingly random details are all that criminals need to know to target you, your loved ones, and your physical belongings—online and in the real world. Keep Social Security numbers, account numbers, and passwords private, as well as specific information about yourself, such as your full name, address, birthday, and even vacation plans. Disable location services that allow anyone to see where you are—and where you aren’t—at any given time.
    • Keep tabs on your apps. Most connected appliances, toys, and devices are supported by a mobile application. Your mobile device could be filled with suspicious apps running in the background or using default permissions you never realized you approved—gathering your personal information without your knowledge while also putting your identity and privacy at risk. Check your app permissions and use the “rule of least privilege” to delete what you don’t need or no longer use. Learn to just say “no” to privilege requests that don’t make sense. Only download apps from trusted vendors and sources. Read the DHS Security Tip for Protecting Portable Devices against Cyber Threats for more information.
  • Stay protected while connected. Before you connect to any public wireless hotspot—such as at an airport, hotel, or café—be sure to confirm the name of the network and exact login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. If you do use an unsecured public access point, practice good Internet hygiene by avoiding sensitive activities (e.g., banking) that require passwords or credit cards. Your personal hotspot is often a safer alternative to free Wi-Fi. Only use sites that begin with “https://” when online shopping or banking.

For more information about complete cyber awareness training for your team, browse our cybersecurity awareness essential courses.

Recent News From Around The Security Community:

An Iranian hacking group carried out targeted attacks on Microsoft email accounts, including many that belonged to a U.S. presidential candidate.

Several hospitals across the U.S. and Australia were taken offline this month due to ransomware attacks.

Sesame Street store among 1, 2… er, 6,500 victims of Volusion hack

Want to Know More?

Reach out and a Vector Solutions representative will respond back to help answer any questions you might have.