Cybersecurity Awareness Month reminds Hoosiers to play it safe

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) and Indiana Office of Technology (IOT) urge Hoosiers to follow prudent practices in their online activities to protect personal information. October is designated as Cybersecurity Awareness Month in Indiana via a proclamation from Governor Mike Pence and nationally by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other partners.

“By the millions, Americans are falling victim to hackers who break into their online information, whether attacking their digital devices directly or striking the systems of major corporations with which they do business,” said Chief Information Officer Dewand Neely, who oversees IOT. “There is no better time than now – Cybersecurity Awareness Month – for Hoosiers to take steps to protect themselves.”

IDHS, IOT and the Indiana State Police are among multiple state agencies partnering to operate the Indiana Information Sharing and Analysis Center (IN-ISAC), which helps reduce the overall cost of cybersecurity by centralizing resources, leveraging large-scale purchasing, improving prevention efforts and containing threats.

At cybersecurity.in.gov, Hoosiers can find up-to-date cybersecurity tips and other resources to help them make informed decisions when online.

For example:

  • Don’t click on links sent from unknown sources.
  • Use strong passwords with laptop, credit, bank and other accounts. Don’t share passwords.
  • Don’t overshare on social media sites. If you post too much information about yourself, an identity thief can find information about your life, use it to answer “challenge” questions on your accounts, and get access to your money and personal information.
  • Keep your browser secure. To guard your online transactions, use encryption software that scrambles information you send over the Internet. A “lock” icon on the status bar of your Internet browser means your information will be safe when it’s transmitted. Look for the lock before you send personal or financial information online.
  • Safely Dispose of Personal Information. Before you dispose of a computer, get rid of all the personal information it stores. Use a wipe utility program to overwrite the entire hard drive. Before you dispose of a mobile device, check your owner’s manual, the service provider’s website, or the device manufacturer’s website for information on how to delete information permanently, and how to save or transfer information to a new device.

Beyond providing practical resources to Hoosiers, the State of Indiana is constantly engaged in using technology to maximize cybersecurity protections across public and private networks.

This year, Governor Pence created the Indiana State Executive Council on Cybersecurity to formalize strategic cybersecurity partnerships across the public and private sectors. The council is composed of people from both government and business.

“The increasing interconnectivity of the Internet and the rapid sophistication of technology make it impossible for any single entity to ensure cybersecurity,” said David Kane, executive director of IDHS. “A successful strategy depends on teamwork involving individuals in many different roles, and that’s exactly the kind of approach Indiana is implementing.”

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 FM WYRZ and WYRZ.org. Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at brian@wyrz.org.

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