Online Originals: NC Cybersecurity Month focuses on individual responsibility

Online Originals

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Gov. Roy Cooper has proclaimed October as Cybersecurity Awareness Month in North Carolina. It’s part of a month-long campaign by the State Department of Information Technology to educate people about online threats.

“The pandemic is shining a bright light on how the internet helps us learn, work and get access to health care,” Cooper said. “But the more we use it, the more cybercriminals find ways to disrupt our lives, so we must all take a role in security.” 

The theme of “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart” is shedding a light on the individual responsibilities we all have to keep our digital world secure. Officials with the North Carolina Department of Information Technology say people should follow the hashtags #BeCyberSmart and #CyberSecureNC all month long for tips and tricks on how to protect themselves from cyberattacks.

  • Be suspicious of unsolicited messages, especially those with urgent requests, offers too good to be true or consequences for not acting on them right away. 
  • Don`t hesitate to follow up with a sender by phone or in person if a message seems out of the ordinary or is a request for money or sensitive information. 
  • Avoid clicking links or opening attachments in suspicious messages. If there`s any doubt, check with the sender first. 
  • Check website URLs to make sure they are legitimate. Malicious websites can look identical to trusted sites, but the URL might use a different spelling or domain (e.g., .com vs. .net). 

9OYS asked cyber security experts who’s at risk for cybersecurity threats? The short answer … everyone.

Experts like Senior Cybersecurity Architect Mike Parsons and interim State Chief Risk Officer Rob Main with the NCDIT say seniors, kids and those in low-economic situations are at the most risk. They say it’s important to talk with your kids and older family members about the risks and threats of being online. Ask what sites they frequent, what they do on the internet, set up tools and educate them on how to spot a threat.

Main said it’s busy times of the year and in times of uncertainty and disaster that scammers find opportunities. He said the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated cyber threats and attacks.

Whether it be tax filing season, or Christmas holiday, Thanksgiving holiday, attackers attempt or always attempt to use a seasonal event as a means to which they can trick people into falling for their scams.

Rob Main, interim State Chief Risk Officer, NCDIT

Additional tips and information can also be found at it.nc.gov/CyberSecureNC.

Read the proclamation.

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