Cyber Security Awareness Month: stay safe online

**** RCMP Media Release

Cyber Security Awareness Month: stay safe online

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month and Nova Scotia RCMP is sharing tips to help Nova Scotians stay safe online.

“Your personal information is valuable to criminals, but there are ways to protect it,” says S/Sgt. Royce MacRae of Nova Scotia RCMP Digital Forensics Services. “By taking safety precautions, you can help reduce the chances of becoming a victim of cybercrime.”

Here are some tips from Public Safety Canada to help you stay safe while using the internet:

Protect your identity. Always use different login information for different accounts. Make passwords hard to guess by combining letters and numbers, and change them regularly.

Turn your firewall on. Firewalls are the first line of defence: they block connections to unknown or fake websites and prevent viruses and hackers from accessing your computer.

Use anti-virus software. Install anti-virus software to prevent viruses from infecting your computer and make sure to update it regularly.

Be Wi-Fi Aware. Using a non-secure Wi-Fi network can put you at risk. Don’t use open networks to do banking or shopping as hackers can steal your personal information, access data, activity and passwords.

Secure your home network. Wireless networks are vulnerable to intruders if they are not password protected once installed. Do this yourself, or ask an expert for assistance when you purchase a wireless router.

Delete emails from unknown senders. Never click on links or open attachments from people you don’t know. They might infect your computer with a virus or spyware.

Back up your files. The reality is your computer could crash, be stolen or get hacked. Avoid losing important information by regularly backing up your files on an external drive or removable media.

Keep your operating systems up to date. Turn on automatic updates to install the newest version available. These updates have important security patches and fixes that will protect against the latest threats.

Call the experts. Contact local police if you discover suspicious content online (such as child exploitation) or if you suspect computer crime, identity theft or a scam. If you need help maintaining or installing software on your computer, call a computer expert or a local supplier.

Nova Scotia RCMP encourages all Nova Scotians to review their online safety practices and following the tips above is a great place to start.

Throughout October, Nova Scotia RCMP will be sharing more cyber safety tips. Follow along on Twitter at @RCMPNS and on Facebook at Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Nova Scotia.

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