2018 Cyber Security Awareness Month - Daily Tips, Week 2: Keep a Clean Machine

Download as PDF

Release Date: October 4, 2018

Media Contact: Jerad Albracht, Senior Communications Specialist, 608-224-5007 or Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020

MADISON – In recognition of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) will release a cyber safety tip each weekday in October, with each week addressing a different theme. The agency will release the daily tips through the Bureau of Consumer Protection's Facebook page and Twitter account.

To assist media partners that may wish to cover the cyber tip topics, DATCP will send out a release each Thursday in October with the next week's messages. Media partners can contact Jerad Albracht (Senior Communications Specialist, 608-224-5007, jerad.albracht@wisconsin.gov) if they would like to speak with a Bureau of Consumer Protection representative about the campaign or about a specific tip.


Cyber Security Awareness Month, Week 2: Keep a Clean Machine

Monday, 10/8. Run a free computer security check, then build up your defenses

Start Week #2 with a clean sweep of your computer system. At the end of the month, sweep it again and make a plan to do so regularly.

StaySafeOnline.org has a list of free security check services.

Now that you know where you stand, build up your protections for the future. Make sure you have up-to-date antivirus and anti-spyware software and a firewall. Set this software to update its protections regularly. Install the latest security patches and bug fixes for your operating system and applications in order to protect against intrusions and infections that could compromise your computer files or passwords. #CyberAware

Tuesday, 10/9. Backup, backup, backup.

A hard drive failure, device theft, or "ransomware" scam (a type of malware that locks up your files until you pay the scammer) could cost you all of your important documents and your photos, music, and videos. These things do happen and there is often little you can do to get your files back after the fact.

Don't let it happen to you. Backup your files fully and often.

Regularly sync your mobile devices with your laptop or desktop computer or to a cloud service. Backup your laptop or desktop to an external hard drive or cloud service. One misplaced mouse click or lost device could spell the end of all of your files…take steps NOW to protect your data. ‪#‎CyberAware

Wednesday, 10/10. Run antivirus scans on external and USB flash drives

Did you know that viruses and malware can be transmitted via USB flash drives and other external devices? Use the security software on your computer to scan these devices before you access their contents. Plug in, run a scan, access files. #CyberAware

Thursday, 10/11: Think before you app

Malware lurks in downloadable applications. Only download software from authorized app stores – and even then, do some research about specific applications and developers before you make a purchase. Apps as simple and seemingly harmless as a flashlight utility have been found to harvest and send data to advertisers without informing the user.

Before downloading an application to your computer or mobile device, understand what information (your location, your contacts, access to social networks, etc.) the app accesses on your device. You can find this information within the app listing in the app store. For apps you have downloaded, each will have its own unique permissions that you can turn on/off within your device's main settings menu. #CyberAware

Friday, 10/12: Delete when done

Many of us download apps to our devices for specific purposes (such as planning a vacation or saving money at a particular business) and no longer need them after a while. Or we may have downloaded apps at some point that are no longer useful or interesting to us. Forgotten software that is not updated regularly could harbor vulnerabilities on your system. It's a good security practice to delete all apps you no longer use. ‪#‎CyberAware