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Neighbors of Kane County

Defend yourself against cyber attacks

Jan 03, 2018 12:17PM

Most people spend several hours each day online for work, pleasure or both. The widespread usage of computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets offers countless opportunities to connect with information and people around the world. It also provides myriad opportunities for cyber criminals.

Computers and mobile devices give us access to a wealth of information and help us connect with people near and far. Unfortunately, there are people out there who continuously seek ways to cause harm and create havoc through these devices. The best way to defend against cyber attacks is by arming yourself with information about the risks and learning steps you can take to reduce the chance of being a victim of cybercrime.

The Ready Illinois website at provides links to information and tips to help people minimize the risk of being a cybercrime victim. Some of those tips include the following:

· Configure your computer securely by using the privacy and security settings in your software, email system and web browsers. Regularly update your anti-virus software to identify and thwart new strains of malicious software.

· Keep software and operating systems updated. Install software updates as soon as they are offered; using the “auto update” setting is the best way to ensure timely updates.

·Use strong passwords. Cybercriminals use automated programs that will try every word in the dictionary in a few minutes. When creating a password, use at least 10 characters, with a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.

·Be cautious about links and attachments. Even communications you receive that appear to be from friends and family may contain links to malicious sites, so be careful when clicking on links in those messages. When in doubt, delete it.

Cybersecurity is no longer just an IT issue – it is a public safety issue.