This October, Be Cyber Aware

October 3, 2015

Dear Friends,

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and gives us a great opportunity to educate ourselves on the best ways to keep our personal information secure online. As we rely more and more on the internet to shop, pay bills or even access our bank accounts, we must remain vigilant and stay aware of the threats that exist in cyber space, not just in October – but every day.

In the 12 years since the first Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the amount of information that Delawareans and Americans share and store online has grown at a rapid pace. It is critically important that we do not let our ability to share information online outpace our knowledge of how to protect our information online.

Here are some tips you can use to improve your cybersecurity practices:

  • Set strong passwords and regularly change them.
  • Keep your operating system, browser, and other critical software optimized by installing updates.
  • Maintain an open dialogue with your family, friends, and community about Internet safety.
  • Limit the amount of personal information you post online and use privacy settings to avoid sharing information widely.
  • Be cautious about what you receive or read online—if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

For more tips on what you can do to protect your information online, visit the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month webpage, or the National Cyber Security Alliance’s Stay Safe Online page.

While each of us must remain vigilant in securing our personal information, Congress also has a responsibility to help secure cyber space for Delawareans and Americans in their daily lives. Nearly every day, we hear about cyber criminals probing our government agencies, universities, and critical infrastructure – looking for weak spots in our defenses that would allow them to shut down our financial system or our electric grid, or steal our personal information. They also try to steal our ideas – the lifeblood of the American economy and the driving force that enables businesses and our military to remain preeminent in the world.

Last year, Congress made strides in bolstering our nation’s cyber defenses by passing four bipartisan cybersecurity bills that help modernize and strengthen our nation’s cybersecurity and encourage more men and women to join the federal government and work to protect our cyber networks. But there is still more work to be done. I hope Congress uses Cybersecurity Awareness Month as an opportunity to pass legislation that helps the private sector and the federal government share more information about the threats coming from cyber space. This kind of information sharing bill is critical to our national security, as well as the security of many private companies across our country.

Improving our cybersecurity practices must remain one of the top priorities for Congress, the Administration, and every American. This month, let’s seize the opportunity and do all that we can to keep ahead of the growing cyber threat and stay safe online.