Cybersecurity tips as holiday shopping season approaches

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI) – October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and as people continue to use the Internet for shopping, social media, and so much more, keeping you and your family safe online is paramount. 

Illinois Emergency Management Agency Public Information Officer Kevin Sur said your security starts with passwords. He suggested using multi-factor authentication. 

“This double-checks what you have as your password along with your cell phone or a text message or another way to gather information to reaffirm that that is originally you,” he said.

Sur recommended passwords of at least 12 characters with a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols. 

He also said keeping the software up to date on your electronic devices is crucial. 

“These different versions provide another layer, and extra layer of security for your online engagement,” he said. “The ability to update and keep the most current data as well as the software versions up on your computer are so important for the safety and security of your personal information.” 

Speaking of credit card information, many people will be using those cards as they shop online for gifts for friends and family. 

As they do so, Sur said making sure that information is secure should be a priority, and having diversified passwords helps with that security. 

“Make sure you use different passwords for each of the different apps or even online services that you access,” he said. “This way, in case someone does get into your account, they do not have the same password for each of the different things that you are buying on each of the different platforms. Again, making sure you are cyber safe and cyber secure is incredibly important as you purchase those holiday gifts for your friends and family.” 

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