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Getting Smart About Online Protection Amid National CyberSecurity Awareness Month

A woman sits at a wooden bench outdoors. She's holding a tablet in her hands (undated)

October is National Cyber Security Awareness month and it comes in the wake of attacks on local and state governments that have cost millions to fix. Now business and state leaders are urging Floridians to get smart about their online protection.

Bad actors have been around for years, says Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. As technology has advanced, so have the scams.

“Common online scams include tech support phishing, malaware and ransomware attacks," she says in a video address at the start of Cyber Security Awareness Month. 

CenturyLink CyberSecurity expert Mike Benjamin says that last one—ransomware, is the one that’s been in headlines recently. It’s designed to deny a person or business access to their system until some sort of ransom is paid. And it’s usually spread by someone clicking on an email or visiting a bad website. To combat Ransomware, Benjamin says computers need to be updated and “patched” regularly.

“When you get that pop up that says ‘hey, you have patches available’ click yes, you do want to patch it. If your system affords an opportunity to automatically patch, click that setting and have it take care of it for you," he says.

But there’s a caveat—Benjamin says don’t respond to alerts from web browsers. He also encourages the use of stronger passwords. And while keeping track of them can be difficult, he notes there are “password safes” available.

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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