Contractors working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District install a 23-foot-tall concrete shaft enclosure weighing approximately 120,000 pounds as part of the guard wall at the Monongahela River Locks and Dam 4 in Charleroi, Pennsylvania, Nov. 16, 2023.

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Cyber Security Awareness Month: Protecting your online identity

Louisville District
Published Oct. 17, 2022
Updated: Oct. 17, 2022

October is Cyber Security Awareness month and has been since 2004 after it was created by the President of the United States and Congress. The month serves as a reminder for individuals to protect themselves in the virtual world, whether it is proper handling of electronic data or suspicious emails phishing for information. 

Between extravagant passwords and all of the information available about how to identify scams, spreading the word every October about insider and outsider threats is important. These reminders help keep the subject of online safety relevant and are important in an increasingly virtual environment; and, because workplaces and meetings are more virtual than ever, many try and take precautions to safeguard our online identities. 

“2FA or Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is considered a layered approach to securing data. MFA increases security because even if one authenticator becomes compromised, unauthorized users will be unable to meet the second authentication requirement and will not be able to access the targeted physical space or computer system,” said Roy Stone, security manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District.

According to Stone, “MFA requires users to present two or more authentication factors at login to verify their identity before they are granted access. Each additional authentication factor added to the login process increases security. A typical MFA login would require the user to present some combination of the following: something you know i.e. a password or Personal Identification Number; something you have i.e. smart card, mobile token or hardware token.”

You can protect yourself and others by following these recommendations:
1. Filter spam
2. Don’t trust unsolicited email – think before you click
3. Treat email attachments with caution
4. Don’t click links in email messages from unverified sources
5. Do not reply to spam messages
6. Configure your email client for security
7. Never give out or post your email address publicly

While there are safety precautions such as two-factor authentication and personal identification tools on our smart devices such as fingerprint unlock and Face ID unlock, technology is constantly evolving as are the tools criminals use to obtain information. 

As stated in a Public Service Announcement from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Cyber criminals are very likely developing and selling scamming tools to trick consumers of brand-name companies into revealing personal account information to compromise accounts and bypass online security protocols, most notably two-factor authentication.” 

Even though it is only one month long, everyone needs to practice safe cyber security every day of the year. Identify Theft, Phishing Attacks, Imposter Scams and email Scams are on the rise, and it is more important than ever to protect our virtual identities.

Chick Lock

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