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Technology and Innovation

Phone: 913-715-1500

111 S Cherry, Suite 3100, Olathe KS 66061

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Tip Sheets

Here are some tip sheets to help keep you safe online. 

Secure It

Secure your digital profile

Cybercriminals are very good at getting personal information from unsuspecting victims and the methods are getting more sophisticated as technology evolves. Protect against cyber threats by learning about security features available on the equipment and software you use.

Apply additional layers of security to your devices – like Multi-Factor Authentication_ to better protect your personal information.

Scams / Phishing

Identity Theft & Internet Scams

Today’s technology allows us to connect around the world, to bank and shop online, and to control our televisions, homes, and cars from our smartphones. With this added convenience comes an increased risk of identity theft and Internet scams. #BeCyberSmart on the Internet—at home, at school, at work, on mobile devices, and on the go.

Did you know? 

  • The average cost of a data breach for a US company in 2019 was $8.19 million? That's an increase of 130% since 2006!
  • 7-10% of the U.S. population are victims of identity fraud each year, and 21% of those experience multiple incidents of identity fraud

Common Internet Scams

The following messages from the Federal Trade Commission’s OnGuardOnline are examples of what attackers may email or text when phishing for sensitive information:

  • "We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below, and confirm your identity.”
  • “During our regular verification of accounts, we couldn’t verify your information. Please click here to update and verify your information.”
  • “Our records indicate that your account was overcharged. You must call us within 7 days to receive your refund.”
  • To see examples of actual phishing emails, and steps to take if you believe you received a phishing email, please visit “

Simple tips to protect yourself

Stay Protected While Connected: The bottom line is that whenever you’re online, you’re vulnerable. If devices on your network are compromised for any reason, or if hackers break through an encrypted firewall, someone could be eavesdropping on you—even in your own home on encrypted Wi-Fi.

  • Double your login protection. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure that the only person who has access to your account is you. Use it for email, banking, social media, and any other service that requires logging in. If MFA is an option, enable it by using a trusted mobile device, such as your smartphone, an authenticator app, or a secure token—a small physical device that can hook onto your key ring.
  • Shake Up Your Password Protocol. According to NIST guidance, you should consider using the longest password or passphrase permissible. Get creative and customize your standard password for different sites, which can prevent cyber criminals from gaining access to these accounts and protect you in the event of a breach. Use password managers to generate and remember different, complex passwords for each of your accounts. 
  • Be up to date. Keep your software updated to the latest version available. Maintain your security settings to keeping your information safe by turning on automatic updates so you don’t have to think about it, and set your
    security software to run regular scans.
  • Practice safe web surfing wherever you are by checking for the “green lock” or padlock icon in your browser bar - this signifies a secure connection.
  • When you find yourself out in the great “wild Wi-Fi West,” avoid free Internet access with no encryption.
  • If you do use an unsecured public access point, practice good Internet hygiene by avoiding sensitive activities (e.g., banking) that require passwords or credit cards. Your personal hotspot is often a safer alternative to free WiFi.
  • Don’t reveal personally identifiable information such as your bank account number, SSN, or date of birth to unknown sources.
  • Type website URLs directly into the address bar instead of clicking on links or cutting and pasting from the email.

Phishing

Phishing attacks use email or malicious websites to infect your machine with malware and viruses in order to collect personal and financial information. Cybercriminals attempt to lure users to click on a link or open an attachment that infects their computers, creating vulnerability to attacks. Phishing emails may appear to come from a real financial institution, ecommerce site, government agency, or any other service, business, or individual. The email may also request personal information such as account numbers, passwords, or Social Security numbers. When users respond with the information or click on a link, attackers use it to access users’ accounts.

How criminals lure you in? 

The following messages from the Federal Trade Commission’s OnGuardOnline are examples of what attackers may email or text when phishing for sensitive information:

  • “We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below, and confirm your identity.”
  • “During our regular verification of accounts, we couldn’t verify your information. Please click here to update and verify your information.”
  • “Our records indicate that your account was overcharged. You must call us within 7 days to receive your refund.”
  • "To see examples of actual phishing emails, and steps to take if you believe you received a phishing email, please visit"

Simple tips to protect yourself

  • Play hard to get with strangers. Links in email and online posts are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If you’re unsure who an email is from—even if the details appear accurate—do not respond, and do not click on any links or attachments found in that email. Be cautious of generic greetings such as “Hello Bank Customer,” as these are often signs of phishing attempts. If you are concerned about the legitimacy of an email, call the company directly.
  • Think before you act. Be wary of communications that implore you to act immediately. Many phishing emails attempt to create a sense of urgency, causing the recipient to fear their account or information is in jeopardy. If you
    receive a suspicious email that appears to be from someone you know, reach out to that person directly on a separate secure platform. If the email comes from an organization but still looks “phishy,” reach out to them via customer service to verify the communication.
  • Protect your personal information. If people contacting you have key details from your life—your job title, multiple email addresses, full name, and more that you may have published online somewhere—they can attempt a direct spear-phishing attack on you. Cyber criminals can also use social engineering with these details to try to manipulate you into skipping normal security protocols.
  • Be wary of hyperlinks. Avoid clicking on hyperlinks in emails and hover over links to verify authenticity. Also ensure that URLs begin with “https.” The “s” indicates encryption is enabled to protect users’ information.
  • Double your login protection. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure that the only person who has access to your account is you. Use it for email, banking, social media, and any other service that requires logging in. If MFA is an option, enable it by using a trusted mobile device, such as your smartphone, an authenticator app, or a secure token—a small physical device that can hook onto your key ring. 
  • Shake up your password protocol. According to NIST guidance, you should consider using the longest password or passphrase permissible. Get creative and customize your standard password for different sites, which can prevent cyber criminals from gaining access to these accounts and protect you in the event of a breach. Use password managers to generate and remember different, complex passwords for each of your accounts. 
  • Install and update anti-virus software. Make sure all of your computers, Internet of Things devices, phones, and tablets are equipped with regularly updated antivirus software, firewalls, email filters, and anti-spyware.
Information provided by the National Cybersecurity Alliance, please visit staysafeonline.org for additional resources. 

Protect It

Maintain your digital profile. Every click, share, send, and post you make creates a digital trail that can be exploited by cybercriminals. To protect yourself from becoming a cybercrime victim you must understand, secure, and maintain your digital profile. Be familiar with and routinely check privacy settings to help protect your privacy and limit cybercrimes.

Privacy / Security

Online Privacy

The Internet touches almost all aspects of our daily lives. We are able to shop, bank, connect with family and friends, and handle our medical records all online. These activities require you to provide personally identifiable information (PII) such as your name, date of birth, account numbers, passwords, and location information. #BeCyberSmart when sharing personal information online to reduce the risk of becoming a cybercrimes victim.

Did you know? 

  • 45% of Americans have had their personal information compromised by a data breach in the last five years.
  • 70% of Americans feel that their personal information is less secure than it was five years ago, up from 49% just two years ago.
  • 72% of Americans believe that most of what they’re doing while online is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms and other companies.
  • Over half of Americans (52%) say they have decided not to use a product or service because they were worried about how much personal information was being collected about them.

Simple tips to protect yourself

  • Double your login protection. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure that the only person who has access to your account is you. Use it for email, banking, social media, and any other service that requires logging in. If MFA is an option, enable it by using a trusted mobile device, such as your smartphone, an authenticator app, or a secure token—a small physical device that can hook onto your key ring. Read the Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) How-to-Guide for more information.
  • Shake up your password protocol. Use the longest password or passphrase permissible. Get creative and customize your standard password for different sites, which can prevent cyber criminals from gaining access to these accounts and protect you in the event of a breach. Use password managers to generate and remember different, complex passwords for each of your accounts. Read the Creating a Password Tip Sheet for more information.
  • Keep up to date. Keep your software updated to the latest version available. Maintain your security settings to keeping your information safe by turning on automatic updates so you don’t have to think about it, and set your security software to run regular scans.
  • If You Connect IT, Protect IT. Whether it’s your computer, smartphone, game device, or other network devices, the best defense against viruses and malware is to update to the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems. Sign up for automatic updates, if you can, and protect your devices with anti-virus software. Read the Phishing Tip Sheet for more information.
  • Play hard to get with strangers. Cyber criminals use phishing tactics, hoping to fool their victims. If you’re unsure who an email is from—even if the details appear accurate— or if the email looks “phishy,” do not respond and do not click on any links or attachments found in that email. When available use the “junk” or “block” option to no longer receive messages from a particular sender.
  • Never click and tell. Limit what information you post on social media—from personal addresses to where you like to grab coffee. What many people don’t realize is that these seemingly random details are all that criminals need to know to target you, your loved ones, and your physical belongings—online and in the real world. Keep Social Security numbers, account numbers, and passwords private, as well as specific information about yourself, such as your full name, address, birthday, and even vacation plans. Disable location services that allow anyone to see where you are—and where you aren’t—at any given time. Read the Social Media Cybersecurity Tip Sheet for more information.
  • Keep tabs on your apps. Most connected appliances, toys, and devices are supported by a mobile application. Your mobile device could be filled with suspicious apps running in the background or using default permissions you never realized you approved—gathering your personal information without your knowledge while also putting your identity and privacy at risk. Check your app permissions and use the “rule of least privilege” to delete what you
    don’t need or no longer use. Learn to just say “no” to privilege requests that don’t make sense. Only download apps from trusted vendors and sources.
  • Stay protected while connected. Before you connect to any public wireless hotspot—such as at an airport, hotel, or café—be sure to confirm the name of the network and exact login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. If you do use an unsecured public access point, practice good Internet hygiene by avoiding sensitive activities (e.g., banking) that require passwords or credit cards. Your personal hotspot is often a safer alternative to free Wi-Fi. Only use sites that begin with “https://” when online shopping or banking.

 


Digital Home

More and more of our home devices—including thermostats, door locks, coffee machines, and smoke alarms—are now connected to the Internet. This enables us to control our devices on our smartphones, no matter our location, which in turn can save us time and money while providing convenience and even safety. These advances in technology are innovative and intriguing, however they also pose a new set of security risks. #BeCyberSmart to connect with confidence and protect your digital home.

Simple tips to protect yourself

  • Secure your Wi-Fi Network. Your home’s wireless router is the primary entrance for cybercriminals to access all of your connected devices. Secure your Wi-Fi network and your digital devices by changing the factory-set default
    password and username. For more information about protecting your home network, check out the National Security Agency’s Cybersecurity Information page.
  • Double you login protection. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure that the only person who has access to your account is you. Use it for email, banking, social media, and any other service that requires logging in. If MFA is an option, enable it by using a trusted mobile device such as your smartphone, an authenticator app, or a secure token—a small physical device that can hook onto your key ring. Read the Multi-Factor Authentication
    (MFA) How-to-Guide for more information.
  • If you connect, you must protect. Whether it’s your computer, smartphone, game device, or other network devices, the best defense is to stay on top of things by updating to the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems. If you have the option to enable automatic updates to defend against the latest risks, turn it on. And, if you’re putting something into your device, such as a USB for an external hard drive, make sure your device’s security software scans for viruses and malware. Finally, protect your devices with antivirus software and be sure to periodically back up any data that cannot be recreated such as photos or personal documents.
  • Keep tabs on your apps. Most connected appliances, toys, and devices are supported by a mobile application. Your mobile device could be filled with suspicious apps running in the background or using default permissions you never realized you approved—gathering your personal information without your knowledge while also putting youridentity and privacy at risk. Check your app permissions and use the “rule of least privilege” to delete what you don’t need or no longer use. Learn to just say “no” to privilege requests that don’t make sense. Only download apps from trusted vendors and sources.
  • Never click and tell. Limit what information you post on social media—from personal addresses to where you like to grab coffee. What many people don’t realize is that these seemingly random details are all that criminals need to know to target you, your loved ones, and your physical belongings—online and in the real world. Keep Social Security numbers, account numbers, and passwords private, as well as specific information about yourself, such as your full name, address, birthday, and even vacation plans. Disable location services that allow anyone to see where you are— and where you aren’t —at any given time. 


Social Media

Now more than ever, consumers spend increasing amounts of time on the Internet. With every social media account you sign up for, every picture you post, and status you update, you are sharing information about yourself with the world. How can you be proactive and “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart”? Take these simple steps to connect with confidence and safely navigate the social media world.

Did you know? 

  • In 2020 3.81 billion people worldwide now use social media worldwide. That’s an increase of more than 9% from 2019. Put another way: 49% of the total world population are using social networks.
  • Digital consumers spend nearly 2.5 hours on social networks and social messaging every day.

Simple tips to protect yourself

  • If You Connect IT, Protect IT. Whether it’s your computer, smartphone, game device, or other network devices, the best defense against viruses and malware is to update to the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems. Sign up for automatic updates, if you can, and protect your devices with anti-virus software. Read the Phishing Tip Sheet for more information.
  • Never click and tell. Limit what information you post on social media—from personal addresses to where you like to grab coffee. What many people don’t realize is that these seemingly random details are all that criminals need to know to target you, your loved ones, and your physical belongings—online and in the real world. Keep Social Security numbers, account numbers, and passwords private, as well as specific information about yourself, such as your full name, address, birthday, and even vacation plans. Disable location services that allow anyone to see where you are—and where you aren’t—at any given time.
  • Speak up if you’re uncomfortable. If a friend posts something about you that makes you uncomfortable or you think is inappropriate, let them know. Likewise, stay open-minded if a friend approaches you because something you’ve posted makes him or her uncomfortable. People have different tolerances for how much the world knows about them, and it is important to respect those differences. Don’t hesitate to report any instance of cyberbullying you see.
  • Report suspicious or harassing activity. Work with your social media platform to report and possibly block harassing users. Report an incident if you’ve been a victim of cybercrime. Local and national authorities are ready to help you.
  • Remember, there is no ‘Delete’ button on the Internet. Share with care, because even if you delete a post or picture from your profile seconds after posting it, chances are someone still saw it.
  • Update your privacy settings. Set the privacy and security settings to your comfort level for information sharing. Disable geotagging, which allows anyone to see where you are—and where you aren’t—at any given time.
  • Connect only with people you trust. While some social networks might seem safer for connecting because of the limited personal information shared through them, keep your connections to people you know and trust. 

Stay Safe at Work

Businesses face significant financial loss when a cyber attack occurs. In 2019, the U.S. business sector had 17% increase in data breaches: 1,473 breaches. Cybercriminals often rely on human error—employees failing to install software patches or clicking on malicious links—to gain access to systems. From the top leadership to the newest employee, cybersecurity requires the vigilance of everyone to keep data, customers, and capital safe and secure. #BeCyberSmart to connect with confidence and support a culture of cybersecurity at your organization.

Simple tips to protect yourself

  • Treat business information as personal information. Business information typically includes a mix of personal and proprietary data. While you may think of trade secrets and company credit accounts, it also includes employee
    personally identifiable information (PII) through tax forms and payroll accounts. Do not share PII with unknown parties or over unsecured networks.
  • Don’t make passwords easy to guess. As “smart” or data-driven technology evolves, it is important to remember that security measures only work if used correctly by employees. Smart technology runs on data, meaning devices such as smartphones, laptop computers, wireless printers, and other devices are constantly exchanging data to complete tasks. Take proper security precautions and ensure correct configuration to wireless devices in order to prevent data breaches. For more information about smart technology see the Internet of Things Tip Card. Read the Internet of Things Tip Sheet for more information.
  • Be up to date. Keep your software updated to the latest version available. Maintain your security settings to keeping your information safe by turning on automatic updates so you don’t have to think about it and set your security software to run regular scans.
  • Social media is part of the fraud toolset. By searching Google and scanning your organization’s social media sites, cybercriminals can gather information about your partners and vendors, as well as human resources and financial departments. Employees should avoid oversharing on social media and should not conduct official business, exchange payment, or share PII on social media platforms. Read the Social Media Cybersecurity Tip Sheet for more information.
  • It only takes one time. Data breaches do not typically happen when a cybercriminal has hacked into an organization’s infrastructure. Many data breaches can be traced back to a single security vulnerability, phishing attempt, or instance of accidental exposure. Be wary of unusual sources, do not click on unknown links, and delete suspicious messages immediately. For more information about email and phishing scams see the Phishing Tip Sheet.

Information provided by the National Cybersecurity Alliance, please visit staysafeonline.org for additional resources. 

Passwords

Creating a strong password is an essential step to protecting yourself online. Using long and complex passwords is one of the easiest ways to defend yourself from cybercrime. No citizen is immune to cyber risk, but #BeCyberSmart and you can minimize your chances of an incident.

Creating a Password

Creating a strong password is easier than you think. Follow these simple tips to shake up your password protocol:

  • Use a long passphrase. According to NIST guidance, you should consider using the longest password or passphrase permissible. For example, you can use a passphrase such as a news headline or even the title of the last book you read. Then add in some punctuation and capitalization.
  • Don’t make passwords easy to guess. Do not include personal information in your password such as your name or pets’ names. This information is often easy to find on social media, making it easier for cybercriminals to hack your accounts.
  • Avoid using common words in your passwords. Substitute letters with numbers and punctuation marks or symbols. For example, @ can replace the letter “A” and an exclamation point (!) can replace the letters “I” or “L.”
  • Get creative. Use phonetic replacements, such as “PH” instead of “F”. Or make deliberate, but obvious misspellings, such as “enjin” instead of “engine.”
  • Keep your passwords on the down-low. Don’t tell anyone your passwords and watch for attackers trying to trick you into revealing your passwords through email or calls. Every time you share or reuse a password, it chips away at your security by opening up more avenues in which it could be misused or stolen.
  • Unique account, unique password. Having different passwords for various accounts helps prevent cyber criminals from gaining access to these accounts and protect you in the event of a breach. It’s important to mix things up -find easy-to remember ways to customize your standard password for different sites.
  • Double your login protection. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure that the only person who has access to your account is you. Use it for email, banking, social media, and any other service that requires logging in.
  • If MFA is an option, enable it by using a trusted mobile device, such as your smartphone, an authenticator app, or a secure token—a small physical device that can hook onto your key ring. Read the Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) How-to-Guide below for more information.
  • Utilize a password manager to remember all your long passwords. The most secure way to store all of your unique passwords is by using a password manager. With just one master password, a computer can generate and retrieve passwords for every account that you have – protecting your online information, including credit card numbers and their three-digit Card Verification Value (CVV) codes, answers to security questions, and more. 


How-To Guide for Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Have you noticed how often security breaches, stolen data, and identity theft are consistently front-page news these days? Perhaps you, or someone you know, are a victim of cyber criminals who stole personal information, banking credentials, or more. As these incidents become more prevalent, you should consider using multi-factor authentication, also called strong authentication, or two-factor authentication. This technology may already be familiar to you, as many banking and financial institutions require both a password and one of the following to log in: a call, email, or text containing a code. By applying these principles of verification to more of your personal accounts, such as email, social media, and more, you can better secure your information and identity online!

What is it? 

Multifactor authentication (MFA) is defined as a security process that requires more than one method of authentication from independent sources to verify the user’s identity. In other words, a person wishing to use the system is given
access only after providing two or more pieces of information which uniquely identifies that person.

How it works? 

There are three categories of credentials: something you either know, have, or are. Here are some examples in each category. 

In order to gain access, your credentials must come from at least two different categories. One of the most common methods is to login using your user name and password. Then a unique one-time code will be generated and sent to your phone or email, which you would then enter within the allotted amount of time. This unique code is the second factor.

MFA 3 Categories of Credentials

Something You Know Something You Have Something You Are
  • Password/Passphrase
  • PIN Number
  • Security Token or App
  • Verification Text, Call or Email
  • Smart Card
  • Fingerprint
  • Facial Recognition
  • Voice Recognition

When should it be used? 

MFA should be used to add an additional layer of security around sites containing sensitive information, or whenever enhanced security is desirable. MFA makes it more difficult for unauthorized people to log in as the account holder. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) MFA should be used whenever possible, especially when it comes to your most sensitive data—like your primary email, financial accounts, and health records. Some organizations will require you to use MFA; with others it is optional. If you have the option to enable it, you should take the initiative to do so to protect your data and your identity. 

Activate MFA on your accounts right away

To learn how to activate MFA on your accounts, head to the Lock Down Your Login site, which provides instructions on how to apply this stronger form of security to many common websites and software products you may use. If any of
your accounts are not listed on that resource site, look at your account settings or user profile and check whether MFA is an available option. If you see it there, consider implementing it right away! User names and passwords are no longer sufficient to protect accounts with sensitive information. By using multifactor authentication, you can protect these accounts and reduce the risk of online fraud and identify theft. Consider also activating this feature on your social media accounts. 

Information provided by the National Cybersecurity Alliance, please visit staysafeonline.org for additional resources. 

Own It

Understand your digital profile

Internet based devices are present in every aspect of our lives: at home, school, work and on the go. Constant connection provides opportunities for innovation and modernization but also presents opportunities for potential cybersecurity threats that can compromise your most important personal information. Understand the devices and applications you use every day to help keep you and your information safe and secure.

Data Privacy Day

Data Privacy Day is January 28, 2020

Millions of people are unaware of and uninformed about how their personal information is being used, collected or shared in our digital society. Data Privacy Day aims to inspire dialogue and empower individuals and companies to take action.

One of the ways to stay safe online and protect your privacy is to update your privacy settings. You can use this website, powered by the National Cyber Security Alliance, to find the direct links on popular devices and online services to update your privacy settings. (Click on the link to open to the website)

Cybersecurity

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month - woman sitting at a table looking at a laptop.

Every year since 2003 October has been recognized as National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). This effort was brought to life through a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance. NCSAM was created to ensure that every individual stays safe and secure online.

What to do if you are a victim? 

If you discover that you have become a victim of cybercrime, immediately notify authorities to file a complaint. Keep and record all evidence of the incident and its suspected source. The list below outlines the government organizations that you can file a complaint with if you are a victim of cybercrime.

  • FTC.gov: The FTC’s free, one-stop resource, can help you report and recover from identity theft. Report fraud to the FTC at ftc.gov/OnGuardOnline or https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.
  • US-CERT.CISA.gov: Report computer or network vulnerabilities to US-CERT via the hotline: 1-888-282-0870 or their webiste. Forward phishing emails or websites to US-CERT at this email.
  • IC3.gov: If you are a victim of online crime, file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
  • SSA.gov: If you believe someone is using your SSN, contact the Social Security Administration’s fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271.

Learn more to protect yourself and your family.

Cyber Forum

Save the Date!

Please plan to attend our 3rd Annual Johnson County Cyber Forum. This event is open to the public - citizens and area businesses. We present on topics you can use at home, at work and on the road to create a Cyber Security Safety Plan.

Friday, October 16th from 8:30 AM - 3:30 PM

 

Registration opens in September 2020

Remember, cyber security is everyone's responsibility.