HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Corbett has proclaimed October as “Cyber Security Awareness Month” to remind Pennsylvanians of the importance of protecting their information and devices from online threats.
“Recent high-profile data breaches at retailers and financial institutions are a reminder of how widespread cyber threats have become,” said Corbett. “While there is no way to completely eliminate the risk, there are steps we can all take to reduce our chances of becoming a victim.”
Information security experts recommend the following:
- Use passwords with a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters.
- Do not use the same password for multiple accounts.
- Update passwords regularly and do not store them on or with your devices.
- Keep security software and other programs updated.
- Never click on links in e-mails, tweets, posts or ads from unknown sources. If you are unsure, it is best to delete.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi hot spots whenever possible and do not transmit or receive personal information while using public Wi-Fi.
- Educate yourself about popular online scams, such as phishing, and how to avoid them.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is widely considered to be a leader among state governments in cyber security. This year, the Office of Administration strengthened its information security program further through the adoption of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cyber Security Framework and the National Governors Association Call to Action for Cyber Security.
The Office of Administration was also recognized a finalist in the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) State IT Recognition Awards for cyber security in 2013 and 2014. State employees and contractors also undergo annual security awareness training.
“We have a significant responsibility to protect the information of the citizens and businesses we serve,” said Tony Encinias, the state’s chief information officer. “We are constantly evaluating and updating our security practices and working with the public and private sectors to stay ahead of new and emerging threats.”