In today’s world, most of us don’t leave the front door unlocked. We protect our homes, loved ones and valuables from intruders with locks, alarms and other security measures. Cybersecurity is no different. It’s the practice of protecting other valuables, such as your identity, banking records and other sensitive information, from digital attacks and theft.
October is recognized as Cybersecurity Awareness Month. While taking the necessary steps to protect our personal information is a year-round practice, at Decatur County REMC, we use this time to share cybersecurity reminders across our team of employees. Given our increased reliance on internet-connected devices and gadgets, I’d like to share a few cybersecurity tips this month and let you know how Decatur County REMC is working to boost our own cybersecurity efforts.
According to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), these are the four best ways to keep you and your family safe online:
- Implement multi-factor authentication (also known as two-step verification) on your accounts. The additional layer of protection makes it much harder for criminals to access your information.
- Update your software. This is one of the easiest ways to protect your personal data. When downloading a software update, make sure it’s coming straight from the company that created it, and beware of fake pop-ups that request urgent downloads. Better yet, turn on automatic updates.
- Think before you click. Most successful cyber attacks start with a phishing email. Don’t take the bait when cyber criminals go phishing. Avoid emails (or texts) that look too good to be true, oddly urgent, poorly crafted or include unusual requests.
- Create strong passwords, using long, unique and complex words or phrases. Do not reuse the same password for different accounts. Consider using a password manager to save time, work across all devices, protect your identity and notify you of potential phishing websites.
Keeping the electric grid and your data secure
We’re doing our share on the cyber front. Part of offering excellent service is keeping that service secure and reliable. For Decatur County REMC, reliability means repairing wear-and-tear, upgrading our equipment to withstand storms and severe weather, and using technology and best practices to keep our system secure from cybersecurity issues.
We also work together with co-ops across the country to train on new technologies and infrastructure, learn from each other and keep the grid’s network secure. For example, we participate in NRECA’s Co-op Cyber Tech conference, which brings co-ops from around the country together to discuss cybersecurity issues and best practices to mitigate attacks on our networks.
While we can’t stop a storm or predict every disruption, as a co-op, we do everything we can to keep the lights on and our members protected.