October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, but it is always a good time to review your online habits and to make sure you keep your kids safe on the internet. Cybersecurity is now more than just about doing updates on your computer and protecting your passwords.  Young and old alike may face several scams by fraudsters that might use Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or other applications to get you to open up your wallet or unknowingly let strangers into your life that may seem friendly but actually intend to cause you or your loved ones harm.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has a useful website you can find by clicking HERE that teaches youth about online safety, which is important because the internet can be used to convince even young children to trust strangers or to lure them to remote locations for the purposes of abduction.  Most children are doing more on the internet, and are much more proficient using smartphones and computers than their parents would ever believe.  If you don’t know what your children are doing online, either at home on computers or while away on their smartphone, now is the time to get involved and find out.

The Federal Trade Commission and National Cyber Security Alliance also have excellent resources you can access as well, with tips on how to best protect yourself while online banking, opening emails, and performing other routine computer tasks that can expose you to identity theft and more.

Cybersecurity month is also a good time to learn about Michigan’s Cyber Civilian Corps (MiC3).  The MiC3 is a group of trained cybersecurity experts who volunteer to provide expert assistance to enhance our state’s ability to rapidly resolve cyber incidents. The group includes volunteers from government, education, and business sectors. The mission of MiC3 is to implement a rapid response team to be activated under a Governor declared cyber State of Emergency and to provide mutual aid to government, education, and business organizations such as our utility companies.  This is in addition to Michigan’s dedicated staff and core 24/7 cybersecurity efforts.

Are you an expert in cybersecurity that would like to volunteers to be part of the MiC3? Membership is open to information security professionals who are residents of the state of Michigan. Applicants should have at least 2 years of direct involvement with information security, preferably security operations, incident response and/or digital or network forensics. Applicants must also have a basic security certification (ANSI-certified/DOD 8570 compliant certifications such as Security+, C|EH, CISSP, or GIAC certifications are strongly preferred). Applicants will also be required to pass a series of tests to demonstrate basic knowledge of networking and security concepts, as well as basic IR and forensics skills. Because of the time commitment (up to 10 days/year for training and exercises), applicants must provide evidence of employer support. Successful applicants will also be subject to background screening and sign a confidential disclosure agreement. Click HERE to apply.

Also consider that because we now live in a world of “The Internet of Things” that some newer thermostats, appliances, and other devices are now connectable to the internet and can unfortunately be hacked just as easily (and sometimes easier) than a computer.  Many people buying these new devices do not know they are internet capable, and depending on Wi-Fi settings and default passwords may be vulnerable without the owners even knowing about it. To learn more about “The Internet of Things” click HERE.