Chattanooga Times Free Press

How to best main­tain se­cu­rity on the in­ter­net

- Jim Win­sett is pres­i­dent of the Bet­ter Busi­ness Bureau in Chat­tanooga.

Q: More em­ploy­ees are work­ing re­motely; has cy­ber­se­cu­rity be­come more of a risk for con­sumers, em­ploy­ees and busi­nesses?

A: The in­ter­net has be­come a sig­nif­i­cant part of our ev­ery­day lives, al­low­ing us to work, so­cial­ize and shop on­line. Un­for­tu­nately, cy­ber­crim­i­nals also ben­e­fit from that same con­ve­nience and ac­ces­si­bil­ity. That’s why the Cy­ber­se­cu­rity and In­fra­struc­ture Se­cu­rity Agency,, and the Na­tional Cy­ber Se­cu­rity Al­liance, staysafeon­, team up each Oc­to­ber for Na­tional Cy­ber Se­cu­rity Aware­ness Month. This year’s theme is “Do Your Part. #BeCy­ber Smart,” which em­pha­sizes the im­por­tance of in­di­vid­u­als tak­ing steps to pro­tect them on­line.

Through its on­line re­port­ing tool, the In­ter­net Crime Com­plaint Cen­ter,, con­nects the pub­lic with the FBI. Ac­cord­ing to IC3’s 2019 an­nual re­port, al­most 500,000 com­plaints and $3.5 bil­lion in losses were re­ported last year, with adults over 60 be­ing the de­mo­graphic most im­pacted by in­ter­net crime. Ten­nessee ranks 21st in the United States for num­ber of vic­tims and 23rd for to­tal dol­lar losses. Ge­or­gia ranks 13th and 11th re­spec­tively.

Your Bet­ter Busi­ness Bureau sug­gests you step up your on­line safety prac­tices with these tips:

› In­crease your on­line pri­vacy. Pro­tect your on­line ac­counts by im­ple­ment­ing mul­ti­fac­tor au­then­ti­ca­tion and us­ing strong pass­words, which con­sist of let­ters, num­bers and spe­cial char­ac­ters. In­di­vid­u­als should also re­frain from ac­cess­ing bank­ing in­for­ma­tion or mak­ing on­line pur­chases when con­nected to an un­se­cured pub­lic net­work.

› Stay se­cure while you work. As more em­ploy­ees work vir­tu­ally dur­ing the COVID19 cri­sis, they should be more vig­i­lant about in­ter­net scams and on­line fraud. Busi­ness and per­sonal in­for­ma­tion should be treated with the same care; avoid shar­ing it with un­fa­mil­iar par­ties or over un­se­cured net­works. It is im­por­tant to keep the se­cu­rity soft­ware on your busi­ness de­vices up to date, be­cause only one em­ployee needs to be com­pro­mised for an en­tire or­ga­ni­za­tion to ex­pe­ri­ence a data breach.

› Use so­cial me­dia re­spon­si­bly. So­cial me­dia is a great way to con­nect with friends and fam­ily, but it can also al­low scam­mers and cy­ber­crim­i­nals to tar­get you. Only ac­cept friend re­quests from peo­ple you trust, avoid click­ing links in mes­sages from strangers, and re­frain from post­ing your per­sonal in­for­ma­tion on­line. Re­mem­ber to be care­ful about what you share. Re­mem­ber, there is no “delete” but­ton on­line.

› De­stroy per­sonal and busi­ness doc­u­ments that are no longer re­quired. BBB “Pro­tect your ID Day” shred day is this week­end, Oct. 16 and 17. Find more info at­tanooga or call 423-266-0396.

For more on­line safety tips, visit, and go to to learn more about Na­tional Cy­ber Se­cu­rity Aware­ness Month.

Have you en­coun­tered a cy­ber­crime? Re­port it at bbb. org/ScamTracke­r and­plaint.

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Jim Win­sett

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