Cybersecurity Starts with All of Us
This October, Coleman County Electric Cooperative is observing National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and I want to remind everyone that you are our first line of defense against cybersecurity threats. It only takes one click on a malicious email, website or attachment to enable a bad actor to gain access to our network.
The energy sector continues to be a target for cyber attacks, and we will continue to face threats that target our employees, our supply chains and partners. It is critical that we stay vigilant, because we are not only a part of one of our nation’s critical infrastructures, we are the infrastructure all of the others rely upon. We want our members – and the world – to know we take our role in managing cybersecurity threats to our members’ data and our operations seriously.
Ransomware, credential theft, phishing emails and other attempts at cyber crime are no longer a question of if, but of when. Anyone with a password is a possible access point into our systems for bad actors. This reality spreads the responsibility of keeping our systems secure to all members of our co-op’s staff, not just those on our information technology team. If you use our co-op’s computers, mobile devices and network, you have a role in protecting our co-op.
Here are some simple things you can do to protect our systems from cybersecurity threats. Remember, the actions and steps you learn here to protect Coleman County Electric Cooperative can also help protect you at home!
Keep Your Defenses Up!
- Make sure all your computer software––including your web browser––is updated with the latest version. Keeping software up-to-date ensures security patches being deployed by our security team can succeed in blocking cyber threats.
- Create a strong password and keep it private––it can take five days to crack a nine-character password, but more than two centuries to crack a password consisting of 12 characters or more!
- Treat all Wi-Fi networks as a potential security risk. Never check financial or other sensitive accounts when using public Wi-Fi at a conference, meeting or when you’re on the road. Encrypt sensitive data when using a public Wi-Fi network.
Don’t Fall for a Phish!
- Be on the lookout for emails, phone calls and other messages that try to gain access to co-op and member information. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If something seems off, trust your instinct and convey your concerns to a manager or member of the security team.
- Think before you click! Don’t click links or attached files in emails or text messages from senders you don’t know. Even if you do know the sender, hover over the link before you click, as they may have been hacked or someone could be spoofing them! There are many ways to spot a phish, and you can visit www.staysafeonline.org to see them all.
Remember, you are Coleman County Electric Cooperative’s first line of defense against cybersecurity threats.