Have you ever thought about what you may be doing to secure our world? Think about it. As technology advances, what are you doing to protect yourself from online threats and malicious ransomware attacks?
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is working to ensure a secure and resilient critical infrastructure for the American people. That work starts right here in places like Dodge City and the High Plains region.
As a Kansas native and regional director for CISA here in Kansas I have a vested interest in the safety and security of all Kansans. I grew up on a hog and cattle farm in northwest Kansas and my ties to the region run deep.
Recently, CISA unveiled the Secure Our World program, where we plan to help change bad cybersecurity behaviors and begin to shift the needle toward a more cyber-secure population. Simply put, it’s a call to action for you all to help secure our world.
Technology is part of everything that makes our modern world go round—from our homes to our businesses, from financial transactions to our classrooms. In short, we rely on our technology to work when we need it, but the technology that makes our lives easier has also made us more vulnerable to cyber-criminals.
Every journey begins with a few first steps. If every High Plains Journal reader did these four simple things it would make us all exponentially more secure:
• Use strong passwords, meaning long, random, and unique to each account, and use a password manager to generate them and to save them if possible.
• Enable multifactor authentication on all accounts that offer it. We need more than a password to secure our most important accounts, like email, social media, and financial accounts.
• Recognize and report phishing, or as we like to say, think before you click. Be cautious of unsolicited emails or texts or calls asking you for personal information. Resist the urge to click on unknown links or open attachments from unknown sources.
• Update software regularly. In fact, enable automatic software updates on all your devices so the latest security patches are continuously up to date.
For individuals in Kansas, we want to emphasize the importance of securing personal accounts by offering guidance on personal device safety, safe internet browsing practices, social media usage, and protecting personal information online.
In addition, we recognize the significance of protecting our children online. The Secure Our World program includes support and resources specifically for parents. It provides guidance on implementing parental controls, fostering safe digital habits, and ensuring a secure online environment for children.
Small and medium-sized businesses face unique challenges, so we are working to help them secure our world by offering tools and resources that can help boost their cybersecurity defenses and minimize the risk of data breaches and cyber-attacks. This makes their businesses more secure, and it makes customers, employees, and our communities safer.
By providing individuals, families and businesses with the knowledge and resources needed to protect themselves and their digital assets, Secure Our World promotes cyber hygiene as a lifelong activity and helps empower visitors to make informed decisions about their cyber habits.
At CISA, we often tell anyone who will listen that cybersecurity is a “team sport.” No single agency, organization, business, or individual can confront today’s numerous and varied cybersecurity challenges alone. It takes all of us working together.
You can visit cisa.gov/SecureOurWorld to access all of the free cybersecurity resources and tips offered by the Secure Our World program.
Together we will secure Kansas and secure our world.
Phil Kirk is the regional director for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. CISA is the operational lead for federal cybersecurity and critical infrastructure security and resilience.