Safeguarding your online life

(U.S. Air Force Graphic by Airman 1st Class Jovan Banks/Released)

(U.S. Air Force Graphic by Airman 1st Class Jovan Banks/Released)

WWHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE , MO. -- Technology has grown rapidly over the years and has become an integral part of everyday life
for most people. The introduction of online services such as online tax returns, online bill pay
and online banking makes sensitive personal information vulnerable if used carelessly.

Airmen are responsible for defending personal information, both offline and online. This is why
cybersecurity is vital when using websites and online services.

"Utilizing the restrictions and security that the website provides, you can limit who can view
your profile," said Senior Airman Jordan Thomas, 509th Communications Squadron information
assurance journeyman. "It is recommended that privacy settings are set so your profiles are only
viewable by friends or 'friends of friends.' Also, things like geo tagging or tagging your location
at the time of your post should be disabled."

People often forget that everything posted via social media is permanently online even if made
private through their own personal settings. The retrieval of sensitive information could give
potential attackers data needed to steal one's identity.

"Cyber criminals are more resourceful than most believe or understand," said Thomas. "They
can take minimal information and use it to discover even more information until they have
enough to steal your identity. For example, thieves can look through your pictures to see if you
have a favorite team." 'Favorite team' is a popular choice for people to use as a security question
and can be discovered by seeing you wear a shirt with your favorite team's name on it.
Limiting your online profiles to basic information could not only be helpful in preventing cyber-
attacks, but also prevents intrusion to your home."

Statuses, tweets and location apps can provide a perpetrator the information needed to easily gain
entrance to an empty home.

"The more you have out there the easier target you are," said Thomas. "Every person will either
actively or passively decide how big of a target they are to the outside world. Facebook is a
common source where people go for information. It wants to know where you live, when your
birthday is, what your name is.  Avoid posting too much information when possible."

With Cyber Security Awareness Month coming to an end, it is vital to remind Airmen of the
importance of safeguarding personal information online.