June is Internet Safety Month: How to stay ‘cyber aware’

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) – June is Internet Safety Month. Experts say it’s a good time to assess our online security, especially as our mobile use has increased in our daily lives. By exercising caution when on the phone, we can protect ourselves from an unwanted situation.

“People use their phones for a lot of web browsing, and there’s a lot of online fraud that can happen,” said TJ Caldwell, store manager for Bangor US Cellular.

According to RSA Security, more than 60% of fraud originates from mobile phones.

It is estimated that Americans lost an estimated $40 billion to phone scams in 2022 alone.

During Internet Safety Month, US Cellular is offering some tips to help reduce exposure to threats on our phones.

First tip – close it. The most secure way to lock your smartphone is to use a strong password.

“I would recommend creating your own personal password that isn’t necessarily your name or birthday, but something a little more unique,” Caldwell said. “People, sometimes, will try to see things on your phone or your passcode. There are many protections online, but physical awareness is always good for safe device use.”

Smartphone users should also be wary of public Wi-Fi networks. If you’re using public Wi-Fi like in a restaurant or hotel, your phone can become an easy target for those trying to steal your personal information.

“If it seems too easy to connect, that’s probably a good sign that you should be aware of how you’re browsing your phone if I really need to connect to that network,” Caldwell explained.

Experts also want smartphone users to be aware of email blockers. They might be creating more pop-ups on your phone.

Make sure what you are downloading is from a trusted source.

“The iPhone has the built-in relay,” Caldwell said. “There are some VPNs or even apps like Signal that are really popular and they’ll protect you, but if you just type ‘spam blocker’ or ‘virus protection’ into your app store, it might not be the best bet good.”

And finally, update your smartphone software. The device’s operating system should be updated regularly, and experts say it can help reduce the risk of cyber threats.

“You can set your phone to ‘auto update’ so that’s a great way to do it so it doesn’t take away your day, just back it up or restore it in the middle of the night,” he added. .

To learn more about how to protect yourself and your children while surfing the Internet, visit StaySafeOnline.org.

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