online is your
Stop. Think. Connect.
By Steve Fisher
If It’s too good to be true, it probably is.
this is an old adage, yet millions of people—
whether at home or at work—forget that
advice while reading their e-mails or surfing
the Internet. october is National Cyber
security Awareness Month, a good time
to remind yourself of ways to be safe online
and to protect your personal information
and, if you run a business, your company’s
“All [cyber] security boils down to having
the right tools and having the right behavior
in the environment you’re operating in,” says
Michael Kaiser, executive director of the
National Cyber security Alliance (
safeonline.org), a coalition of public agencies
and private companies dedicated to educating
the public on threats and how to avoid them.
The right tools
the first line of defense is using current
technology. operating systems and browsers
should be upgraded regularly. security soft-
ware is a must, and there are a number to
“You want one that at least does anti-virus,
anti-malware and anti-spyware,” says Kaiser.
“some come with other features that can be
helpful, such as password and identity protection. Check with your Internet service provider to see if they provide security software.”
The right behavior
“this is not a technical issue; it all hap-
pens between your ears,” cautions Peter
Cassidy, secretary general of the Anti-
Phishing Working Group (
another public/private partnership for man-
aging cyber crime.
"This is not a
it all happens
of the APWG
and start giving me all your information,”
comments Leigh fulwood, Costco corporate
counsel. (for the record, Costco is never
behind these “deals.”)
“Use common sense,” advises Kaiser. “If
someone’s warning you that you’re in dire
circumstances and if you don’t act in this
instant your world is going to end, that
should raise your antenna.
“People are probably safer doing business
with established brands,” he adds, “but there
are a lot of legitimate small businesses around
the world. Do some research first and see
what other consumers’ experience has been
with that business.”
Even armed with research, he acknowl-
edges, you may still have trouble separating
the fake from the legit. Cyber criminals have
become very clever at mimicking actual sites.
Protect your business
“Businesses need to be aware of several
things,” says Kaiser. “What kind of data are they
sitting on? sometimes it’s the personal infor-
mation of customers, sometimes the personal
information of employees; it could be the intel-
lectual property that a business is based on.”
Kaiser adds other points businesses
Institute an Internet policy. train employees on what they can and can’t do online.
The Costco Connection
Costco warehouses and Costco.com offer a
variety of software tools to safeguard computers and hardware devices to back up data.
Costco also offers a service to monitor your
credit information. Click on "Services" on
Costco.com and then "Identity Protection."
26 The Costco Connection OCTOBER 2010