Cybersecurity might make you think of big businesses that have state-of-the-art cybersecurity systems and firewalls to protect customers’ personal information and other data from being stolen by hackers.

But, really, each one of us can do more to secure our devices and our online accounts to protect ourselves from cybercrimes. Cybercrimes include identity theft, financial fraud, stalking, online bullying, and hacking, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“Cybersecurity is an ongoing process for both government and individual protection. There are fundamentally malicious activities that don’t have any financial motive and that are just meant to cause harm,” said Jim Oehlerking, CEO of IT&E.

“This is going to be an ongoing way of life that we all need to be aware of and we need to make sure it’s a part of what we look at in our daily life,” Oehlerking said.

The possibility of being a victim of cybercrimes sounds scary, but there are plenty of ways to protect yourself – starting with the device you use every day and are never without: your phone.

Here are some tips for securing your phone against cybercrimes:

  1. Keep your phone locked when you’re not using it so that no one can access your information and accounts.
  2. Create strong PINs and passwords. It’s tempting to make your life easier by using passwords that are easy to remember or using the same password on different devices. As it turns out, this opens you up to being hacked or becoming a victim of a cybercrime. Avoid easy passwords because there are hacking programs that can crack them.
  3. Guard your phone from theft. Before you leave a public place, always check if you have your phone with you. Never leave your phone unattended.
  4. Update your software. By downloading the latest update, you prevent cyber criminals from attacking you through known vulnerabilities.
  5. Disable Bluetooth and similar software when you’re not using it. Sure, it’s super convenient to have your phone automatically pair with your car stereo, but determined cyber criminals can hack you through these type of connections.
  6. Avoid connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Similar to Bluetooth connections, a determined hacker can access your device over a wireless network.
  7. Wait to post pictures from trips or events until later so that potential attackers don’t know where to find you. Plus, posting these pictures could signal that your home is empty.
  8. Read and understand the details of an app before you install it. Be particularly aware of apps that ask for your personal information or your location. Only install apps from developers that you trust.
  9. Be careful when opening email attachments and clicking on links sent by email. Examine the email carefully for anything that looks off, like the color and design of the layout and masthead. Double check the email address for anything suspicious, like if the address does not include the name of the company supposedly sending the email.
  10. Report online crime. You can notify local authorities or you can file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

For more information about how to boost your cybersecurity, visit the Department of Homeland Security for tip cards and other resources.

Guam takes steps to spread awareness of the importance of cybersecurity: Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio, IT&E CEO Jim Oehlerking (seated far left), and officials from Guam Homeland Security/Office of Civil Defense and other agencies gather to discuss cybersecurity at an October 11 proclamation signing pronouncing October 2018 as National Cyber Security Awareness Month and October 25 as Guam “Change Your Password Day.”