Cyber security: Do you know how to #BECYBERSMART?

Oct 7, 2021, 7:00 AM

Iran digital intrusion...

(Stock Photo)

(Stock Photo)

SALT LAKE CITY, — October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

The Utah Department of Public Safety has some tips to keep our personal information and devices safe. 

Cyber Security

Scammers and hackers are always trying to separate us from our money or property. 

Utah businesses were scammed out of more than $13 million last year and roughly $6 million among private Utahns, according to the Department of Public Safety. 

While the effort of protecting our digital selves might seem cumbersome or overwhelming, a few extra steps can make all the difference. 

“There’s just a handful of things that quickly learn…about how to prevent ourselves from being victims,” said Sgt. Jeff Plank with the State Bureau of Investigation. 

He suggests taking that time regularly and the DPS has several suggestions. 

Update passwords

It is widely accepted that a simple password is a vulnerable password. Using easily guessed words or phrases might leave someone open to an intrusion. 

“Making sure that you’re using upper and lower-case letters and numbers, even symbols,” Sgt. Plank said. 

He also strongly urges against reusing passwords for multiple accounts.

If a password is exposed by a data breach, hackers can then use them with an email address to see if they can access other accounts. 

2-factor authentication

Despite being an available tool for years, 2-factor authentication is becoming more popular

This is an added security feature offered by many companies which sends a verification code via text message or push notification to make sure it really is the account owner when an attempt to log in is made. There are several inexpensive, or free, authentication applications available. These easily interface with many bank websites or email accounts. Some organizations also offer physical authentication tokens which produce randomly generated sequences of numbers every 30-60 seconds. 

Sgt. Plank said, “We want to use 2-factor authentication whenever we accessing accounts that are associated with our email…our banking information, or health information.” 

He reiterates it might take a few minutes to set up this added layer of security but only adds a few seconds to the log-in process afterward.

Social media

We live in an age of sharing. Many people like to share nearly every aspect of their lives with their friends and followers online. This garners likes and upvotes, but it also can be dangerous

Sgt. Plank says hackers can sometimes use the information we post in attempts to pose as us or access our private accounts. Those looking to steal physical items from us can even be tipped off by what we post. 

“Sometimes we go on vacation and we post all of our pictures while we’re away…basically notify someone that you’re not home,” said Sgt. Plank. 

He says it might be a better idea to tell the world about your travels after you return home. 

Email and phone scams

Scammers are getting more creative every day. Each new phishing scam is more elaborate and convincing than the last. It’s important to be on the lookout for suspicious messages from unknown senders. 

“Familiarize yourself with the biggest scams that are out there,” Sgt. Plank said. “This will save you [and] your company huge headaches, a lot of money, if you can just easily recognize some of these simple scams that come over email or our phone every day.” 

He says business email compromise scams and romance scams are the most common (and the two that Utahns are most likely to fall for) right now. 

Sgt. Plank highly recommends businesses provide regular cyber security training to their employees to stay on guard against the latest scams. 

For more ways to #BECYBERSMART, visit the Department of Public Safety Website

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Science + Technology

A lone American flag waves in the morning breeze Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2002, at the Bonneville Salt F...

Allessandra Harris

Water may be the solution to saving the salt flats

With the Bonneville Salt Flats eroding, newly discovered research may have found a way to save them.

1 day ago

fighter jet...

Sam Herrera

High-altitude balloon intercepted over Utah

After intercepting the balloon over Utah airspace, NORAD found that the balloon didn't pose a threat but said that they would keep tracking it.

1 day ago

utah capitol pictured, a new law centers adoption legal expenses open records utah...

Curt Gresseth

Bill creating Utah AI lab advances, would test tech, prevent missteps

SB 149 would create an AI lab and test technology while protecting the public in Utah.

2 days ago

North American hospitals are seeing a major increase -- 416% over the last two decades -- in teen m...

Alexandrea Bonilla

Decades-long study shows increase in eating disorders among young males

The study showed hospitalizations for young males with eating disorders were up 139%, and even higher in young teens.

2 days ago

woman with a therapeutic device on her head to treat depression...


A brain pacemaker helped a woman with crippling depression. It may soon be available to more people

Researchers say deep brain stimulation, or DBS — could eventually help many of the nearly 3 million Americans with treatment-resistance depression.

3 days ago

In this image from television the Genesis space capsule, which had orbited the sun for more than th...

Britt Johnson

Space capsule to land in West Desert

A space capsule is scheduled to land in the desert west of Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 21.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Cyber security: Do you know how to #BECYBERSMART?