By Abby Harrison, Executive Assistant & Cyber Security Specialist
Each October, we recognize Cybersecurity Awareness Month. As the new cybersecurity specialist for Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative, I always remind employees, and want to remind you, that we are all the first line…. first line of defense against cybersecurity threats. It only takes one click on a malicious email, website, or attachment to enable a bad actor to gain access to our network or to your home devices.
The energy sector continues to be a target for cyber-attacks. We face threats targeting our employees, our supply chains, and partners. It is critical we stay vigilant, because we are not only a part of our nation’s grid, but also the infrastructure that continues to bring you safe, reliable energy. We want you to know we take our role in managing cybersecurity threats to our members’ data and our operations seriously.
Todd-Wadena has put into place cybersecurity policies and procedures that are designed to be the first level of defense. Our goal is to be proactive instead of reactive if/when a cyber-attack attempt takes place. Cooperative employees have been trained in best practices and we encourage you to use some or all of these best practices to help protect yourself against cyber crime. No single tip or practice is foolproof, but taken together they can make a real difference in protecting the Cooperative and our members.
Keep Your Defenses Up!
- Make sure all of your computer software—including your web browser—is updated with the latest version.
- Create a strong password and keep it private. Using long, complex, and unique passwords is a good way to stop your account from being hacked. An easy way to keep track and remember your passwords is to use a password manager.
- Treat all Wi-Fi networks as a potential security risk. Never check financial or other sensitive accounts when using public Wi-Fi.
Don’t Fall for a Phish!
- Be on the lookout for emails, phone calls, and other messages that try to gain access to your information. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If something seems off, trust your instinct. Todd-Wadena will never demand payment information from you via email or over the phone. If you receive such a call, hang up and call the office directly at (218) 631-3120.
- Think before you click! Don’t click links or attached files in emails or text messages from senders you don’t know. Even if you do know the sender, hover over the link before you click, as they may have been hacked or someone could be spoofing them!
Enable Multi-factor Authentication
- Multi-factor authentication adds that necessary second check to verify your identity when logging into one of your accounts. By requiring multiple methods of authentication, your account is further protected from being compromised.
Do Your Research
- Before downloading a new app on your device, make sure it is authentic by checking who created the app, what the user reviews say, and if there are any articles published online about the app’s privacy and security features.
Check Your Settings
- Be diligent to double check your privacy and security settings and be aware of who can access your documents. This extends from Google docs, to Zoom calls, and beyond.