FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, October 1, 2020


CONTACT: Brandi Simmons | 303.818.5982 | brandi.simmons@state.co.us  


Cybersecurity Awareness Takes on Heightened Importance in the “New Normal”


DENVER — Today, Governor Jared Polis proclaimed the month of October 2020 as Cybersecurity Awareness Month. With Coloradans spending more time online due to the coronavirus global pandemic, practicing good cyber habits is critical to protect personal and professional information. COVID-19 has upended many aspects of everyday life, and the Governor’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) encourages Coloradans to do their part as the two worlds continue to blur in our “new normal.”


Cybersecurity issues evolve, but largely remain the same each year: protect your computer, keep kids safe online, avoid phishing scams, use two-factor authentication. This year, however, new opportunities for cyber criminals are presented with the dynamics of remote working, and for those with kids, managing school work and computer use throughout the day.


“More than ever, each of us needs to do our part to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our workplaces,” says Deborah Blyth, OIT Chief Information Security Officer. “We’re all vulnerable to letting our guard down in stressful times, but there are some basic steps we all can take to avoid serious threats.”


Here are a few places to start when considering your cybersecurity:


  • Keep your home computer safe: Use a firewall, scan for viruses, scan for spyware, and stay up to date with new software. Computer updates often take care of known vulnerabilities in your computer, but you need to educate yourself (use strong passwords, know what scams to watch out for, stay abreast of the latest tech news) by securing your home network and mobile connection and backing up your most important information. Never use public Wi-Fi for sensitive personal or professional information.

  • Keep your kids safe online: Step into their cyber world, know what their computer habits are, set house rules, and teach them to protect their privacy. Make sure your family computer is in shared space so you know what is going on. Communication is key to knowing when they are encountering dangers.

  • Detect and avoid phishing scams: The latest phishing scams are often spread through invitations to “shared” documents, which require you to input a username and password and thereby give the attackers crucial information to access your personal data. They are insidiously spread through users’ contacts and often change their email content and headline to avoid detection.


Cybersecurity Awareness Month is observed every October across the nation to bring more awareness around cyber threats and how to stay safer and more secure online. The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) proclaimed this year’s national campaign theme as “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.”


OIT has security experts available for interviews who can tie cybersecurity risks to the fast-evolving work-life dynamic caused by the pandemic. Please contact Brandi Wildfang Simmons for scheduling inquiries.


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Find OIT online at Colorado.gov/OIT, and on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

 

About the Governor’s Office of Information Technology

The Colorado Governor's Office of Information Technology (OIT) is a dynamic organization responsible for the operation and delivery of information and communications technology services and driving innovation across Executive Branch agencies in the State of Colorado. OIT delivers smart technology solutions, provides quality customer service, and supports state agencies whose missions are critical to serving Coloradans. OIT oversees technology initiatives at the state level and recommends strategies to maximize efficiencies and offer cost-effective services through the application of enterprise technology solutions. The Office’s enterprise approach also enables the agile delivery of new applications to state agencies that improve the overall customer experience and citizen access to government services while increasing accountability and transparency.


OIT is also home to the Office of Information Security and the Colorado Broadband Office, and manages the Public Safety Communications Network which includes the Digital Trunked Radio System, a statewide wireless system that enables direct communications between first responders and agencies.