HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With major data breaches and cyber attacks becoming a near daily occurrence, the Office of Administration is reminding Pennsylvanians about the need to protect their sensitive information online.
"Hackers and cyber criminals are constantly trying new ways to gain access to sensitive information like bank account and Social Security numbers," said Secretary of Administration Sharon Minnich. "Their tactics range from deploying sophisticated malware on a network to tricking people with emails impersonating legitimate companies. Anyone who uses technology needs to educate themselves about cyber threats and take appropriate steps to safeguard our information."
Information security experts recommend the following:
- Install firewalls, anti-virus and anti-spyware programs and keep them up-to-date.
- Use strong passwords that include upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. Do not reuse passwords or use the same password for multiple accounts.
- Think before you click. Do not open email or related attachments from untrusted sources.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi hot spots whenever possible and do not transmit or receive personal information while using public Wi-Fi.
- Educate yourself about popular online scams, such as ransomware and phishing, and how to avoid them.
The Office of Administration (OA) oversees the commonwealth's cybersecurity strategy, standards and enterprise security posture. The office works with state agencies to prevent and defend against cyber attacks and continuously promote security awareness.
"Pennsylvania is a recognized leader among states in cybersecurity," said Secretary Minnich. "We are constantly monitoring against new threats and working with our partners in the public and private sectors to implement new technologies and practices for cybersecurity."
In a single year, the commonwealth fends off more than 90 billion unauthorized attempts to access its network and blocks over 1.2 billion spam and malicious emails.
Pennsylvania continues to improve its security capabilities through the use of:
- Advanced Cyber Analytics: Aggregates and correlates data from a multitude of sources into a single platform to strengthen the identification and prediction capabilities for security- and cyber-related incidents.
- Data Loss Protection: Reduces the risk of unintentional disclosure of confidential or personally identifiable information (PII) and prevents data breaches through monitoring, detecting, and blocking.
- Advanced Persistent Threat Monitoring: Identifies and blocks a variety of sophisticated network attacks intended to infiltrate a network and remain undetected for an extended period of time.
- Identity and Access Management: PA is working towards providing citizens with a single secure online credential to access services across multiple agencies to reduce fraud and false, stolen, and outdated identities.
- Multi-Factor Authentication: Requires employees and other users to provide information in addition to the standard user name and password in order to access certain systems.
- Training: All employees are required to complete security awareness training annually. Social engineering exercises are also conducted throughout the year as reinforcement.
Media contact: Dan Egan, 717-772-4237
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of Administration