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October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

You dread hearing those calls from members when they describe being in financial peril because they fell prey to a phishing scam or a romance scam. Sadly, credit union members — of all ages — fall victim to fraud. And unfortunately, fraud is becoming more prevalent.

While you can’t build a shield around your members, you can help educate members about the importance of being vigilant online. A great time to help educate members is during Cybersecurity Awareness Month!

Since 2004, the President of the United States and Congress have declared October to be Cybersecurity Awareness Month. This campaign helps educate individuals about how to protect themselves online as threats to technology and confidential data become more commonplace.

We are excited to announce that Tennessee is taking it one step further. The Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions (TDFI) is hosting a cybersecurity awareness campaign from Oct. 1 to Feb. 28 — during peak fraud season with the holidays.

The FBI reports Tennessee ranks 16th in the nation for ransomware losses with more than $104 million in losses. This number is artificially low overall because some victims do not report any loss amount to the FBI. Lastly, the number only represents what victims report to the FBI via the IC3 and does not account for victim direct reporting to FBI field offices/agents.

Four Key Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign Messages
• Think Before You Click: Recognize and Report Phishing. If a link looks a little off, think before you click. It could be an attempt to get sensitive information or install malware.
• Update Your Software. Don’t delay — If you see a software update notification, act promptly. Better yet, turn on automatic updates.
• Use Strong Passwords. Use passwords that are long, unique, and randomly generated. Use password managers to generate and remember different, complex passwords for each of your accounts. A passwords manager will encrypt passwords securing them for you!
• Enable Multi-Factor Authentication. You need more than a password to protect your online accounts, and enabling MFA makes you significantly less likely to get hacked.

How to Use the Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign
• Help employees brush up on their cybersecurity knowledge. Get creative — print the social media graphics and hang them on bulletin boards or even in restrooms where you know there is a captive audience, create cybersecurity quizzes and offer prizes for employees.
• Encourage employees to talk to members about cybersecurity.
• Feature tips on social media. Use hashtags #BeCyberSmart, #CyberSmartTN and #TNCUsforCyberHygiene.
• Include cybersecurity tips in member communications, such as in statement messages, newsletters and email campaigns.
• Create a cybersecurity tie-in when celebrating International Credit Union Day with members.

Cybersecurity Campaign Resources
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s Cybersecurity Awareness Program
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2022 Public Toolkit
Tennessee Department of Financial Institution’s Cybersecurity Safety Tips for Consumers (Includes Social Media Posts)
Tennessee Department of FinanciaI Institution’s Cybersecurity Safety Tips for Consumers E-Book

Share Your Ideas
As always, we’d love to hear how you are educating your members about cyber hygiene. Please email us at

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