Imperial, California - With each new devastating breach of security—Equifax, Deloitte, and Sonic, to name a few recent cyber fails—the need for increased cybersecurity awareness has never been more apparent. It’s a good thing, then, that this month is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM).

Observed every October since 2004, NCSAM was created by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance to ensure that every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online. According to the Department of Homeland Security, NCSAM was designed to “engage and educate public and private sector partners through events and initiatives to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity, provide them with tools and resources needed to stay safe online, and increase the resiliency of the nation in the event of a cyber incident.”

NCSAM is broken down into weekly themes, including online safety for consumers, securing business networks, looking ahead to the security of future technologies, careers in cybersecurity, and securing infrastructure.

And now Malwarebytes is doing its part. Each week on Labs, we’ll focus on a theme and provide helpful articles, useful tips, and valuable analysis so that you can increase awareness and spread the word. This week’s theme: simple steps to online safety.

Week 1 of NCSAM features the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign, which provides easy, actionable advice for safe surfing. STOP: make sure security measures are in place. THINK: about the consequences of your actions and behaviors online. CONNECT: and enjoy the Internet.

Sounds pretty simple, right? But what exactly does it mean? Here’s our interpretation.

Make sure security measures are in place

It’s often mind-numbing to think about all the things you should and shouldn’t be doing online. Here’s where you use technology to do the heavy lifting. Make sure you’ve got the following equipped on your home computer:

  • Firewall
  • Cybersecurity program that includes technology to block malware, ransomware, adware, and other advanced threats
  • Password manager
  • Wifi secured with password (for mobile devices/streaming)