October is National Cyber Security month, and in Nebraska we are doing our part to ensure we all understand the safe habits that we can all practice when conducting ourselves online. Remembering to THINK before you connect is a good habit to start practicing every day.

Before you connect …THINK.

Threats. Phishing emails are designed to make people panic. An example would be threatening to close an account unless immediate action is taken on your part. Beware the call to action, what is actually being asked of you?

Hover over hyperlinks. Always check hyperlinks before you click to make sure that they lead you to the expected location. Using the cursor, hover over the anchor text to reveal a hyperlink’s actual destination. And, make sure that anchor text matches the link description!

Inquire. If you are unsure of an email’s legitimacy, use your address book to look up the person’s contact information and reach out to them, rather than simply “replying”.

Nonsensical phrases and grammar errors. Review like your 8th grade English Teacher. Does the message contain uncharacteristic grammar or language errors? Does it lack a standard greeting?

Know the source. Don’t rely on professional branding statements and logos to do all of the work for you. It is common for hackers to hijack this type of information to imposter people and organizations. Knowing the source means you have an established relationship with the message’s sender. For example, were you expecting an email from this source?  Are they directing you to take an otherwise inconsistent action?