From the desk of Police Chief Chris McKinstry




THINK, then Click.  Not the other way around.

The Lady Lake Police Department is committed to preventing our residents from becoming a cybercrime victim. While nothing can guarantee that you won’t become a victim of cybercrime or identity theft, you can minimize your risk, and minimize the damage if a problem develops.  Here are a few tips to help protect yourself and promote cybersecurity awareness:


Cybersecurity Tip #1: You are a target.

Most criminals are opportunists. If you have money (no matter how much), data (usernames, passwords, documents, emails, etc.) or a place to work, you are a target.  Cybercriminals automate most of their attacks, it’s not personal. Don’t think “it can’t happen to me.”

Cybersecurity Tip #2: The basics of safe online shopping.

According to a recent survey, one in four shoppers have been a victim of an online hack in the past 12 months. Make sure you’re the only one spending your money by:

  • Shopping online with a device that is yours
  • Using a secure network and strong passwords
  • Being careful about which online stores you shop at
  • Never saving your card details in an online account

Cybersecurity Tip #3: Should you plug that in?

Be careful about what you plug into your computer. Never use an unfamiliar USB flash drive. Malware that infects these devices may resist formatting. Don’t let curiosity get the best of you.

Cybersecurity Tip #4: Who’s that friend request from?

Facebook friend or foe? Cybercriminals often create fake profiles to deceive you. Their goal is to get you to share confidential data about yourself or the company you work for. Be careful about the friend requests you accept.

Cybersecurity Tip #5: Protect your passwords from shoulder surfers.

Who’s looking over your shoulder?  Bystanders or coworkers can steal your passwords by peeking at what you’re typing. This is especially true if your passwords are as easy as 123456 (please change them if it’s the case). Look around and make sure everything’s safe before typing a password. Also, never share your passwords. Ever.

Cybersecurity Tip #6: You still need antivirus.

Get protection for your connection! Do a bit of research and choose an antivirus you trust. Paid is better than free. Antivirus is still necessary, so don’t skip it.

Cybersecurity Tip #7: Get your 2FA on.

Use multi-factor authentication everywhere you can. Set it up to receive authentication codes via SMS or an authenticator app.

Cybersecurity Tip #8: Keep it in check.

Check your bank statements on a weekly basis (your online banking service can help you do that). Look for suspicious activity and if discovered, alert your bank immediately.

Cybersecurity Tip #9: Lock it up.

Never leave your laptop, smartphone or tablet unlocked while you’re away.  Don’t make it easy for anyone to get into your system. Set up a password for your device ASAP.

Cybersecurity Tip #10: Protect what matters.

Focus on your most sensitive accounts. Here’s a quick list:

  • Email
  • Online banking and Paypal
  • Online shopping websites you use (Amazon, eBay, etc.)
  • Any other account that has sensitive info (social security number, address, phone number, etc.)

Secure these accounts with strong passwords and multi-factor authentication. Make it as difficult as possible for an adversary to access them.

The men and women of the Lady Lake Police Department want you to be cybersecurity aware!