LANSING — In an effort to prevent Michiganders from losing millions of dollars to cybercriminals every year, the Michigan State Police (MSP) is encouraging residents and business to practice good cyber hygiene to safeguard personal information while online.

Already this year, Michigan residents and businesses have lost more than $26.5 million to cybercriminals, with an average victim loss of nearly $4,000, according to data from the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center. To date, more than $1.1 billion in victim losses have been reported across the United States.

“Whether you are using a personal mobile device or work computer, practicing good cyber hygiene is your best protection from cybercriminals,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP. “Be a vigilant Internet user by immediately reporting suspicious activity to the proper authorities. By being cyber aware, you will be better protected while connected.”

To practice good cyber hygiene:

– Only connect to the Internet over secure, password-protected networks.
– Do not click on links or pop-ups, open attachments or respond to emails from strangers
– If you are unsure of the sender, type a website name by hand rather than clicking on an embedded link.
– Do not respond to online requests for personally identifiable information. Most organizations—banks, universities, companies—do not ask for your personal information over the Internet.
– Limit who you share information with by reviewing the privacy settings of your social media accounts.
– Trust your intuition. If you think an offer is too good to be true, then it probably is.
– Password-protect all user accounts and devices that connect to the Internet.
– Do not use the same password twice. Choose a password that means something to you and you only. Change your password on a regular basis.
– If something seems suspicious, report it to the proper authorities.

Gov. Rick Snyder has proclaimed October as Cybersecurity Awareness Month to encourage Michiganders to take an active role in their own cybersecurity. Cybersecurity Awareness Month is designed to engage and educate residents and organizations about cybersecurity and increase the resiliency of the state in the event of a cyber incident.

For more information about staying safe online, visit the Michigan Cyber Initiative website at

[Information courtesy Michigan State Police]