Cybersecurity experts give tips on how to protect yourself online

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WATERVILLE, Maine (WABI) - October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

The purpose is to bring light to the importance of cybersecurity in today's world.

It comes at a time when the cybersecurity field is seeing enormous growth. Growth so big, that's there's a shortage of qualified workers.

"Our country, our state is at risk because we don't have enough people for cyber," said Dr. Frank Appunn, Professor of Technology and Management at Thomas College.

He says that it's important for more people to get into cyber to protect the United States from foreign actors.

"We have nation-states that have a firm plan to take knowledge out of America and use it to eliminate our ability in a commercial field or a diplomatic field," said Appunn. "That is something that is long-term and quite scary."

And it's not just on a national level.

He says that it's critical for everyone to stay vigilant for phishing emails, and improve your passwords.

"Make some passwords that are friendly to people," said Appunn. "Maybe four words that no one would ever put together that are easier to remember for people, and hard for computers."

Thomas College has undergraduate and masters degrees in cybersecurity.

"Just being able to put people in a position not only to be ready on day one, but also to give them -- as far as the salary opportunities -- it's also good too," said Dr. Jonathan Grady, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Thomas College. "But a lot of potential for growth."

And students, like Thomas College sophomore Jacob Rainey, seem to understand the magnitude of the work they're going to be doing.

"If you're helping them and making sure that they are safe, whether they realize it or not, you're kind of like that unsung hero that sits in the back and always is making sure they're safe even though you're not getting any recognition for it," said Rainey.