You go to the doctor to stay healthy and you get your car serviced so it runs well. But what do you do to ensure your cybersecurity is up to snuff?
This month is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, so you may want to learn how to use the top ten best practices to keep your digital, financial, and personal information safe. As a result, you’ll be less likely to be the victim of hacks, identity theft, or worse.
Using public Wi-Fi is like leaving your wallet on the sidewalk. Don’t make it easy for hackers to steal your information. Instead, always link to the internet through secure URLS (https), virtual private networks (VPNs), and other protected networks. This small shift can keep your information much safer.
It’s not about the frequency in which you change passwords but the passwords you use in the first place. To make an effective, secure password, follow some best practices. Use characters, numbers, and letters in your passwords, and avoid incorporating personal information that can be scraped by hackers.
It’s also best to avoid having only a couple passwords at a time. One Intel poll found that people have too many passwords to remember, so they stick to two or three memorizable passwords that they don’t have to write down—but those logins and personal information can still be stolen. Instead, you can try using a secure password manager or two-step authentication (which we mention more about below) if that feature is available.
Whenever an update comes through for your phone, software, computer, or anything else, run it. These updates evolve with the latest cybersecurity needs and protect you better than older versions can. It might be a pain, but always update your apps, phones, and browsers to keep your personal information safe.
Whenever you’re able, set up two-step verification for all your email, financial, and social media accounts. Use secret questions, opt to send password confirmations to your phone, and even use a backup phone number to ensure hackers don’t worm their way into your personal information.
You should also set up alerts to learn if someone attempts to log in to your accounts from an unknown device.
Keep your information safe with the help of technology. Some apps and tools monitor for data breaches, find out where your stolen passwords are being used, and more. It only takes a few minutes to download these programs and let them help keep your information safe.
Do you know if these statements are true or false?
They’re all false. Stay up to date with cybersecurity fact and fiction so you don’t jeopardize your safety because of bad advice.
If something looks like spam, it probably is. Don’t give a hacker an easy way into your accounts by opening suspicious files.
Call the source of an email if you ever question its validity. For instance, if a phone company wants personal information from you, call their corporate office to verify if they actually sent the email. The same tip goes for spammy chain emails from friends. Think before you click.
Whether you’re on a public or personal device, always log out of accounts when you’re done using them. And don’t save your passwords. If someone steals your computer or phone, then they’ll also get access to that sensitive information.
Being hacked is one thing to fear, but losing all your information is another concern entirely. One survey showed that almost half of all businesses worry more about losing information in an attack than experiencing the attack itself.
Avoid this headache and devastating blow by backing up your information on an external hard drive or the cloud regularly. If you’re attacked, you’ll at least have your photos, files, and other important and irreplaceable digital belongings.
If you have more than one user on your personal computer and devices, talk to them. Kids, aging relatives, and even tech-savvy spouses can leave an open gap for hackers to get in and steal your information.
In fact, 1.3 million kids have their identities stolen each year, likely because they don’t know which precautions to take when they use electronic devices. Tell your kids never to give out passwords or log on to sketchy sites.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month may only last thirty days, but you can use these tips to keep your information safer 24/7 and avoid the massive headache that comes with a data breach.