Every October, the government and the tech industry come together to raise awareness about cyber security. Their goal is to reinforce the proactive role we all need to play in keeping our personal and workplace accounts cyber secure and to make sure we have the resources necessary to do it. We thought it would be helpful to you to send along some of the basic but extremely important tips that will help keep your online identity and accounts safe.
Know the risks. Know that criminals are hiding everywhere online trying to steal your personal information, money or both. While we can’t thwart every criminal and their capabilities we can certainly make it much harder for them to succeed. This starts with knowing your vulnerabilities and learning about your devices and software.
Understand phishing. Scammers have gotten so good at impersonating reputable companies and people that millions are falling for these fraudulent communications daily. The takeaway here is to not blindly trust but rather be skeptical of anything that can be clicked, forwarded, downloaded or replied to. Take the time to go straight to the company’s official website or call the person who sent it. And when all else fails, live by the motto “When in doubt, throw it out!”
Update security. Enable auto-updates for system software and security software, which is easy and crucial. Quick updates deny hackers easy entry into your devices and ensure there aren’t holes in your security.
Stay safe on social media. Social media networks have become breeding grounds for cyber scams because of their casual settings where our guards are let down and personal information is readily available. The information we share is ending up in the hands of the wrong people and this leads to spear phishing and account takeovers. To prevent these situations, adjust your account’s privacy settings, reduce the amount of information you share and limit your friends to people you know well.
Lock down your logins. Passwords are still the gateway to your online accounts. Doubling the gateway by enabling two-factor authentication on your devices makes it twice as secure. Can’t remember your passwords? String together a few words with spaces or symbols in-between to create a “passphrase” instead. Not only are they easier to remember but they’re much harder to crack. You can also rely on a password manager to keep all of your login information safe.
This is a great month to do a spot check on your current security measures and make any necessary changes to your online security. We hope these tips help you stay safe online, feel free to forward along to anyone that would benefit!