Cyber Security Tip #1: How to be realistic about your online presence
Understand that you’re an attractive target for cyber criminals. If you have money (doesn’t matter how much), data (usernames, passwords, documents, emails, etc.) or a place to work, you’re going to be targeted. It’s not even personal, as cyber criminals automate most of their attacks. Don’t ever say “it can’t happen to me.”
Cyber Security Tip #2: Should you plug that in?
Careful on what you plug into your computer. Never use a USB whose source you don’t know! It can be infected with malware that can even resist formatting. Don’t let curiosity get the best of you.
Cyber Security Tip #3: You still need antivirus (yes, really)
Get protection for your connection! Do a bit of research and choose an antivirus you trust. Paid is better than free. Antivirus is still very necessary, so don’t skip it. How to do it: What Is the Best Antivirus for My PC? A Step-By-Step Research Guide.
Cyber Security Tip #4: Get your 2-FA on
Use 2-factor authentication everywhere you can. Set it up to receive authentication codes via sms or on an authenticator app. more layers = more security! How to do it: Why You Should Start Using Two-Factor Authentication Now
Cyber Security Tip #5: Lock it up
Never leave your laptop/smartphone/tablet unlocked while you’re away. Don’t make it so easy for anyone to get into your system. Set up a password for your account asap (it’ll only take 2-3 minutes).
Cyber Security Tip #6: How to protect what matters
Prioritize your most sensitive accounts. Here’s a quick list:
· Online banking / Paypal
· Amazon / other ecommerce website you use
· Any account where you’ve put in your card details
· Any account that has sensitive info (social security number, address, phone no., etc.).
Secure them with strong passwords + two-factor authentication. Make it as difficult as possible for anyone other than yourself to access them. Be a cyber security ninja!
Cyber Security Tip #7: Your phone is smart, but is it secure?
Many neglect smartphone security, but with so much sensitive data on it, you should everything you can to keep it safe. Here a few basic and vital steps to take:
· Turn on your screen lock and use it at all times.
· Use encryption to protect confidential information stored on your phone.
· Turn your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off when you don’t use them.
· Install an antivirus for smartphones (if your phone allows it – Android phones do).
· Check permissions before installing an app.
· Don’t install rogue apps.
· Back up your data.
Cyber Security Tip #8: Ransomware 101
Ransomware is one of the biggest cyber threats out there. What it does is it encrypts ALL your data and locks you out. It also asks for a ransom, typically between $200 and $500, to give you de decryption key. To protect yourself against ransomware, do this:
· Do frequent data backups (in multiple locations)
· Don’t keep vital information only on your computer
· Never access .zip attachments in e-mails from unknown senders
· Don’t click links in e-mails from unknown senders
· Keep your OS and apps up to date at all times
· Use a reliable antivirus
· Add another layer of security with a product that protects you from attacks that antivirus can’t block (Thor Foresight is an option).
Wanna know more? Check out this anti-ransomware protection guide.
Cyber Security Tip #9: Too good to be hacked
A lot of people think: “I don’t need security programs because I don’t access unsafe locations.” First of all, even legit websites can be compromised. Second of all, there are plenty of attacks that happen without user action (aka clicking on something, downloading data, etc.) – they’re called drive-by attacks. Third, even if you were a cyber security expert, there are still plenty of vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit to get to you. To be safe online is quite similar to driving your car. You may have common sense and pay attention to potential dangers, but can you always predict what others are doing around you, in traffic? Don’t think you’re too good to be hacked. You’re not. No one is. (Sorry to burst your bubble there.)
Cyber Security Tip #10: Gone phishing
Cyber criminals are very creative about their malicious methods. Take phishing for example. It’s an attempt to gather sensitive information (usernames, passwords, card details, etc.) by impersonating a trustworthy entity. Attackers can pose as your bank, you Internet provider, your insurance company, etc. Basic online security settings can help you keep safe:
· Regular OS and apps updates
· Strong passwords
· Reviewing bank statements on a regular schedule
· Checking senders’ email addresses
· Double checking the info in the potential phishing email with the issuing entity.
Looking for more detailed advice? Review the ABCs of Detecting and Preventing Phishing.
Cyber Security Tip #11: Give me email security!
Email – the place we call home when we go online. The contact we use for all our other accounts. The place we store everything from conversations with loved ones to documents and personal info. It’s invaluable! Can you imagine someone breaking into it? If you want air-tight security for your email account, check the following:
· Your recovery information
· Your recent activity
· Your account permissions
· Your app passwords
· Your 2-step verification settings.
More actionable tips included in the Complete Guide to Email Security.