In our digital world, it is essential to maintain your cyber security health. Everyone should be aware of the importance of being vigilant with their online activities. It may seem like a daunting task but taking a few simple steps can make all the difference when it comes to protecting your data and identity.
Change Your Passwords Regularly
This is one of the most crucial tips for maintaining your cyber security. Changing your passwords regularly helps protect your information from hackers and other malicious activity. Make sure you use strong passwords that contain a combination of numbers, symbols, and uppercase/lowercase letters. You should also not use the same password for multiple accounts, as this makes it easier for hackers to gain access to your accounts if they find out one password.
One tip is to create a strong “bedrock” password then add a modifier that changes with each use. For instance, you could use a strong password baseline that includes upper (X) and lower case (x) letters, special characters (C), and numbers (N). IE. XXCCxxNNXXCCxxNN ,then modify (M) it for the type of system you are accessing, this could include an incremental change to a well-known (to you) date or phrase or to a piece of information associated with the website or system you are accessing IE. XCCxxNNXXCCxxNNMMMM. You can even write down the process you use to get this modifier while keeping your password secure as the modifier needs the well-know (to you) date or phrase or information about the site you have selected to work properly.
Check Your Social Media and Security Settings
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are constantly changing their policies and security settings so it’s important to keep an eye on those changes to stay secure online. For instance, you may want to change how much information you share publicly or enable two-factor authentication on certain accounts to increase the security of those accounts.
Review Your Device Security Settings
Your internet connected devices can contain a lot of sensitive personal information, including bank account numbers, credit cards, emails, contacts, etc., so it’s important that you review your device security settings periodically to ensure that your data is safe and secure. This includes making sure that you have enabled two-factor authentication on any apps or services that require login credentials as well as regularly updating software on the operating systems these devices use to patch any potential vulnerabilities.
Practice Good Cyber Hygiene
In addition to changing passwords regularly and reviewing security settings on social media sites and phones, there are several other steps you can take to practice good cyber hygiene.
Use a VPN
Highly recommended at home, especially when paying bills and online shopping. Mandatory when connecting to public Wi-Fi. For people with the right skillsets, it is very easy to setup a Wi-Fi Hotspot with a trustworthy sounding name (think about the Wi-Fi networks available at an airport) and hijack your data the moment you connect. Private Internet Access, Nord VPN, and Express VPN are great options for user centric VPNs with options to install on your mobile devices.
Use a “Secure” Internet Browser
Secure in the instance is relative as most internet browsers have short comings when talking security and performance. A great option here is Brave. No matter which browser you use, review the setting in that browser for any “easy” changes that can be made to make you experience more secure.
Use a Second Wi-Fi Network for Your “Smart” Home Devices
Many smart home devices leverage software that you as the user have little to no control over. Many times, devices will not update automatically or configure themselves to operate securely (think the $10 smart light bulb made in China you installed on the front porch three years ago, passing data on your personal home network) Setting up a second Wi-Fi network sounds like a pain but is surprisingly easy and keeps the network you use for banking sperate from the network that light bulb resides on.
Maintaining good cyber hygiene is essential in today’s digital world to protect yourself from malicious activity online. Make sure you take some time each month (or even each week) to review the various aspects of your cyber security such as changing passwords regularly, checking social media security settings often, reviewing phone security settings periodically, and practicing good cyber hygiene overall by taking steps like deleting old accounts at stores or merchants that are no longer used and getting a third-party processor such as PayPal for online payments instead of directly entering credit card details into websites which can be vulnerable targets for hackers.
Taking these simple steps will help ensure that your data remains safe and secure while browsing the web!
Greg Olivares, DTSI Account Executive; Jay Jump, DTSI Cyber Program Manager