Seven Cybersecurity Steps to Keep Your Devices & Accounts Safe
What’s more important to you: the safety of your data and online accounts, or having an easy experience when browsing the web? According to a 2021 Norton study, you probably picked the latter: more than three out of five consumers surveyed said they accepted certain privacy risks online to make life more convenient.
As October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, we’re sharing a quick refresher on how to keep your personal information safe online:
- Protect your devices
The best line of defense against online threats: keep your operating system and applications up to date. Most updates include important security fixes which help defend your devices against malware. We also recommend using an anti-virus software for added protection.
- Manage your passwords
A strong, unique password is a strong defense against hackers. Here are four guidelines to keep in mind:
- Use long, unique passwords: the more characters it has, the harder it is to break. The best passwords are 12+ characters and contain a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Don’t recycle your passwords: if one email/password combination is compromised, it puts the rest of your accounts using that combination at risk. It’s best to use a unique password for every website.
- Use a password manager. These nifty tools help you remember each unique password for each account, encrypt your passwords to keep them safe, and can even suggest secure passwords to use for your accounts.
- Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA). This provides an extra level of protection, especially for accounts containing sensitive information.
- Use secure Wi-Fi
Next time you’re having a cup at your local coffee shop, think twice about connecting to their free Wi-Fi. Unsecured networks like these leave your data vulnerable to prying eyes and hackers with malicious intent. Instead, consider using your mobile hotspot to go online, or connect to public Wi-Fi using a VPN (Virtual Private Network), which encrypts your data to keep it safe.
- Back up your data
Protect yourself against data loss by backing up important and sentimental information. Following the 3-2-1 rule, you’ll want to keep three copies of your data at all times. Two of those backup copies should be stored on different media (e.g. one in the Cloud, and one on an external drive), with one of them located offsite.
- Think before you click
Fraudulent links are one of the most common ways cybercriminals can gain access to sensitive information. Keep an eye out for anything suspicious, and when in doubt, don’t click!
- Share with care
Be careful about what you post online. For example, posting a photo of your new house could reveal your home address. As much as possible, limit the personal information that you share, and remember that anything published to the internet is there forever.
- Check your settings
Make it a habit to conduct privacy checkups on your social media sites and mobile apps, and make sure your privacy settings are at your comfort level.
Remember—it’s one thing to know how to keep yourself safe online. It’s another thing to put these tips into practice.
At DataVision, we care about keeping you and your family safe when using the internet. And if you have questions about your service, contact us —we are here and happy to help!