All of us use the internet for pretty much everything we do today, and more of our devices and appliances are connected to the internet than ever before. That’s a lot of data that needs to be protected — and a lot of data that could potentially be vulnerable to hackers. To protect your data online, start by following these tips:
1. Create strong, unique passwords and change them regularly.
Accounts with weak passwords are far easier for hackers to access. Hackers may use this access to gain control of your funds, collect your personal information, or even stage a larger attack (such as on the company you work for).
Here are some suggestions:
Password must not contain the user’s account name or more than two consecutive characters from the user’s full name.
Password must not contain anything personal such as pet’s name, kid’s name, or name of the seasons
Password must be 8-15 or more characters long. The longer the password, the more secure.
Password must contain characters from three of the following categories:
Uppercase characters A-Z
Lowercase characters a-z
Special characters (!, $, #, %, etc.)
Click HERE to learn more about creating a strong password.
2. Set up multi-factor authentication for sensitive accounts.
Multifactor Authentication (MFA) is defined as a security process that requires more than one method of authentication from independent sources to verify the user’s identity. In other words, a person wishing to use the system is given access only after providing two or more pieces of information which uniquely identifies that person.
For many of our customers, we recommend using Duo for MFA. Cisco's Duo protects your applications by using a second source of validation, like a phone, to verify user identity before granting access.
To read more about this, click HERE.
3. Keep all of your software up to date.
Make sure all of your devices — your computer, phone, tablet, etc. — are receiving automatic, continuous software updates. This includes updates for the operating system, any antivirus software, and all apps. Software updates frequently include patches and security updates that will protect your device from the latest malware and security threats. If your device has become too outdated and no longer receives software and security updates, it’s time to replace your device. A device or app running old software is an easy target for attacks.
4. Set up security alerts for your accounts.
Many sensitive accounts, including bank accounts, allow you to set up activity alerts. For example, you can tell your bank to email you, text you, or send an app notification whenever you:
Spend a certain amount of money
Take out money from an ATM
Make purchases online
Have unusual account activity
5. Try to avoid using public, unsecured Wi-Fi without a VPN.
To make sure your devices and information remain safe, you should make sure you have a secure connection to a private network, such as your home internet network or your wireless network. When connecting to a network, a secure Internet connection will require a password to gain access to the network and show a “padlock” icon next to the network name.
If you’re traveling and unable to connect to a private network, using your phone’s wireless network (despite the data charges) is the safest option. If you must use public Wi-Fi, it is wise to use a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt and protect your data.
6. Learn how to spot phishing scams.
Phishing refers to any attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, or banking details, often for malicious reasons, by impersonating a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.
Click HERE to learn:
Types of Phishing
Common Features of Phishing Emails
How Criminals Lure You In
How to Avoid Phishing Attacks
Sources: First United Bank & Trust, gfidigital.com