More than ever, people are spending time shopping online, surfing the web, and sharing their personal information online without thinking twice about what impact it could have on them if their important personal details were stolen. It is important to be aware of the risks of using the internet. Here are seven cybersecurity tips for the everyday user to keep in mind when spending time online:
Use strong passwords
A very important key to your online security is having strong passwords that you can actually remember. You also should not be using the same weak password across multiple accounts.
- Try using a password manager tool such as https://www.lastpass.com/ to keep track of your passwords for different accounts.
- If you are having troubles thinking of a quality password for your login, try using a password generator like https://passwordsgenerator.net/
Check what kind of access your apps have
Most apps you download ask you questions on access to your photos and location but chances are the majority of the time you ignore the prompts. You want to use the app right away so you just check yes and yes. Re-evaluate this! You don’t need or shouldn’t want your apps to have access to where you are at all times.
The next time you download an app before you hit “Allow” or “Yes”, check to see if the app is asking you to share your location, age, notifications, or other information. Be wary of your privacy and understand if it is necessary for the application to know your location at all times.
Don’t click on that phishing email
Malicious attacks come in many forms but often show up in your email inbox. These emails can even look like they are coming from someone familiar like your family member requesting your help with something or a brand you know and trust. These emails look urgent and entice you to click on a link or send payment. DON’T DO IT! If an email looks suspicious, don’t open it. Instead, you should report it.
Update your software
This one is often forgotten and ignored. You could be in the middle of writing content or drafting an email and an “Update Now” prompt shows up. The last thing you want to do is update an application while in the midst of something, so you hit “later” or “ignore” and forget about it.
Software updates are important because they often include critical patches to security holes. These patches keep your personal information protected from potential cyber threats.
When possible, select auto-update for software on both your mobile devices and computers. For software that doesn’t update automatically, make it a habit to regularly check for and apply available updates. The best way to tell if an update is required is to look over the update list, which most pieces of software have in the “update” description.
Back up your data
Backing up your data is not as complicated as one may think…
You want to make sure your most-used files are being backed up. For most users, there are really three methods to use. If you have Microsoft Office 365, you can use OneDrive. You can Sync your Desktop/Documents/Pictures to your OneDrive account and it will be backed up. Another option is you can choose to do it manually. Meaning you can buy a USB stick and copy your Desktop/Documents/Pictures on to it on a regular basis. The third way is to purchase a third-party software that will do this.
Use two-factor authentication
Add an extra layer of security to your platforms by installing two-factor authentication. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) provides an additional defense against cybercriminals by requiring a second piece of information in order to sign in to your account. This second piece of information could be a PIN or code sent to your phone or email. Some apps use notifications to your key devices so you can just confirm it was you signing in. Click here to read more about 2FA and how it can protect your privacy online.
Check your privacy settings and consider what details you share on social media
Always be mindful of what kind of personal information you are sharing on your public accounts as cybercriminals can pick up specific details like your full name and address to find ways to access your personal accounts. Before you share your posts or pictures on social media platforms, always be mindful of who can see, react, or comment. Also, double-check your privacy settings on your public social media accounts. Each social media platform has a different process to control privacy settings. If you have strong privacy settings in place, this can reduce the number of eyes you don’t know who is seeing your information.
Applying each of these items right away is a great starting point to keep you secure online so you can enjoy scrolling the web without compromising your privacy. If you have any questions or comments on these tips, contact Yardstick today. Our experts are always happy to chat and help you with your technology needs.
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