We’ve all heard the stories about digital scammers. Criminals faking wiring instructions, email addresses being hacked, money sent overseas and lost forever. With technology constantly changing and scammers growing more subtle and advanced in their techniques every day, it can feel overwhelming to find ways to protect yourself online. So…let’s get back to the basics!
Outlined below you will find some basic best practices for ensuring that your most common digital activities are more secure. If you’re looking to improve your “cyber health,” these are some great tips to get started that are quick and effective. Of course, if you have any questions, please feel free to Contact Us and we can help you lock it down!
Login & Password Security
You login to your computer, your email, and tons of sites every day. Strong cyber health starts from the first step in going online so strong passwords are the jumping off point to protecting your information.
- Use different login names and passwords for different accounts
- Using the same credentials can create a daisy chain effect. For example, if a cybercriminal gains access to your personal email account they then have all the information to access your professional email account, leaving you exposed in two ways.
- Follow password complexity standards.
- Avoid using any personal information
- Use a variety of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and non-alphanumeric characters (!@#$)
- Avoid short words and trying using passphrases (instead of “L!berty1” try Welove$L!berty1”)
- Do not share your password or store you passwords in the browser
Email is one of the most common ways for malware to infect your system. Following safe email practices is a critical part of preventing infection.
- Practice authentication awareness! When in doubt about any email, be sure to call the supposed source of the email to verify.
- Be wary of any emails that do not address you by name or ask for personal information, account information, or password/login information.
- Hover over links and email addresses in email to confirm that the email address looks legitimate.
- For example, if an alert comes from Gmail.com and asks you to click a link in the email, hover the mouse over the link without clicking. If it goes to something like myaccount.gmail.com instead of Gmail.com the email may not be legitimate.
The key to safe browsing is having a keen eye for ways in which you may be misled into visiting a site that performs a drive-by install of malware or misleads you into installing malware yourself.
- When looking at search results, review the URLs that are listed in the search results before clicking on them
- Hover your mouse over a link before clicking on it to make sure the URL that appears matches the direction the link promises to take
- Watch the page load
- If you see several pop-ups right away or if anything appears to start downloading that you didn’t authorize, close the browser or disable the Internet connection temporarily