6 PERSONAL CYBERSECURITY TIPS
The statistics on cybersecurity are shocking; data breaches exposed 4.1 billion records in the first half of 2019 (source). According to the University of Maryland, hackers attack every 39 seconds, on average 2,244 times a day—but the average time to identify a breach in 2019 was 206 days. By protecting yourself with these easy steps, you can avoid the multitude of issues that accompany a cyberattack.
1. USE STRONG AND VARYING PASSWORDS
Don’t underestimate the importance of your password strength! Change your password multiple times per year. Strong passwords are a combination of at least 10 letters, numbers and symbols. Make sure to use a different password for each account.
2. BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR PERSONAL INFO
Limit the amount of personal information that you put on the internet. Common security questions, such as your mother’s maiden name or childhood pet name, can be seemingly benign pieces of information that offer hackers a way in.
3. RECOGNIZE AND STAY AWAY FROM PHISHING
According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, people lost over $57 million to phishing scams in one year. Phishing emails or texts often come from a source that you think you may know and trust. Pay close attention to who the sender is; when in doubt, contact the company directly to confirm the information. Do not click on any unfamiliar links or attachments, as they can install harmful malware.
4. UTILIZE TWO-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION
Take advantage of multi-factor authentication when it’s offered. A recent study by Duo Security showed that only 28 percent of Americans use the added security feature. That extra step makes it much less likely for a hacker to access your accounts and information.
5. UPDATE YOUR SOFTWARE
Always keep your operating systems and internet security software up to date. With each update comes patches to flaws in the system; flaws that hackers are able to exploit.
6. SAY NO TO PUBLIC WI-FI
Public Wi-Fi is a perfect opportunity for cybercriminals to gain access to your information and accounts. Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt all your internet traffic, including what goes through your browser. Click here for a wide range of free and paid options.
These simple protections could save you the time, hassle and money that accompany a cyberattack; prevent yourself by becoming another statistic by securing your devices, accounts and personal information.