Practicing good cyber security habits is vital to keeping your digital assets safe. Good cyber security habits include preventing and responding to identity theft and scams, ensuring that home networks are secure, managing the security of mobile devices and teaching children to use the Internet safely. Here are some simple ways to practice good cyber hygiene:
Keep a Clean Machine:
- Keep security software current: Having the latest security software, web browser and operating systems are the best defense against viruses, malware and other online threats.
- Automate software updates: Turning on automatic software updates keeps your anti-virus software running properly.
- Protect all devices that connect to the Internet: Computers, smartphones, gaming systems and other web-enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware.
- Plug & scan: USBs and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them.
Protect Personal Information:
- Make your password a sentence: A strong password is a sentence that is at least 12 characters long (ex. “I love country music”)
- Unique account, unique password: Having separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals.
- Write it down and keep it safe: Consider using a password manager to keep track of your passwords.
- Get two steps ahead: Turn on two-step authentication on accounts where available. (ex. Entering a password and having a code sent to your phone.)
Connect With Care:
- When in doubt: If something looks suspicious, even if you know the source, don’t click on any links.
- Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine.
- Protect your $$: Look for web addresses with “https://” which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. “http://” is not secure.
Be Web Wise:
- Stay current: Keep pace with new ways to stay safe online.
- Think before you act: Be wary of communications that implore you to act immediately, offer something that sounds too good to be true, or ask for personal information (passwords, social security #, back accounts, etc.).
- Back it up: Protect your valuable digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.
Be Your Online Guardian:
- Personal information is like money. Information such as your purchase history or location has value. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and how it’s collected.
- Be aware of what’s being shared: Set the privacy and security settings on web services and devices to your comfort level for information sharing.
- Share with care: Think before posting about yourself and others online, you never know who will see it or how they may perceive it.