1. Manage Your Passwords Wisely
Using a weak password is like handing your banking security information straight over to those trying to steal from you.
-Use a password that you’ll remember, the more characters the more secure
-Don’t use predictable keyboard paths (such as “qwerty” or “12345”)
-Use a variety of character types, including at least one lowercase letter, one uppercase letter, a number, and four symbols (excluding &%#@_)
2. Take Advantage of Two-Factor or Multifactor Authentication Options
Outdated and unsupported software poses a serious security threat. As it can be exploited by cybercriminals to gain access to information on your computer. Updates are designed to close off these avenues of access from unwanted third parties and keep your information safe. Installing updates as soon as they come out is the best way to lessen the likelihood of encountering an issue due to outdated software. Set your computer to update automatically, use automatic updates on your browser, and be sure to keep extensions, such as flash and java, fully up to date.
3. Use a Firewall and an Antivirus Program
Even if you keep all of your software up to date. There are plenty of threats that can attempt to wiggle through cyberspace and into your hard drive. Using a reliable anti-virus software in conjunction with a firewall is perhaps the most effective way to fight a wide range of malicious cyber threats. A firewall filters the activity coming into your system, stopping malicious software and hackers before they get in. Meanwhile, antivirus systems capture any threats that do make it through your firewall. The antivirus quarantines and then deletes any threats on your machine, keeping your information safe. It’s a combo that’s hard to beat as long as you’re using both resources smartly. A few other key points to consider:
-Only buy anti-virus software from trusted companies
-Only run one anti-virus software on your computer at a time
-Don’t turn off your firewall or antivirus software – if you need to allow a program through, set up an exception instead
4. Learn About Phishing Scams and How to Avoid Them
Phishing scams are so successful that people reported losing up to 30 million dollars to these crimes in a single year. This is because they can be hard to spot, especially for those who don’t know what to look for. In light of their success in recent years, these crimes are becoming more elaborate, and learning to identify them is more important than ever – especially since cybercriminals can now mimic the look and tone of emails from actual companies you’re familiar with. Here are some ways you can protect yourself:
-Never click on a suspicious link
-Do not open an email from a sender you do not know
-Always inspect emails – keep an eye out for spelling errors and blatant typos
-Continue to inspect links, even those sent by friends – they can be hacked too
5. Avoid Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi hotspots are yet another space where cybercriminals reign supreme. These networks tend to be un-secure, and those with the know-how can view any information you’re dealing with while connected. If you must use public Wi-Fi, always use either a VPN or, if that’s not possible, use the data on your mobile device to access the information you need.