The pandemic has showcased how much we rely on the internet, which makes it possible to virtually work from home, shop, attend religious service and stay connected with family and friends. Unfortunately, those conveniences come with risk and cyber criminals are upping their game. Here are a few ways you can protect yourself from hacks, scams, and malware.
Look twice before you click. Cyber criminals will try to get you to act quickly through subject lines and messaging; pause to consider before opening an unexpected email attachment. Most importantly, NEVER click on a link asking you to enter your password or change your password. Always go directly to the site to enter your password or call the company directly if there appears to be a problem.
Use strong passwords. Strong passwords are fairly long and use a combination of upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters. Don’t keep a list of passwords anywhere near your device and if you keep a list, don’t spell out your password. Instead, record a hint, followed by the numbers and symbols, ideally unique to each site. Another option is to consider purchasing a password management system.
Add Two-Factor Authentication. For sensitive sites, such as financial accounts, add two-factor identification. After signing in, the institution will either text, call, or email a one-time code.
Stay current. Google your name and delete old, unused accounts that come up. Clear your browser history periodically and delete apps you no longer use. Use the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems. Regularly check for updates and sign up for automatic updates when you can.
Stay independent. When signing up for a new service or app, pass up the offer to sign in using Facebook or your Google account, which exposes the data in your accounts. You can manage connected accounts on social sites and disconnect any you no longer want to have connected.
It’s important to stay vigilant about securing your financial and personal information. Please feel free to send these tips along to anyone that may benefit.