4 Tips to Stay Cyber Safe
October marks Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Whether it’s working from your home office or shopping online for just about everything, we are spending more time and money on our devices. So, are you keeping yourself cyber protected? Here are four tips for staying safe online.
Tip #1 - Use secure devices.
The first rule of cyber safety is to use a secure device. Whether it be a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or phone, it’s essential to secure your device with a password. The simple act of having a password provides the first line of defense against hackers. Also, when you can, use your own devices, especially when sensitive information is involved.
If you’re working from home, use separate devices for work and personal activities when possible. This will help mitigate compromising your personal and professional information.
Tip #2 - Update your antivirus software and systems regularly.
When your to-do list is long, the last thing you want to see is a system update pop-up. We generally like to ignore updates because they take time, but these updates are critical in avoiding security problems. If there is a known issue, the operating system or antivirus program will provide updates, including patches to better secure your device. Save yourself time in the future; update now.
One word of caution. Make it a point to know what your standard update messages look like and where they appear. If you receive an email to download updates, use caution, and double-check before clicking or providing information.
Tip #3 - Confirm your home network security.
Along with confirming your system security, it’s just as important to ensure your network is secure. At home, this means password-protecting your Wi-Fi. Take the time to reset your Wi-Fi’s default password. This will go a long way in protecting you from potential hackers.
If you’re not on your home network, use caution with other wireless networks. If you cannot confirm the network’s security, avoid entering any payment information, or accessing sensitive accounts.
Tip #4 - Recognize phishing emails and other scams.
Malicious emails and other forms of scams continue to become more common with the shift to more time online. Fraudulent text messages and harmful emails are now commonplace.
Before you respond or click, do a gut check. Is there something off about the communication? Did it come from an unknown email address, or does it use bad grammar? When in doubt, don’t respond or click. Even if an email appears to be coming from a trusted source, hover over any links before clicking. It can help save many headaches.