Best Practices for Online Security
Technology is always evolving, and keeping up with security advice can be confusing. The guidance on securing your digital world can appear complex and overwhelming. While the details of how to stay secure may change over time, there are fundamental things you can always do to protect yourself.
Keep in mind that technology alone will never fully protect you. Criminals know that the easiest way to bypass advanced security technology is by attacking you. If they want your password, credit card, or personal data, the easiest thing for them to do is to trick you into giving them this information. For example, they can call you impersonating Microsoft support and claim that your computer is infected. In reality, they are cyber criminals that want you to give them access to your computer. Or perhaps, you may receive an email link requesting confirmation regarding a package delivery that might seem legitimate but is actually a link to a malicious website. By using common sense, you can spot and stop most attacks. The greatest defense against attackers is you. Be cautious and suspicious! If unsure, do not click on the link or open email attachments.
The next step to protecting yourself involves using a strong, unique password for each of your devices and online accounts. A strong password is one that cannot be easily guessed by hackers or their automated programs. Complex passwords are hard to remember and difficult to type. As an alternative, try using a passphrase instead. A passphrase is a series of words that are easy to remember such as Whatisforlunch? The longer your passphrase, the stronger it is.
Having a unique password means using a different password for each device and online account. Unique passwords are important because they provide you with an extra layer of protection against cyber criminals. If one password is compromised, all your other accounts and devices are still safe. If the idea of using a unique password for each account and device is intimidating, consider using a password manager. A password manager is a specialized application for your smartphone or computer that securely stores all your passwords in an encrypted format. Dashlane and Keepass are reputable password managers, which allow you to access and manage accounts across multiple platforms and devices.
Software updates not only improve functionality but also provide additional security measures to mitigate newly discovered vulnerabilities. Make sure your devices are running the latest software versions. Cyber criminals are constantly looking for new vulnerabilities in your software devices. When they discover a vulnerability, they exploit them and hack into your devices. Meanwhile, the software companies work to fix the vulnerabilities by releasing updates. To stay current on software updates, enable automatic updates whenever possible, making it harder for someone to hack you. This rule applies to almost any technology connected to a network, including internet connected TVs, baby monitors, home routers, and printers. If your operating systems or devices are old and no longer supported with security updates, we recommend you replace them with new ones that are.