At a time when we are more connected than ever, being “cyber smart” is of the utmost importance. This year has already seen more than a fair share of attacks and breaches, including the high-profile attacks on the Colonial Pipeline and other critical infrastructure. Cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated with more evolved bad actors cropping up each day. Luckily, there are several steps that we can take on a daily basis to mitigate risks and stay one step ahead:
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds that necessary second check to verify your identity when logging in to one of your accounts. By requiring multiple methods of authentication, your account is further protected from being compromised, even if a bad actor hijacks your password. In this way, MFAs make it more difficult for password cracking tools to enable attackers to break into accounts.
Use strong passphrases or a password manager
This may seem obvious, but all too often passwords/passphrases are overlooked. People spending more time online during the pandemic has certainly contributed to more bad actors prowling for accounts to attack. Using long, complex, and unique passwords or passphrases is a good way to stop your account from being hacked. An easy way to keep track of your passwords/passphrases is by using a password manager.
Perform software updates
When a pop-up tells you it’s time to for a software update, it may be tempting to simply click postpone, and ignore the message. However, having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system on all your devices is one of the best defenses against online threats. So, don’t wait – update.
Do your research
Common sense is a crucial part of maintaining good online hygiene. An easy step to stay safe online is to do some research before downloading anything new to your device, such as apps. Make sure all new apps are legitimate by checking who created the app, what the user reviews say, and if there are any articles published online about the app’s privacy and security features.
Check your settings
Be diligent by double checking your privacy & security settings, and permissions. This is an important step for video calls, documents, and beyond. For meetings on Zoom, for example, create passwords so only those invited to the session can attend, and restrict who can share their screen or files during the meeting.
Being cyber smart and maintaining stellar online hygiene is the best way to protect yourself and your company from cyber attacks. No single tip is foolproof, but when used together these tips can make a real difference for taking control of your online presence. Following these tips is also easy and free. By taking preventive measures and making a habit of practicing online safety, you can decrease your odds of being hacked.