Private data is more at risk this year than ever before. Many have moved to remote work or school environments and this can make private data vulnerable to attacks online. Being at home doesn’t mean that cybersecurity is no longer an issue. #BeCyberSmart
Here are some tips for securing your private data:
Use a VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is one of the best ways to make sure data accessed and/or transmitted is secure. Many employers supply a VPN to their employees. If your employer or school does not supply access to a VPN, there are many available that are reasonably inexpensive.
Use security software and sign out
Use anti-virus, anti-malware, and firewall software with all of the current updates and patches installed. Make sure to sign out of applications when not in use.
Practice Password Hygiene
Passwords should be complex and hard to guess.
Don’t reuse passwords, even for sites or services that don’t collect or store information. If the same password is used for twenty sites, all it takes is for one site to be compromised.
Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Turn on Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for email and any site that collects, stores, or processes private or personal information. For financial and other services, a search of their sites should give instructions on how to implement MFA.
Don’t be phishing bait
Don’t click on links in emails unless you can verify the sender’s identity. It’s good practice to copy and paste links into a search engine to see if they are valid.
If an email has an urgent request like an account change or payment instructions, hover over the email address with the mouse to confirm the sender is the actual sender.
Hackers often use email addresses that look exactly like or are similar to a trusted source.
Watch out for vishing
Beware if someone calls and says that a “refund” is coming or worse, that an account has been compromised and request credentials to fix the problem. Try to verify the person is who they say they are by asking for more information. If it is a phone call, ask for a call back number. Do an Internet search of the number to confirm it belongs to the person or company.
Periodically go through and unsubscribe from emails that are unwanted. Slimming down that inbox reduces the chance of falling for a phishing scam.
Patch and update
Install patches and updates to software when they become available. To ensure that the update is legitimate and not a phishing attempt, set the operating system and other software to install updates automatically. Instructions for how to do that can be found on the software company’s website.
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