If you follow us on Social Media, you know that October is National Cyber Security Month! In a month full of tricks and treats it is important to be aware of the ways that you can be vulnerable to tricks through your online usage and habits. There is no better time than now, before Cyber Monday and holiday on-line shopping begins, to make sure that your personal information and accounts are safe and up to date. Here are some tips from our in-house experts on ways to protect your information from hackers and be more aware of ways that you are putting yourself at risk for cyber-attacks.
Don’t write down your passwords to save them! It is very easy for someone to notice your passwords written down and take a photo of them or make a copy. This puts you at risk for your usernames and passwords to be shared or used. We suggest using a site such as www.lastpass.com to store all your usernames and passwords in a secure account.
Don’t use the same password for all your accounts! When you use the same combination of usernames and passwords for multiple accounts it opens your vulnerability to more of your accounts being compromised. When you create a password, it is best to use a mixture of random letters, numbers and special characters, making it harder for hackers to access multiple accounts.
Don’t fill out “get to know you surveys” on social media! We all love to participate in fun on-line quizzes to get to know each other better, but what you don’t realize is that the answers you are giving are an easy way for hackers to figure out your passwords or security answers. When you post the name of your first pet, the city you were born in, your mother’s maiden name or even your favorite sports team can all hints to your passwords or security answers.
Don’t post on social media when you are not home! This is both for your cybersecurity and the security of your home and belongings. When you are posting pictures of your vacations or day trips it is letting the world know that you are not home, or they can determine how long it will take for you to get home. It is also recommended not to post things that hint to your daily routines, as this allows potential burglars to know when your home is typically unattended.
Don’t share your passwords! One time or another we may have all given our password to a friend or family member to binge-watch their favorite show, discover a new playlist or share files back and forth; As much as we trust those close to us it may not be their fault when your accounts are attacked. Something as simple as them dropping a paper with your information on it or sending a picture with your information in it can open your accounts to hackers. If you are going to share your information be sure to do it securely.
DO stay on top of your online security. You may be aware you’ve experienced a security breach, or it may have snuck under your radar, either way, there is no better time to act than now! A great site to start this process on is www.haveibeenpwned.com, this site allows you to type in your email address(s) and run a scan on the breaches your information has been compromised in. From there, you can also change your passwords through their service, www.1password.com.
Securing your identity online is an on-going process, it is important to recognize that new hackers are coming to the internet daily and more people want to retrieve your information without your knowledge. Following these simple tips and updating your passwords regularly will help you to increase your safety against cyber threats. As always, if you ever have questions regarding your personal or business’s cybersecurity we are here to help!
Michael is the President and owner of tech42 LLC. He has more than 20 years of cross-discipline experience in the information technology industry, and has worked both as a network engineer and software developer. He is a passionate student of the interaction between technology and business and leveraging that knowledge to help tech42’s clients achieve both technology and business success.