October is cybersecurity awareness month. Scams are evolving and hackers are learning new ways to obtain confidential information. Make sure you and your team are staying updated on the latest cybersecurity crimes and practice safe online habits. A basic rule for staying protected: if it seems off, it probably is. If you’re questioning the validity of something, it’s best to delete it. Here are some easy tips for keeping your information safe online.
Use strong passwords.
It’s important to create long and strong passwords to keep your account(s) safe. It’s best to utilize a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols for the most creative, hard-to-hack passwords. Avoid using your first or last name or other personal information in your password, and try not to use the same password for more than one account. Some people prefer to use trusted password management tools to store and sync their passwords to their frequently used devices.
Educate yourself on the scams out there.
Scammers are learning to adapt to the changing times, so we need to stay on our toes. Scams can be phone calls, emails, websites, and even text messages. Do not assume you are safe because you have SmartPhone - they do not defend against scam texts or unsafe websites. Be cautious before opening anything from someone you don’t know. If you aren’t sure or something seems “off,” it’s best to delete.
Be cautious where you post your information.
It should go without saying but you’d be surprised - do not post your personal information unless you are absolutely sure where it is going and why. This includes your full legal name, birth date, address, Social Security number, bank account numbers - anything that uniquely identifies you. Only make purchases from secure sites that are trusted. Do not give your information to any and all sites that ask for it. Be cautious.
Invest in antivirus software.
Defend against pop-up ads, spam, and online hacks by subscribing to (and renewing!) a reputable, trusted antivirus software. Imagine this to be a shield for you and your personal information on your device. This is usually an annual fee but is also an investment in your cybersecurity.
If you’re unfamiliar with an email or a website, it’s best to delete it. Do your research, as many people have already dealt with what you are and may have some guidance. Don’t take anything for what it seems - a simple click can create a world of trouble. Always question everything before opening.
To remain up-to-date on all current scams, how to keep yourself safe online, and more - visit www.staystafeonline.org.