October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a great time to take stock of how protected you are (or are not) online. There are several simple steps you can take to ensure your safety online at home or in the office.
We’ve all heard it time and again, but it bears repeating: a strong password is your best defense against hackers and it is truly one of the easiest steps you can take. Things to remember when creating passwords:
• Use a long passphrase, not just a word or two. For example, you can use a news headline or the title of a book you read. Then add some punctuation and capitalization.
• Don’t make your passwords easy to guess, such as the name of your children or pets, or their birthdays.
• Substitute letters with numbers and punctuation marks or symbols.
• Do not use the same password for multiple accounts. It’s tempting, especially when there are so many passwords to remember these days. But it’s also a great way for hackers to get into multiple accounts. Use a password manager to help remember all your unique passwords.
• When possible, remember to use two-step verification to add extra security and prevent your account from getting hacked.
Avoid Internet Scams
Cybercriminals are getting smarter and more sophisticated in the ways they catch individuals and companies in their schemes. Here are some common Internet scams and ways to avoid them:
• People who are concerned over COVID-19 are an an easy mark for cybercriminals. Be wary and use caution whenever you see an email, text, social media link, or phone call related to COVID-19.
• When you receive an email, call, or a private message on social media claiming to be a government official, family member, or friend requesting personal or financial information, it is more than likely a cybercriminal trying to get sensitive information from you. It is never a good idea to give out your social security number or financial information to anyone unless you are positive it is a source you can trust.
• Phishing scams occur when cybercriminals use email or malicious websites to infect your device with malware and viruses in order to collect personal and financial information. One of the best ways to avoid being affected by a phishing attack is to always be suspicious of hyperlinks in emails. Hover over links to see the URL and determine if it is authentic. View more information on how to spot a phishing scam email.
• Make sure all your computers and other devices that connect to the Internet have updated antivirus software and firewalls.
If you have issues with malware on your computer or want to ensure that your device has adequate protection, the experts at Nuvera’s TechTrends are ready to help you. Visit nuveratechtrends.com or call 507.233.3000 to learn more.
Information in this article was taken from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Learn more at cisa.gov/publication/national-cybersecurity-awareness-month-publications