Tips to improve your cyber hygiene
Keeping your personal data safe
Did you know that October was Cybersecurity Awareness Month? It has already come and went, but we think keeping your data safe needs to be top of mind more frequently than just one month out of the year.
The main focus of D9 Technologies is on business customers; however, the fundamentals of this list can carry over to the personal side as well.
Below is our Top 10 List to keep your personal data safe.
In the wrong hands, personally identifiable information (PII is info such as SSI, Passport number, home/cell number & biometric records), combined with other personal data (DOB, mother’s maiden name, etc.), can result in identity theft—and cause havoc to your finances and credit.
Bad actors have become more sophisticated. Beware of emails even if the email seems to be from a trusted person or organization.
Bad actors send emails with:
- Poor grammar
- Urgent requests
- Request your password or other PII
- Deals that are too good to be true
- “Dear sir/madam” & other generic greetings
When in doubt:
- Check email addresses
- Never provide PII by email
- Beware of links or attachments
- Stay vigilant and use caution when asked to do something new, unusual, or different
- Slow down and think carefully before you take action
Bad actors are constantly looking for opportunities in unpatched software. Keep your software up to date—it’s one of the most effective security tools you have. Better yet—enable automatic updates, so you never have to think about it.
We all have dozens of passwords. Any bad actor who guesses just one password can quickly access lots of PII, from your bank data to your home address. Statistics show that 240,731 passwords are stolen each day!
Strong password recommendations:
- Longer passwords are always better. Aim for at least 14 characters
- Choose unusual phrases that are easy for you to remember that include numbers and symbols
- Never use the same password
- for different accounts
- For best results, research password managers. There are several of them out there to choose from
Two-step verification also known as multifactor authentication or two-factor authentication (MFA)—strengthens security by requiring additional ways to verify your identity beyond your user ID and password. These added layers guard against phishing, social engineering, and password brute force attacks. Additional factors can include email notification, a smartphone app, or a text to your mobile device.
Bad actors can hack free or public Wi-Fi to discover the websites you’re visiting and capture the information—include PII—that you send over the network. Learn more about Wi-Fi attacks and how to protect yourself from them, here.
Using free Wi-Fi, avoid websites that use and retain your personal data:
- Online banking
- School accounts
- Social media
When using a public computer or any device that is not your own, another user may be able to access your data and accounts. Before signing off, make sure you:
- Disable any options to “save password”
- Log out of your accounts when finished
- Delete cookies and browsing history
Secure your cyber footprint by managing the privacy and security settings on your devices, online services, and applications. That way, you’re only sharing information that’s actually required, and nothing more.
Some mobile apps may have access to more information than you realize. Before downloading a new app, pay close attention to the permissions it requires. Better protect your privacy with this mobile app guide.
Do you really want that app to capture data from your:
- Camera roll