As new technology emerges, cybersecurity protocols also evolve. However, there are some basic tips you can put into place to stay better protected against cyberattacks wherever you go.
Using strong passwords – 14 characters or more with a combination of lower and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols – are more important than ever to help keep you and your information protected. In addition, create and use unique passwords for each account including your computer login, email, social media accounts, bank accounts, online shopping, streaming, and other apps.
With so many different accounts, it can be tempting to make a habit of using the same login credentials multiple times. Weak passwords can have serious consequences, including having your data (information) exposed or even identity theft. Using strong and unique passwords helps minimize the risk of your data being exposed.
Of course, the best passwords can be difficult to remember. That’s where a trusted password manager comes in. Password managers can create and store lengthy passwords and work on desktop computers, laptops, and mobile devices. You’ll only need to remember one password – referred to as a master password – to access and use all your other passwords for your accounts (assuming you’ve already stored the information in the password manager). So, make that password as strong as it can be! To do this, consider using a pass phrase made up of three or four words that are easy for you to remember.
It’s been mentioned before and for good reason, because it adds a second layer of protection between your account information and someone else being able to access it. Sometimes referred to as 2FA, two-step verification, or two-step authentication, it’s simply serves as a secondary way of confirming your identity. Think of it as a supplement to your password.
After successfully logging in to an account with a password, the user is prompted another way to confirm their identity – a one-button push with a verification app (Google Authenticator or Lastpass) or by entering a random security code received via text, email, push notification, or physical key.
If used properly, should your device be stolen or hacked, two-factor authentication will help protect your information.
Use a VPN When Using Public Wi-Fi
Since public Wi-Fi – such as restaurants, hotels, coffee shops, or any public place – is often less secure and typically not password protected, a virtual private network (VPN) encrypts the data exchanged through that connection and helps add privacy and security. Think of it as a bulletproof vest for your internet connection. Note, however, that even if you’re using a VPN, you should still be cautious about clicking on suspicious links and downloading files as there’s still a risk of infecting your computer with a virus.
Always Use a Passcode Lock on Your Devices
Chances are you may know someone who’s lost their phone or left it laying somewhere. With that in mind, if someone finds your phone and can unlock it, they gain access to any personal information stored on it. Now, you run the risk of having your personal information, photos, emails, passwords and more exposed to the public. Therefore, set up a passcode, or better yet, biometric authentication (fingerprint) on your phone to prevent this threat.