October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

7 Tips for Protection 

Keeping your passwords, financial, and other personal information safe and protected from outside intruders has long been a priority of businesses, but it’s increasingly critical for consumers and individuals to heed data protection advice and sound practices to keep personal information safe and secure.  We have compiled a list of 7 straight forward best practices we have found helpful in the quest to keep personal information protected.

  1. Keep Your Personal Information Offline at Home Secure

Keep all of your personal and financial records in a safe and locked place such as a locked filing cabinet or firebox.  Shred all bank statements, credit offers, receipts, invoices, and documents with personal information on them when you don’t need them any longer.  Take your outgoing mail to post office directly and retrieve your mail promptly from your mailbox.

  1. Use Strong Complex Passwords

Even though it can be annoying or challenging to remember a long list of complex passwords, it is worth it.  Avoid using common words and names.  Use a combination of letters, numbers, symbols with a minimum of 10 characters. 

  1. Keep Your Devices Secure with Security Software

Install anti-virus, anti-spyware software, and a firewall.  Set your preferences to update these protections often.   This type of software can go a long way protecting you against intrusions or infections that could compromise your files and devices.

  1.  Look out for Phishing Scams

With millions of fake emails being sent daily, phishing attacks are one of the greatest cyber security threats happening today.  Hackers pose as someone the recipient may be familiar with to trick them into opening a malicious link, divulging personal information, or opening software that infects the recipient’s device with a virus.    The best way to avoid these scams is to delete emails from unknown senders.  Take the time to verify an email address of sender(s) before opening.

  1. Don’t Be So Quick to Click!

Just because an email or site instructs you to click does not mean you should.  Make sure you inspect links prior to clicking to ensure they are from a trusted sender or site.

  1. Keep Up with Updates

As much as computer and software updates can be time consuming- they typically are software patches issued when security flaws are discovered.  These updates will help to protect your information and/device(s) stay safe. 

  1. Be Wise about WIFI

Before you send personal information over your laptop or smartphone on a public wireless network like in a coffee shop, library, or airport make sure you are sending only to sites that are fully encrypted, and avoid using apps that require personal or financial information.    To determine if a website is encrypted, look for https at the start of the web address (the “s” is for secure). Some websites use encryption only on the sign-in page, but if any part of your session isn’t encrypted, your entire account could be vulnerable. Look for https on every page you visit, not just when you sign in.