October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and we've got some tips for staying safe in today's technology-heavy world.
1. Keep Your Software Updated
This includes operating systems on your computer or smartphone, any desktop and mobile apps, antivirus protection, and browser plugins. Updating software can not only add new features and increase efficiency but also get rid of security gaps that have come to light in the meantime.
2. Use Antivirus Protection & Firewall
Antivirus (AV) software watches out for potential threats to your device. It regularly performs scans to detect and remove viruses. In addition to AV protection, you can also choose to install a firewall. Firewalls monitor incoming and outgoing network traffic and block what they see as potential threats. Both hardware and software firewalls are options, each with their own benefits. Do research beforehand to determine which is best in your situation.
3. Create Strong Passwords
There are three main criteria that make up a strong password: length, complexity, and predictability.
- Length: A strong password should be at least 12 characters long.
- Complexity: A strong password contains a mix of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers.
- Predictability: A strong password should be difficult for others to guess but easy for you to remember. Instead of using a literal password, try using a passphrase; for example, a phrase from one of your favorite movies or books. Additionally, use a different password for each of your online accounts and apps. If you use the same password for everything and someone figures out your password, that puts you at great risk for fraud.
4. Use a Password Manager
Almost everything these days requires a password. As mentioned above, you should avoid using the same password for all of your logins. This can create a problem, though: Remembering all of your passwords. Thankfully, a password manager can help you out with that issue. A password manager is a software program that securely stores your passwords for you. You can even download a password manager as an app on your smartphone. As always, do some research beforehand to make sure you’re downloading a legitimate and safe app.
5. Know the Scams to Watch Out For
This can be one of your greatest defenses. Educate yourself on fraud on scams so you know what to look out for. Cyprus Credit Union’s website is one of many resources that can help you learn more. Click here to go to the Fraud Alerts & Prevention page of our website.
6. Be Smart About Using Public Wi-Fi
It’s convenient to use the hotspots offered in many hotels, grocery stores, airplanes, and restaurants. Be cautious when doing so. Using public Wi-Fi can leave you vulnerable to malware attacks. The Federal Trade Commission has provided some tips on the do’s and don’ts of using public Wi-Fi. Click here to learn more on their website.