Do you know how to keep yourself safe online?
Cybersecurity has been in the news a lot lately, with talk of hackers attacking the GOP databases and the debate over Hillary Clinton’s emails, cybersecurity has become an issue of national concern. The Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance named October National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in an effort to ensure that every American can stay safe and secure online.
So let’s skip the politics and talk about some simple things you can do to protect yourself and your personal information when you’re using the internet.
1. Turn on Automatic Updates
Software companies regularly release updates to improve security. You might picture it this way, every night, robbers try to break into a secure facility. Every morning, a security guard walks around and patches the holes they’ve cut in the fence. When you update your software, you’re patching holes, making it more difficult for the robbers to get in next time.
If you don’t update your software, the holes never get patched, and you leave your computer and your information vulnerable.
2. Create Secure Passwords
Almost everything you do online, from Facebook, to email requires a password. Strong passwords are harder for hackers to crack. To create a strong password use strings of words and numbers that don’t mean anything. Then write your password down.
We know you’ve heard that you’re not supposed to write your password down, but good passwords are hard to remember. You’re better off writing your password down in a secure location so you won’t be tempted to use a less secure but easier to remember password.
You’ve also heard that you should change your passwords regularly. Well, good news, everyone. Experts suggest that changing your passwords all the time leads you to choose less secure options. So find one you like and stick with it unless there’s a data breach.
3. Guard Against Scams
Microsoft will never contact you to tell you your computer is broken. Neither will Google, Apple, or any other reputable company. If you get a call like that hang up immediately. The person calling you is a scammer and is trying to gain access to your computer, bank information or passwords.
The same goes for emails or popups supposedly from Microsoft and other reputable companies. When in doubt, contact your trusted tech support team.
These three tips are the bare minimum you should be doing to protect yourself online. We haven’t even touched on social media networks, mobile phones, or network security. If you want to learn more, sign up for Technology Solutions’ Cybersecurity Class, which will be offered out of our office in Newport ME on Thursday, November 10.
Class size is limited. Cost is $25 per person. Call 368-2880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.