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October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month! To celebrate, below are some of the top Cyber Safety Tips to protect you and your children when browsing the internet.
- Avoid using personal information such as anniversary dates, phone numbers, date of birth, or anything else that could be easily found in public records as passwords or pin numbers.
- Create a strong password by making a passphrase. Passphrases should be 8 – 64 characters long, and include symbols Uppercase AND lowercase characters.
- Don’t use the same password across all accounts. If you think about this, if a hacker cracks your password, they have access to every account that uses that password. Use a different password or passphrase for each individual account. Don’t just change or add a character to a current password either. This might make them ‘different’ for each account, but it’ll still be easy enough to hack the account.
- Use a password manager. Providers such as LastPass and RoboForm generally have free options. Using a password manager makes it so you only need to remember ONE strong password, and it’ll remember the rest for you.
- Setup Multi-factor Authentication (also known as Two Factor Authentication) if the website allows you to. This allows you to (generally) force anyone attempting to log-in enter a code from your phone. So unless they have your phone, they’re not getting in.
- Avoid sharing passwords through email or text message. If you need to provide sensitive information to someone, call them directly or meet with them in person.
- Avoid writing down passwords, except for temporary situations. If you need to write them down, get them into your password manager asap, and then shred or destroy the paper with the password written on it.
- Avoid connecting to Public Wi-Fi hotspots. Especially if they are not password protected. Even if they are, they can be a dangerous internet connection, because hackers and cyber-criminals will use these unprotected connections to hack your devices, and steal your information.
- Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) if you need to connect to a public Wi-Fi hotspot. The VPN encrypts your data, making it way more difficult than it’s really worth to try and steal your data.
- When you setup your own Wi-Fi at home, be sure to change the default password.
- As tempting as it may be, avoid using something personal as your Wi-Fi password, such as your child’s name, anyone’s date of birth, anniversary dates, etc. These can be easily accessed thanks to Social Media and public records. See the password rules at the top for further direction.
- Using all the safety tips we’ve provided you on your desktop is great! But, these tips also apply to your mobile devices, including cell phones, tablets, and laptops.
- Always password protect or set a biometric lock on your devices, where applicable. A password or passphrase is stronger and more secure than a pin number.
- Use a VPN when connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots. YES! Most well known and secure VPNs have apps for your phones and tablets. Download, log in, and protect yourself!
- If you get an odd request through email from someone you know, call that person to verify the request before clicking on any links or responding.
- Hackers like to ‘pose’ as someone important, such as your CEO, Superintendent, or a co-worker or spouse.
- Look at the ‘from’ address. Often hackers will use generated email addresses they send from.
- Check for spelling/grammar mistakes.
- Let me repeat this: If you are unsure, were not expecting an email from the sender – call that person to verify before clicking on anything!
Additional Safety Tips
- Lock your device(s) when they are unattended. Even if it’s for only 5 minutes. Sometimes that’s all someone needs to sit down at your unlocked computer and access confidential information.
- If anyone asks for personal information over the phone, do not give it to them, unless you trust and know that person.
Stay Tuned For More!