And how to protect your personal privacy online.
Cybersecurity matters for everyone. You may think this is a big fancy term only for techy people, but it impacts all of our daily lives. Unless you are living off the grid and never connected to any technology, which is unlikely in today’s age, computer security is a topic that matters for you.
You have surely heard stories of data breaches and theft. Information is power, so people who steal your personal information can use it against you -- to commit fraud, identity theft, and make your life miserable with the mess this leaves behind. This can happen in both personal and business life.
Here are some steps to help you stay informed and protect yourself and your data.
Passwords: use complex and unique passwords (vary special characters, capital letters, etc.). Don’t use the same password for multiple sites, and don’t share your passwords with others.
Log out: this may seem very obvious, but people forget about logging out of public computers all the time, and this leaves you vulnerable to a security breach.
WIFI at home: make sure your home network has a password, and ideally make sure it’s not broadcasting to the world that it exists. To turn off network broadcasting, check out these steps.
WIFI in public: Turn OFF the setting “yes, connect automatically” for the WIFI networks that your laptop or device recognizes. Otherwise, you are broadcasting the names of the networks your computer knows, and attackers could use this to trick you into accessing an unsecure network.
Web surfing: type carefully and make sure you’re on the right website before entering a password. Domain squatters and phishing scammers may create a website that looks similar, allowing them to capture your personal data. Check the site name and look for the encryption lock at the top of your browser.
Banking & sensitive information: do your private business on your private home network. Avoid transmitting sensitive data over public WIFI in coffee shops, airports, etc. Attackers can intercept this data much easier than on a secure connection.
Antivirus: make sure your software is actively seeking out and eliminating viruses, and make sure to accept updates to your operating system and antivirus. Here are some tips for finding a good antivirus software.
We realize that nothing in life is a sure thing. You cannot always guarantee your online privacy and the security of your data, but you CAN take some steps to reduce the risk of data theft and identity theft.
For more on this, send us a note. We’d be happy to chat!
For more on personal Information Security and Cybersecurity, take a look at David and Cliff's episode #2 of Conversations with Cliff.
Katy Munden Penner is a Writer and Content Strategist for StandardUser Cyber Security, and a Social Entrepreneur connecting people with great causes.