Cybercrimes are crimes of opportunity. Working together, let’s take steps to lower the risk of fraud and theft. Here are 10 ways you can do your part to be cybersmart.
Safeguard your account(s) access – Choose a secure username (i.e., not your actual name or ADMIN) and password.
Long – Use easy to remember passphrases (or sentences) with 15 and varied characters including capitals and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters (e.g., #%&).
Difficult – Don’t use alpha/numeric or keyboard patterns such as 123456, 121212, ASDFG, or abcdef that can be easily guessed or common such as “password”, “qwerty” or “letmein”.
Avoid personal info – Don’t use your pet’s name, your birthdate, address, favorite hobby or interest that can be easily found online with a search or on your social media account(s).
Don’t share – Don’t share usernames or passwords with anyone.
No repeats – Don’t use the same password on more than one website nor reuse and repeat passwords.
Secure it – Use a well-vetted, secure password manager program or app to create and track passwords and never write them down or store them in a file named “Passwords”.
Lock it up – Password protect and lock your computer and mobile device(s)
Belt & suspenders – Choose 2-factor or multi-factor authentication (i.e., one-time code sent to your email or cell phone to verify) when creating online accounts or installing new apps and update it if you change phone numbers or emails.
Don’t get hooked – Look out for suspicious or “phishing” emails, calls, texts or links by verifying who they are “from” before opening or responding and don’t open any unrecognized links or attachments.
Beware of “free” services – Be wary of using public computers and free or unencrypted WiFi networks as these allow hackers to intercept, track or steal your online credentials, account information, and communications to later sell or install spyware or a virus.
Shut the door – Make it a habit to log out of website sessions and close your browser and log out of the session so a new logon is required.
Trust but verify – Routinely monitor your online accounts and check for unauthorized or unusual activity. If you see suspicious activity report it to your service or account provider.
Protect your identity – Sign up for credit and identity monitoring services and use monitoring alerts offered by your bank, credit card companies or credit agencies. They can help you spot potential fraud early and protect your accounts from identity theft.
Change it up – As a preventive measure, change your passwords regularly (e.g., twice yearly) and immediately if an account may have been compromised.
Protect yourself from viruses – Maintain up-to-date anti-spyware, anti-virus and firewall software to protect your device(s) because the number of computer viruses is growing faster than anti-virus patches and fixes.