Think Before You Click: Protect Your Security with These Four Simple Steps

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Think Before You Click: Protect Your Security with These Four Simple Steps

Almost everything about our day involves sophisticated technology: from the alarm clock we snooze in the morning, to the remote we use to start a Netflix binge in the evening. We’ve started to use “smart” technology, like NEST thermostats and the Alexa from Amazon. But just as the amount of technology we use increases, so does the amount of information we’re providing to outside parties.

Cybersecurity is no longer a concept that’s limited to sci-fi movies: it’s more real than ever. Each and every one of us faces threats to our security, our data, and our personal details on a daily basis. Outsmarting the hackers and their growing technology is difficult, but very manageable if you take the right steps to protect yourself.

1. Email Phishing: Think before you click!

Phishing occurs when a cyber criminal sends fake emails requesting for your personal information. Protect yourself by avoiding unsolicited attachments as they may contain viruses. Never respond to an email requesting private information – your password, PIN, Social Security Number, credit card number, bank account information, etc. Sensitive information should never be sent over email, if so, encrypt it before sending it. Check the sender’s email address. If it doesn’t match the business or individual, it is probably not legitimate.

2. Lock Your Computer Screen and Other Devices.

Always lock your computer and unattended devices with a strong password or PIN. This prevents others from viewing or using your device when you’re not around. Set up your computer and mobile devices to lock, log out, or go to a screensaver after a short period of inactivity.

3. Encrypt Computers and Devices.

Fully encrypt your computer and devices to protect business and personal information at rest. If someone gains physical access to your computer, mobile device, or media they can easily steal sensitive data which opens the door for identity theft and other types of cybercrime.

4. USB Flash Drives, Removable Storage, Etc.

Don’t take the bait! Malicious software and viruses can be installed to steal data or damage your computer. Particularly those found in common areas are dangerous and should be treated as such. Found or unclaimed media should not be put into your computer.

It can take months or even years to recover from a cyber security attack. If your personal information is stolen, you’re at risk for identity theft, which may impact you for your entire life. Cybersecurity is similar to a soccer match - except the stakes are high, and you’re outnumbered by thousands of hackers. Take the time to set up an offense - rather than relying on the defense once you’re attacked.

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