Check Yourself

These tips might seem like small things, but they could make a big difference for your cybersecurity game.
You wouldn't save old food... so why hang on to old data? Stale data poses a needless threat and increases the risk of exposure of sensitive information. Purge your database - get rid of what you don't need!Attachment issues? Your device might have some! External storage devices are vulnerable to malware, and connecting an infected device can spread the virus. Check external devices before accessing them - don't just shrug and plug!Be careful not to get too comfortable. Avoid the "safe enough" mentality! Attacks could happen to anybody. Stay observant, reactive, and well-informed to keep yourself protected.You can't teach an old dog new tricks... nor can you expect old hardware to handle the newest software security updates. Old hardware is difficult to protect and slower to respond if attacks do happen. Try to keep as up-to-date as possible!Bid adieu to the blue! Bluetooth can be a way for hackers to access your device and steal your information. If you're not using Bluetooth, turn it off!There's no such thing as a free lunch... or free wifi. Be wary of using public wifi or computers -- it's often easy for hackers to gain access to these!Stay on the cutting edge of cybersecurity. Keep sharp by following cybersecurity news, or consulting with experts. Older systems often have more weak spots (that are easier to find, too).Don't get caught floundering! Phishing emails are sent by scammers intent on gathering your personal info. Keep an eye out for strange requests, spelling or grammar mistakes, flashy clickbait, or other triggers that may seem "off." Remember: If it seems fishy, it probably is!Lock it up! Keep your device in a safe place, and implement security settings such as auto-lock and passwords on your screen and apps. If you do misplace your device these security settings will help keep hackers out!Keep it classy(fied). Organize your data properly! If your documents are classified correctly, they can be easier to protect. You'll be able to control who does (and does not) have access to certain files, folders, and info.Love is timeless. Passwords are not. Set up accounts so that passwords need to be changed, verified, or confirmed after a certain amount of time. This will help protect active accounts, as well as identify inactive ones.Social media can be a TikToking timebomb! Be careful what you post on social media! Criminals can learn a lot of information by what you post, from your location to your possible passwords.Doubt the debit. When online shopping, opt for payment methods that aren't directly tied to your bank account like your debit card is. Try to use credit cards or online platforms such as PayPal.Layer up! Setting up multi-factor authentication can help add another layer of protection for your personal data by requiring more than one device to verify your identity.Be careful when hitting the links! Before clicking any links in emails from unknown senders, carefully vet the URL. Fake links are common ways for hackers to get your personal information.Passwords, like floss, should not be reused. Try using a password manager. Remember to keep your passwords as fresh as your breath!Too Much Information facilitates social engineering for hackers. Write high-level and generic out-of-office messages that give away as little information as possible.Don't hate, automate! A lot of people assume that cybersecurity is time-consuming. But actually, you can use automatic updates or use free services that make sure you have the most current versions of your apps. It's like having a little robot taking care of your data.Avoid Oversharing! Sometimes, sharing is NOT caring. Sharing too much personal info on social media, your blog, or your website can make you a target for cyber criminals. Try not to divulge too much.Check Yourself: Check your bank statements and other accounts every week for suspicious activity. The faster you see it, the easier it is to solve. Checkmate, hackers!It can happen to you! Data hacks are kind of like forgetting the name of someone you've just met: It can happen to anyone. The trick is to be vigilant about your security and maybe ask that person their name again. (We wanna say... Steve?)Be a ghost online. Don't be scared! Virtual Private Networks create a private network from a public internet connection, providing greater privacy and anonymity. It's like you're a spooky ghost haunting the internet wherever you go.Know and audit your suppliers. Your data is like your home. Don't leave it unlocked!Say no to "PUPS" - Potentially Unwanted Programs may come bundled with downloaded free apps. They can cause pop-ups, install toolbars, replace your default browser, or even pee on the carpet.Should you "pay if you ever want to see your data again"? No. Ransomware attackers are, surprisingly, not trustworthy people. Don't give them money! Back up your data consistently!It's the "S"mall things. A website starting with "HTTPS" encrypts the data you put in and get out. If it doesn't have the S, don't mess. Don't give an http address any important data.Friends without benefits: A friend in need could be a "friend" in greed. Social media friend requests could come from scammers. Check before you accept.Spot the fraud. When checking out an online profile, consider this criteria: -Limited or generic info? - A profile picture that looks like stock photography? - Very few connections? If so, you may have spotted a fraud!Clean out your closet, delete old apps! Does it bring you joy? If not, practice the life-changing magic of deleting old apps that are cyber-liabilities.Practice safe online shopping: Don't shop from a device that isn't yours. Don't save your financial information on their site. Do buy that dress, you look amazing.Passwords are like toothbrushes: Don't share them with anyone.Recycle bottles, not passwords.Passwords are like diamonds: Each one should be strong and unique.Avoid your "frenemies." Ever hear of "Stranger danger?" Be careful who tries to connect with you on social media sites like Facebook. Lots of scammers use these platforms to mine for your personal information. Only trust accounts for people that you know.Careful where you plug! Plugging something in is like shaking hands: You should make sure they're clean. Don't plug a USB into your device unless you know its source, because it could be infected with malware.Beef up your passwords. Surprisingly, "password123" isn't doing much to protect you or your data. Always use unique passwords. If you can't remember all of them, use a password manager.Use a firewall. No, this isn't a spell in Harry Potter. Using a firewall defends your data against malicious attacks by screening out hackers, viruses, and other malicious activity over the internet.Lesson #3: Train yourself about common phishing scams. The Colonial Pipeline Attacks, like most ransomware attacks, are caused by phishing.Lesson #2: Don't pay the ransom, because there's no guarantee you'll get your dat a back.Lesson #1: It's not held hostage if you also have a copy. Always, always, always back up your data regularly.