Modern life is inextricably tied to the Internet, with most people owning multiple devices that connect to it: computers, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches and gaming consoles among them. Yet with an increase in connected accounts and devices comes increased opportunities for cybercriminals to steal, compromise and destroy data – so to help avoid becoming one of their victims here are a few basic do’s and don’ts for cyber safety.
DO NOT click on suspicious links or attachments sent through emails, texts or social media posts from unknown senders – these could contain malware designed to infiltrate your device with viruses, ransomware and other threats. Remind staff members about being wary when opening suspicious files or visiting unfamiliar websites and links.
Always update software, apps and hardware as quickly as possible – this may include security upgrades that protect against vulnerabilities.
DO NOT store sensitive information on public computers, particularly at work. Cybercriminals have an eye out for this and can use it to infiltrate your work computer with malware that can spread via email, the internet and shared drives.
DO create a secure folder on your laptop or desktop to store confidential documents and financial data. Secure this folder with a strong password to safeguard this sensitive information from being exposed, and never store this info on external storage devices that have not been approved for use by your agency; these external drives could contain malware which spreads quickly when connected.
Do not use the same password across all of your online accounts. Hackers can quickly gain entry to these, then gain entry to others with ease. Choose long passwords with upper and lowercase letters, special characters and numbers – as well as two-factor authentication where available – as these will protect yourself and keep hackers at bay.
Do not respond to phone or email requests for confidential information, no matter how legitimate they seem. Criminals use this tactic to steal personal and business data – such as credit card details – from victims. Instead, reach out to your agency’s IT support team for guidance and help.
DO utilize antivirus software with multilayered security to block infected emails, websites and downloads as well as detect malicious files already present on your computer. DON’T depend solely on passwords for account protection – criminals have proven adept at guessing or stealing passwords through phishing attacks, ransomware attacks and data breaches; utilize two-factor authentication when available!
DO NOT share your passwords with anyone, including family and friends. Sharing could expose your accounts to hacking attempts and increase the risk of identity theft.
Backup all your important files regularly to protect them against hardware malfunction or ransomware attack. Use either online storage, external hard drives or both – be sure to test regularly so that you know that all critical information is secure!