31 Spooky Days of Cybersecurity

1October is Cybersecurity Month, and to celebrate, Heart posted a tip of the day to our Facebook page. We’ve decided to compile all those helpful tidbits into one post, so you can easily find and use these suggestions.

Heart’s 31 Spooky Days of Cybersecurity 2016

  1. You are an attractive target to hackers. Those who believe “It will never happen to me” are the ones most likely to face the most damage WHEN (not if) a cyberattack occurs.
  2. Create strong passwords, and store these passwords out of reach of others. Never reuse a password.
  3. NEVER leave devices open and unattended. Private data can be transferred to a flash drive in the time it takes to get a drink of water or take a bathroom break. Lock devices often and with secure passwords.
  4. Use caution when clicking on attachments or links in email. If it is unexpected or suspicious for any reason, do not click on it. Extreme misspellings in URLS can be indicators of foul play.
  5. When dealing with sensitive information online, like banking or shopping, only use devices you own and networks you trust. Opting to use a private browsing window can also be a good idea.
  6. Backup your data regularly and make sure your antivirus software is always up to date.
  7. Malware can be spread through infected flash drives, external hard drives, and even smartphones. Be conscientious of what you plug in to your computer.
  8. Share smart on social networks. Criminals can easily gain access to tons of your personal information—where you go to school, where you work, when you are on vacation—that could help them and hurt you.
  9. If someone calls or emails you asking for sensitive information, it is okay to say no, especially in cases when correspondence is unexpected. You can always call the company directly to verify credentials before giving out any information.
  10. Actively monitor your accounts for any suspicious activity. If you see something unfamiliar, it could be a sign that you have been hacked.
  11. Your Social Security number is the key to most of your financial information; making it a prime target for cybercriminals. Avoid using it online whenever you can.
  12. Use discretion when downloading apps, especially when downloading from 3rd party markets. Always check the permissions the app is asking for and the developer’s name, ratings and reviews.
  13. Using an unsecured (or Public) WiFi is like mailing your sensitive data in a clear envelope so anyone can see its contents. By doing so, your information is more likely to be compromised.
  14. Make sure your phone’s software up to date. Operating system updates often include patches to known security vulnerabilities and bug fixes.
  15. Humans create most of the problems in information security–whether it is an employee accidentally and unknowingly downloading malware or a bug created by a programmer.
  16. Stay safe when traveling or working remotely. A private browser minimizes the risk of hackers gaining information that later can be used to carry out a phishing attack.
  17. Think before you post. This should be a no-brainer, yet many disregard it. The Internet simply does not forget – a post does not get permanently deleted and will be searchable for years to come. Think twice about what you write online.
  18. Enable two-factor authentication, which provides an additional layer of security against account hacking. Use this feature wherever available.
  19. Always question the legitimacy of emails and social networking messages that ask for money or personal information. Legitimate business will not contact you to verify your account.
  20. Use privacy settings to ensure your personal information isn’t public knowledge on social media. Public profiles put you at risk by exposing information, such as your full birth date, hometown, employment history, etc., that a criminal could use to pose as you.
  21. Avoid opening unknown attachments, and clicking on unknown links. If you were not expecting an attachment or link from someone, ask the sender if they meant to send it to you before taking action!
  22. Download with caution. Be wary that you might pay the price when you download or purchase applications or other files online. Some may come with a virus attached that steals your personal information.
  23. Activate PIN access to your phone. Also, consider password protecting your email as well as any applications, such as banking or social networking, that provide access to sensitive information.
  24. You may receive a counterfeit text message that appears to be from a legitimate bank or credit card company asking you verify your account information. BE WARY OF THESE MESSAGES. Once you supply your information, it will be in the hands of criminals. If you are unsure, simply call your provider using the phone number on their website for more information.
  25. Talk to your children about Internet safety. Find out what they are doing online, including who they are talking to and what websites they are visiting.
  26. Inform children of online risks. Discuss appropriate Internet behavior. Talk about the dangers and risks of the Internet so that they are able to recognize suspicious activity and secure their personal information.
  27. Never share your passwords with anyone, including help desk staff. You are responsible for anything performed under your username and password combination.
  28. Make your software updates automatic, so they auto-connect and update to defend against known risks.
  29. Along with computers, smart phones, gaming systems, and other web-enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware. Look up ransomware for all of your devices, and install it as soon as you purchase the device.
  30. USB drives and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them when you perform your routine virus checks.
  31. What you do online has the potential to affect everyone – at home, at work and around the world. Practicing good online habits benefits the global digital community. Information security is everybody’s responsibility!

We hope everyone enjoyed a happy, safe Halloween! Remember to keep these tips in mind!