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National Cybersecurity Awareness Month: 7 Security Tips to Remember

Cybersecurity Awareness Month is a great opportunity to be reminded of the real dangers that exist online. It is also a great time to raise awareness of preventative steps that can limit your chances of being taken advantage of online. Here are some top security tips to remember.

Be Smart with Passwords

Passwords are used on every site that holds information that is personal to you or your business. These passwords keep your information safe, however, issues can arise if you use the same password, or a simple variation of it, for every application you use.

If a duplicate password is being used on less critical sites that are more often hacked, such as a social media or online shopping account, hackers may be able to use the obtained password to get into a more critical application such as a bank account. 

A good rule of thumb for creating passwords is to use different passwords for different applications to avoid being hacked.

Be Careful on Social Media

Personal data is easily obtained through social media. When posting on a social media account, you often supply many pieces of personal information without a second thought: where you live, your birthday, your place of work, etc. However, allowing everyone access to this information can compromise your account in the process. 

These pieces of information are often also the security questions used to retrieve a forgotten password or as a form of multi-step verification. In order to protect your personal information and your social media accounts, keep a private account and allow only people that you know and trust to follow and interact with your account.

Be Deliberate About App Privilege Requests

Apps can be dangerous because hackers can access so many personal details through them, but only if you give the apps permission to track those personal details.

Remember to be careful while allowing an app to trace your location, have access to your camera, or remember passwords. In most cases, it is better for access to be given with the “just once” option, rather than the “always” option. 

Be Proactive with Antivirus Software

A lot of people are guilty of letting software become outdated. Antivirus software is what stops viruses, like malware, from getting onto your system. You need to ensure that you have the newest version of the software installed. This is critical, because as new viruses continue to be created and grow smarter, your outdated software won’t be able to keep up and keep your systems protected.

Use Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication was a game changer when it was first released, as it stopped a lot of accounts from getting broken into. This is where you have to provide a standard password as well as an additional piece of information such as a phone number, keypress, or other form of verification.

A lot of companies will now text you a separate code to input before allowing access. This helps because if someone gets your password, they won’t be able to get that second form of authentication to gain access to your account, and you’ll be warned.

If possible, set up a form of multi-factor authentication on all of your accounts.

Watching for Phishing Emails

Phishing emails are one of the most common forms of breach. They are designed to trick you into entering sensitive information which hackers can then use to log into your account or obtain your personal information. 

Be careful what you click on and what kinds of details you enter when reaching a new or strange website. If you’re unsure if an email is phishing, always check the URL of the website it’s attempting to take you to and you’ll usually be able to tell if it is credible or not.

Be Up-to-Date on Software

Keep your software up to date to ensure that your device is protected. If your software isn’t updated, you are more vulnerable as new threats emerge. When you see prompts for updating your software, don’t ignore them. It’ll make your software better and keep you safe. 

Enlist Professional Cybersecurity Services

If you are storing highly important or confidential information, such as financial information, customer information, etc., IT companies that offer cybersecurity services can help to provide an additional layer of protection to your information. 

These IT companies are experts at enacting preventative measures to keep information safe and will alert you if any attempts are made to obtain your information.