October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month and with many of us continuing to utilize and/or expand our digital footprint from day to day, we want to raise awareness about the importance of being safe and secure online with some tips and resources.
Let’s start with your home. We are sure many of us leverage the convenience of the various smart home devices available to us. From TVs to speakers, to thermostats, security cameras, you name it, we can pretty much control almost everything with simply a click of a button from our smartphone. Yet, that also means that we have more devices functioning off the internet than ever, so to ensure you’re staying safe, here are some tips when setting up your home.
- Secure your Wi-Fi. If you didn’t change the username and/or password when you set up your home internet, now is a good time to do so. This will minimize the possibility of others accessing your network and gaining access to your information.
- Restrict access. You can control which devices can log into your network and you could even create a guest account for visitors.
- Update your systems. If it’s been a while since you’ve upgraded your router, now may also be a good time to check it out. Ask your internet provider if the one you currently have in place is up to date and offers you the most security. Outdated and/or inefficient systems can make you an easy target.
With over 4 billion people on social media platforms throughout the world, we would be amiss if we didn’t address the importance of staying “cyber smart” when it comes to your social media habits. Here are some tips to keep top of mind.
- Limit what information you share. We know this might be easier said than done but manage the information that you share online to the best of your ability. For example, if you are traveling, perhaps don’t share that you’re traveling until after you’ve returned. This will still give you the opportunity to share your trip with others, while also keeping you safe while you’re away from your home.
- Review your privacy settings. Reviewing your privacy settings for social media platforms as well as other mobile applications will allow you to pick and choose the type of information you share and is shared with you, while also limiting the information accessible to those connected and those who aren’t connected via your social network.
- Manage location settings: Sharing our location via our mobile devices has become somewhat of a norm, especially with it being necessary for car riders, navigation, retailers, and restaurants. Yet, if you’re in a position where you don’t want anyone getting access to where you are (or aren’t) at any given time, disabling location services, or at least minimizing to only when you allow it, is a great way to stay protected and in control of that information being accessible.
Here are some additional tips that you can put into practice to ensure you are protecting your online presence.
- If you haven’t already, consider updating your passwords (while selecting different passwords for different systems). Remember, you want to avoid names, phrases, and anything else that might be “easy” for cyber thieves to guess.
- Activate multi-factor authentication with your providers. This is another way that you can ensure no one is accessing your accounts without your authorization. Two-factor authentication will verify who is trying to access your account by sending a one-time code/password. This is available with most providers such as financial institutions, streaming services, and alarm systems to name a few. One thing to keep in mind is that this one-time code/password will never be requested by anyone as it is intended to be private and will go only to the phone/email provided when initially set up, so don’t share it with others.
- Try to only use secure sites. When browsing the internet, ensure you are only sharing personal information on secure sites (e.g., https://). Sites that don’t have the “s” means they have invalid certificates – in other words… they are not secure and can’t be verified. Many browsers also feature a lock symbol in the URL address line, so you know the site or connection is secure.
To learn about additional ways to safely and securely manage your digital engagement, we encourage you to visit our Partners Fraud Center. Here you will find additional tips and tricks to enhance your online security, ways to safely access your account information, and more!