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Improve Your Personal Cyber Security with These 5 Steps

What have you done lately to improve your personal cyber security? Here is a list of steps you can take to get started on your personal cyber security upgrade:

  • Keep software up to date. Install software patches so that attackers cannot take advantage of known problems or vulnerabilities. Many operating systems offer automatic updates. If automatic updates are available, you should enable them. Updates should include PCs, notebooks, phones, and even smart devices at home. (See Why Security Updates are Essential)
  • Use a Password Manager. It is important to have unique passwords on each website you use. That way a security problem with one website does not affect all the others. Also, your passwords should be hard to guess – with upper- and lower-case letters, symbols, and numbers, and at least 12 characters. Let’s face it – no one can remember complex, long passwords at every website that they use. So it’s best to use Password Manager software to make generating and remembering passwords easy..
  • Turn on multi-factor authentication (MFA). Sometimes called “two-factor” or “two-step” authentication, this involves requiring an access code in addition to your password to confirm your identity. Even if an attacker knows your username and password, requiring a second factor minimizes the risk that an unauthorized person could gain access to your account. (See A Must-Have for Protecting Yourself Online)
  • Install a firewall. Firewalls may be able to prevent some types of attack vectors by blocking malicious traffic before it can enter a computer system, and by restricting unnecessary outbound communications. Some device operating systems include a firewall. Sometimes your Internet Service Provider has a firewall capability in place. Find out which applies to you and enable firewall settings as specified in your device or system owner’s manual.
  • Be suspicious of unexpected emails and text messages. Fraudsters love to use emails, text messages, and even phone calls to trick you into giving them your private information. This is often called “phishing” and it is one of the most serious risks to the average user. Be suspicious of unexpected emails - especially if they play on your emotions or try to push you into immediate action like clicking a link or entering a password. Learn more about avoiding phishing scams.

Want to learn more? Visit our Security Center for more information about protecting yourself against cyber and fraud threats.