We have all recently heard about an Instagram or Facebook account being hacked. Maybe you have experienced a situation where a family member or friend accidentally gave access to a bank account to a scammer. Cyber security has become a necessary part of life. Cyber security is protection of computer devices from information disclosure, theft of or damage. This includes your online financial accounts, social media and any information accessible online. There are simple steps and a checklist you can use to safeguard your information and save yourself time, energy and frustration. This requires organization and maintenance for you to stay safe.
Setting up devices with security.
Set up is the first step to secure your information. Know that all devices have these settings.
- Set up privacy settings on your devices as soon as you purchase. Look in the settings-> mail -> privacy protection.
- Set up two factor verification. This is where you get a text or a phone call with a code before a log in can happen for any account.
- Be sure to have virus protection on your computer. Antivirus software prevents access to your information on your computer.
- Update devices regularly. These updates include fixes and patches for security.
Passwords are the gateway to all information for us. This is especially difficult for us because these extra steps seem to be a barrier rather than protection.
- Use passwords with a trusted tool such as Last Pass. No one needs to remember all their secure passwords and a password manager keeps your information safe.
- Use unique passwords for every account. It is easy for all your accounts to be comprised with similar or same passwords.
- Turn off Password Save for your computer and online access. You easily access your password manager instead.
- Share your passwords only with those you trust. If you are helping a senior member of your family or community, encourage them to use a password manager for this reason.
Recognize scams and fraud early.
We are seeing more and more online scams and fraud. These are not always easy to spot so having a healthy dose of skepticism is necessary.
- Be aware and suspicious of interactions of any sort with unknown inquiries. That includes whether a bill has been paid or a purchase has been made. These inquiries can occur through email or phone.
- Know that social media captures information about you. From the movie, The Social Dilemma, we know that social media uses information we share. Be alert to this while sharing your personal information online.
- Be wary of emails from unknown sources. Never under any circumstances click on unfamiliar, unrequested links.
Being organized about your cyber security can help prevent long lasting issues with finances and personal security. It takes time, just like other tasks, but the pay back is well worth the investment.