Cyber Security Part 3 – Personal Cyber Security Practices

a person typing on a computer

October is Cyber Security month, so Bold Perennial is taking the opportunity to provide our customers with information on how to protect yourself and your business from cyber attacks. Every year, thousands of companies fall prey to attacks on their network and equipment, from small businesses to large corporations. In this three-part series, we’ve so far discussed the different types of cyber threats and outlined specific cybersecurity practices for the workplace. We wrap up this week with some tips on personal cyber security.

Only access the Internet over a secure network.
Firewalls aren’t just for businesses! Hackers target individuals, too. Install a firewall on your home internet to increase your personal computer and data against cyber criminals. A firewall with a strong password should be your first line of defense.

Practice good cyber-hygiene.
Make sure operational and security software on your personal computer stays up to date. The patches provided in software updates address found vulnerabilities on your computer and can help protect you from a cyber-attack. Remember to create strong passwords for all of your online accounts. Make sure your password is eight or more characters in length and includes a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters.

Be picky about your PIN
When selecting a Personal Identification Number (PIN) for your debit card or smart device, stay away from numbers associated with anniversaries, birth dates, address numbers, or other commonly known information. Also refrain from sequential digits, such as 1234, or all of the same number, ie – 1111. Choose a random number that is meaningful enough for you to remember, but not known by others.

Limit the amount of personal information you post.
Social media can make you vulnerable. Keep important information about yourself, including your address and phone number, your workplace, your schedule, etc., off social media sites. Keep vacation plans and pictures private until you’ve returned. Be aware of what your friends and family post online as well, and make sure they don’t include private information about you.

Use privacy and security settings.
Use site settings to limit the information you share with the general public online. The less you share about yourself, the safer you are.

Be smart with your mobile devices.
Your phone or tablet should be treated with the same, if not more, vigilance as your computer. Sensitive information like bank account numbers, social security numbers, or other personal information should never be stored on a mobile device. Download apps and data from trusted applications and reputable sources or marketplaces. Finally, remember that public Wi-Fi is also unprotected Wi-Fi! Stay away from websites which require passwords or personal information for access while you are using a public Wi-Fi connection.

Lock your smart devices
The screen lock is the first line of defense for your phone or tablet. Many mobile phones also have additional security options to erase your device data should it be lost or stolen.

Be suspicious of unknown links or requests sent through email or text message.
Phishing happens on mobile devices, too. Delete texts from people you do not recognize and don’t click on links or give out information to requests sent to your mobile device, regardless of who sent them.

A few personal cyber security practices will go a long way to protect you from hackers and criminals!