Cyber Health Check-Up: Follow Safe Online Practices

woman on computer

As our digital world expands and increases, the threat of a cyberattack also grows. While a major cyberattack is unlikely to be targeted towards individual citizens, there is a possibility that you may be indirectly affected. The best way to prepare, according to experts, is to follow safe online practices or good “cyber hygiene.”

When available, make use of multifactor authentication, especially for financial services, but also for email and social media. Multifactor authentication makes use of a secondary round of ID checks like Face ID, fingerprint, or a security code sent to your phone.

As we share in our Overview of Password Strength & Safety article, multifactor authentication makes it harder to hack into an account or system. Multifactor authentication is a combination of two or more independent categories of identifying factors:

  1. KNOWLEDGE FACTOR: This factor is about what you know. Examples of knowledge factor authentication include passwords, security questions, or PIN numbers.
  2. POSSESSION FACTOR: This factor is about what you have. Possession factors are all about something you physically have, like a one-time pin texted to a mobile device, embedded chip within a smart card, or a hard token.
  3. INHERENCE FACTOR: The third factor is what you are. Biometric verification with scans of fingerprints, retina, facial recognition or voice authentication.

In addition to multifactor authentication, make sure you accept valid operating system updates. Keep your software up to date, including your antivirus and antimalware programs. Do this for all your devices, not just a desktop or laptop computer. You should also backup your files occasionally, so if something does happen to your computer or device, your information won’t be lost.

Use strong, unique passwords, and don’t reuse them on multiple sites. If one password gets exposed in a data breach, you don’t want all your accounts to be vulnerable!

Related: Overview of Password Strength & Safety

Think before you click on any link or attachment, either in your email or while browsing. Most cyberattacks start with a phishing email which, if clicked, leads to your personal information being stolen. Phishing emails often look legitimate, so look closely. Check the sender’s email. If it looks suspicious, report it, delete it, and go through the actual website to log in to your account to see if there’s actually an issue.

Related: Fraud Schemes to Watch: Protect Against Phishing & Spoofing

Following these guidelines will help protect you in the event of a cyberattack, whether it comes from criminals abroad or closer to home. Practice good cyber hygiene—and stay safe online!

For more tips to protect you from scams, check out our overview of common schemes and how to be prepared.

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