TIPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM GROWING CYBER THREATS
Since March 2020, many of us have significantly increased our time spent on digital devices. Online shopping, downloading new apps to remain connected to work and school, and completing tasks virtually instead of in-person. We’re that person streaming Netflix on the TV, scrolling on our phone, with a laptop on the coffee table in front of us.
We’re not just connected to the Internet. We are CONNECTED to the Internet.
At the same time, cybercriminals have been busy creating and looking for opportunities to steal from us, scam us, or swipe our personal information to do more bad stuff. And they’re getting smarter and more devious all the time.
And because the criminals are stepping up their game, we need to step up ours.
In recognition of Cyber Security Awareness Month, now in its 17th year, here are some tips to stay safe and secure online:
Take a moment and think about all the online accounts you have. It’s a lot, right? Your passwords are your keys to your castle, so to speak. Lapses in password hygiene – like recycling passwords, not changing passwords regularly, or using that super simple password for that one site – can have serious consequences. One data breach can send your personal info zinging across the dark web and sold within minutes.
Make your passwords do their job to protect you!
Don’t re-use passwords on multiple sites and apps. If you find it difficult to remember multiple passwords, use a password application.
Use passphrases. Password strength is based on length and complexity. While G^H89Nv4!edq$3126 may be a complex password, it’s hard to remember. But I don’t like pineapple on my pizza! is as hard to crack and easier to remember (and type). The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security recommends you use passphrases – learn more.
Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) for added security. MFA is an extra layer of security used to make sure people trying to access an online account are who they say they are. This can be done in different ways – like answering a security question after you login (like Enhanced Security on Online Banking, providing a code that is texted to your phone, or using biometric data like a thumbprint or facial recognition. Check out this video about the basics of MFA and make sure you enable the function when it’s available to you.
Celebrate Cyber Security Month by spreading the word to family and friends about the importance of being safe and secure online. And make some time in your schedule to take action, whether it’s updating passwords with new passphrases, enabling MFA, or ensuring the software on all of your devices is up to date. Our digital connectedness is getting more complex, and so are cyber threats. Stay on top of your digital safety and protect yourself out there on the Internet.