And as we pause to think about ways we can better protect ourselves online, we’re sharing more tips below from STOP.THINK.CONNECT and StaySafeOnline.org, reminding you how to protect your data, your machines, and your community, this month and all year long:
Keep a Clean Machine
- Keep security software current: Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
- Automate software updates: Many software programs will automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates if that’s an available option.
- Protect all devices that connect to the Internet: Along with computers, your smartphones, gaming systems and other web-enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware.
- Plug & scan: USBs and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them.
Protect Your Personal Information
- Secure your accounts: Ask for protection beyond passwords. Many account providers now offer additional ways for you verify who you are before you conduct business on that site.
- Make passwords long and strong: Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password. (Hint: Use the LastPass password generator.)
- Unique account, unique password: Having separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals. (Hint: LastPass will remember each unique password for you.)
- Write it down and keep it safe: Everyone can forget a password. Keep a list that’s stored in a safe, secure place away from your computer. (Hint: LastPass helps you securely manage your passwords & other important records.)
- Own your online presence: Set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s ok to limit how and with whom you share information.
Connect with Care
- When in doubt, throw it out: Links in email, tweets, posts and online advertising are often the ways cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or, if appropriate, mark as junk email.
- Get savvy about WiFi hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine.
- Protect your $: When banking and shopping, check to be sure the site is security-enabled. Look for web addresses with “HTTPS://,” which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. “HTTP://” is not secure.
Be Web Wise
- Stay current. Keep pace with new ways to stay safe online. Check trusted websites for the latest information, share with friends, family and colleagues and encourage them to be web wise.
- Think before you act: Be wary of communications that implore you to act immediately, offer something that sounds too good to be true or ask for personal information.
- Back it up: Protect your valuable work, music, photos, and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.
Be a Good Online Citizen
- Safer for me, more secure for all: What you do online has the potential to affect everyone – at home, at work and around the world. Practicing good online habits benefits the global digital community.
Find a downloadable version of the above tips and more great resources at StaySafeOnilne.org.