Top 10 Security Tips

  1. You are a target to hackers.
    1. Don’t believe that it will never happen to you because it can. Use the tips below to give yourself an advantage when dealing with hackers trying to gain access to your personal data.

  2. Use two-factor or multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all personal accounts or services that support this technology.
    1. Multifactor-authentication or MFA provides the strongest protection against hackers gaining access to your accounts if they happen to get you password.  If you receive an alert from your MFA app that you were not expecting, DO NOT ACCEPT the request. 
    2. Hackers may be attempting to gain access to your account with compromised credentials and if you approve the MFA request, they have complete access to your account.  They may be very persistent in trying to gain access, do not allow them in just to silence the alerts.

  3. Ensure that your computer has the latest version of the operating system and keep your software up to date by turning on automatic updates.
    1. Installing software updates is critical to keep your computer safe.  

  4. Ensure that you are using antivirus protection, with regular updates.
    1. Install programs from a trusted source and keep the definitions up to date. 
    2. Enable automatic definition updates. 

  5. Enable local firewall software on all computers.
    1. Local firewalls provide an additional layer of protection from hackers trying to exploit open ports.

  6. Do not reuse passwords across accounts. Create a unique strong password for each account.
    1. Once a hacker has access to your username and password, they will try all of the larger banks and online merchants to see if the credentials will gain them access to additional sites.  Use a password manager to automatically create and manage strong passwords for each online account you have.

  7. Back up your important files on a regular basis using a secure, cloud-based file storage product.
    1. Current backups may be the only protection you have in the event that you experience a ransomware attack, and your hard drive is encrypted.  Where possible create local non-attached backups as well as online cloud backups of your computer weekly or at least monthly to ensure that you will not lose all of your personal data.

  8. Secure computing devices and log off or shut down computers when they are not in use.
    1. Computers that are locked or shutdown provide security from hackers or curious individuals trying to gain access to an open system. 
    2. Never leave devices unattended.

  9. Beware of suspicious emails and phone calls because they could be phishing scams and/or contain malware.
    1. Phishing scams are a constant threat, using various social engineering tactics the hackers will try to trick you into clicking malicious links or divulging personal information that can be used to compromise your accounts.

  10. Do not use public Wi-Fi unless you have implemented a VPN connection that utilizes MFA.
    1. Hackers will spoof Wi-Fi hotspots from popular public wireless areas hoping that an individual will not notice that they are not connected to the business Wi-Fi.  They will collect all information transmitted by you and then used later to gain access to your accounts.  Using a VPN will encrypt your traffic making it impossible for the hackers to gain access to your credentials.