When people think of the term “cybersecurity,” many think of lines of code flowing across a screen and ambiguous firewalls no one ever sees to keep hackers in the dark hoodies at bay. In reality, almost everyone practices cybersecurity in one way or another every day.
If you have a mobile phone that uses a passcode, face ID, or a fingerprint to access, you are practicing cybersecurity. If you use a username and password to log into anything, you are practicing cybersecurity. Being cyber secure is not difficult, but it does take constant awareness and vigilance.
Here are five simple things you can do every day to be more cyber secure:
- Never share your usernames and passwords with anyone. Usernames and passwords are meant to be unique to you and you alone. If there is ever a reason for someone else to log into an account, there will be a way to set up their own username and password instead of using yours.
- Never use the same password twice. Data breaches, where personal information such as passwords are stolen, are becoming more and more common. If you use different passwords for each site you log into, you limit your risk.
- Be aware of the personal information you post on social media. Things like “get to know you” surveys on social media are quite popular and can be fun to get to know your friends better. Many of these surveys ask questions such as where you went to school, where your favorite vacation spot is, and where you were born. These are also questions commonly used as security questions on websites to help you retrieve a forgotten password. Scammers and hackers use this information to gain access to bank accounts, social media accounts, and more.
- Avoid open and unsecured WiFi networks. We have all been there, we are out, and we need to look something up on our phone, only to find you have no signal. When this happens, it is very tempting to go to your WiFi settings and look for an open network to use. This can be very harmful from a cybersecurity standpoint. None of the data you send is encrypted on available, unsecured networks such as free WiFi at airports. This means that if you log into something like your bank account while on these networks, that information could potentially be read by other people.
- Always utilize the lock feature on your mobile phone. Every modern mobile phone allows you to lock the device, whether a passcode, Face ID, or fingerprint. Mobile phones contain more personal information than any other device, so all that information will be compromised if stolen. Also, always remember to lock your phone if you need to set it down anywhere.
By following these five cybersecurity steps, you are protecting yourself and your personal information.