Cyber Security Tips

Safe computing practices include a combination of physically and technically protecting your computing devices with software and by your actions. You need both. With cyber security, there is no substitute for user awareness and behavior. Cyber security begins with you.

  1. Software Updates: Many software applications including security software and browsers when configured automatically connect and update. Configure your computer for automatic software and operating system updates.  Check that anti-virus software is always up to date.  An unpatched computer, tablet or mobile device is more likely to have vulnerabilities.
  2. Password Management: Practice good password management. Use strong passwords by combining uppercase and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a strong, secure password. Do not use the same password for multiple sites. Do not share your password. Do not write it down. Use a password manager software such as SplashID, 1Password or LastPass.
  3. Device Access: Never leave your devices unattended, especially in public places. If you need to leave your computer, phone, or tablet lock it while you’re gone. If you keep sensitive information on a flash drive or external hard drive, lock it up.  Physical security of your device is just as important as technical security.
  4. Firewalls: Macintosh and Windows computers have operating system firewalls. When set up properly, these firewalls protect your computer.
  5. Trust: Always be careful when clicking on attachments or links in email or web sites. Ignore unsolicited emails, and be wary of attachments, links and forms in emails that come from sources you do not trust, you do not know or seem "phishy."  If it’s unexpected or suspicious, do not click on it.  Avoid untrustworthy downloads from freeware or shareware sites.  Be careful what you plug in to your computer. Malware can be spread through infected flash drives, external drives and smartphones.
  6. Secure Connections: When connected to the Internet use secure connections. Look at the URL to ensure you are on a HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) site. With unsecure connections your data is vulnerable in transit.  Sensitive browsing, such as banking or shopping, should only be done on a device you own and on a network that you trust.  Whether a friend’s phone, a public computer or free WiFi, your data can be stolen. 
  7. Backup:  Back up your data regularly and automatically.  Backing up your machine regularly can protect you from the unexpected. Keep several months' worth of backups and verify the files can be restored.
  8. Sharing: Watch what you are sharing on social networks. Criminals will befriend you and gain access to information that helps them gain access to more valuable data.
  9. Social Engineering: Offline, be wary of social engineering, where someone attempts to gain information from you through manipulation. If someone calls or emails you asking for sensitive information, say no. Call the company directly to verify credentials before giving out information.
  10. Monitoring: Monitor your accounts and transactions for suspicious activity. If you notice something unfamiliar, it may be a sign that you were compromised.  Many financial institutions offer activity notifications for your protection.
  11. Stay Informed: Stay current with the latest security threats and developments.  The following are additional resources.