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10 Cybersecurity Tips Everyone Should Know

10 Cybersecurity Tips Everyone Should Know

As we navigate our increasingly connected world, practicing online safety and establishing good data hygiene habits are imperative to protecting ourselves from the threat of cyberattacks.
November 17, 2021

10 Cybersecurity Tips Everyone Should Know

10 Cybersecurity Tips Everyone Should Know

As we navigate our increasingly connected world, practicing online safety and establishing good data hygiene habits are imperative to protecting ourselves from the threat of cyberattacks.
November 17, 2021

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Relaxed attitudes toward social media could be leaving the door open for cybercriminals. While posting about recent purchases, upcoming vacations and ‘checking in’ at your current location may all seem harmless, these activities make it much easier for cybercriminals to put together a picture of you and possibly steal your identity. Further, having few or even default privacy settings in place isn’t enough and effectively means you are handing your personal information to cybercriminals on a platter.

Fortunately, there are measures that can be taken to keep you and your information safe. Follow these 10 tips to establish a more secure online presence and protect your data from bad actors.

1. Clean up your digital past. Sift through your old and neglected social media accounts. If you are not using them, delete your account. Next, take some time to audit your active accounts. Delete any tags, photos, comments, and posts that reveal personal information so they don’t come back to haunt your personal or professional life.

2. Lock down privacy and security settings. Leaving your social media profiles on the ‘public’ setting means anyone who has access to the internet can view your posts and photos, whether you want them to or not. While you should treat anything you post online as public, turning your profiles to the ‘private’ setting gives you more control over who can see your content and what you can be tagged in.

3. Never reuse passwords. Use unique passwords with a combination of lower- and upper-case letters, numbers, and symbols for each one of your accounts. If managing so many different passwords seems like a daunting task, consider using security software that includes a password manager.

4. Build a strong password. Never include personal information in a password because it can give hackers a clue to guess your password and gain access to your accounts. Combine different, unrelated words and use a combination of at least 12 letters, numbers, and symbols. 

5. Avoid sharing VERY personal information online. The ever-growing body of information you share online can be used by cybercriminals to steal your identity. The more you share, the greater the risk. Avoid using your full name, date of birth, current employer, names of your family members, home address or even the names of your pets online–you could be playing straight into the hands of identity thieves and hackers.

6. Think before you post. Think twice about each post you make. Ask yourself: will it have a negative impact on me or someone I know now or possibly in the future? Does it give away personal information that someone could use against me? Taking a moment to think through potential consequences BEFORE you post is the best way to avoid regret in the future.

7. Employ extra protection across all your devices. Threats such as viruses, identity theft, privacy breaches, and malware can all reach you through your social media. Install comprehensive security software to protect you from these nasties.

8. Don’t fall victim to a phishing scam. Phishing is the vector cybercriminals most frequently use to steal credentials, payment information, and other sensitive data from unsuspecting targets. In fact, security researchers estimate that nearly 3 billion phishing emails are sent worldwide every day–and attackers are becoming more sophisticated to get past filtering tools. 

Email phishing is one of the most well-known types of cyberattack. Malicious actors send emails to users impersonating a known brand, leverage social engineering tactics to create a heightened sense of immediacy, then lead people to click on a link or download an asset. The links traditionally go to malicious websites that either steal credentials or install malicious code, known as malware, on a user’s device. Don’t click on any links from senders you do not recognize. 

9. Use Public Wi-Fi safely. Always assume a Public Wi-Fi network isn’t secure. When using public Wi-Fi, don’t access your personal or financial information and don’t stay permanently signed into accounts. To control when and how you use Public Wi-Fi, change your device’s settings so it doesn’t automatically connect to open networks nearby.

10. Back up your data. Just like the spare tire in the trunk of your car or the extra pair of sunglasses in your bag, having access to backup data can save you from an uncomfortable situation, both at work and at home. As a baseline, you should back up anything that cannot be replaced if it is lost. This may include photos, important files, messages, music, and more. Back up your data regularly using both external and internal sources like flash drives and using cloud storage for added protection. 

Your privacy and personal information are important and must be protected. When it comes to your finances, bank with a partner who takes data protection seriously. At Wintrust, we're committed to sharing information and best practices to keep our customers safe from phishing attempts and scams of all kinds, both inside and outside of our banks. 

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