The growing amount of data, devices and connections we have brings a potentially new set of online security threats. As a result, we all need to take steps to secure our digital lives. Start with these three tips to help you stay protected while connected.
Use strong, secure passwords
A strong password is one that can’t easily be guessed. In this case the longer, the better. With an 11-character password, you may need a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. When you reach a 16-character password, a mix of upper and lowercase letters may be all the complexity you need. Go a step further and create a passphrase, where allowed. For instance, a phrase such as I can eat eight tacos becomes 1c@n3at8t@c0$.
Keep thieves at bay
In addition to a strong password, two-factor authentication makes it even harder for thieves to access your account. This extra layer of security combines a username and password with a second factor only you have, such as a one-time passcode via text message; a push notification to a mobile device; or a code generator app. The second factor could also be something unique to you like a fingerprint or retinal scan.
Don’t be fooled
Thieves have turned old tricks into new email scams, called phishing. The message in your inbox looks like it’s from a friend or an organization you’re familiar with:
“Dear valued customer. We were unable to process your last payment with the information we have on file. Please use this link to log in to update your credit card and billing information to ensure your service is not interrupted.”
Criminals use official sounding messages to trick you into providing personal data like passwords, credit card numbers and login credentials. Then they commit crimes in your name. Clicking could also infect your machine with malware. So, think before you connect. If you’re unfamiliar with the sender or the request sounds odd, don’t click.
However, if the request seems legitimate, contact the sender directly by going to your bookmarked site or entering the URL directly into the search field. You can also call and speak to a company representative.
If you’re not using Wi-Fi to connect to the internet, remember, data fees may apply. Check with your service provider for additional details.
October is National Cyber Security Month. Start securing your digital life. Get more tips at StaySafeOnline.org.
The advice provided is for informational purposes only. Article provided by Local Government Federal Credit Union.