8 Simple Steps for Personal Cybersecurity in 2017


8 Simple Steps for Personal Cybersecurity in 2017

January 12, 2017

The issue of cybersecurity has become personal. In 2017, we must protect ourselves and our families from hackers, cybercriminals, predators and scammers.

Just consider it good hygiene of the Digital Age.

Now is the time to clean up your personal cybersecurity for the year ahead. The following measures are some of the simplest ways you can help protect yourself and your family from the worst parts of the Internet:

1. Get a password manager

Once you set yourself up a password manager, you’ll never want to look back. Gone will be the days of trying to remember passwords, or come up with strong ones.

A password manager creates unbreakable passwords and safely encrypts them. You only need remember one password to access all your passwords.

2. Tape over your webcam

There’s no reason not to. Concerned-about-hackers, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg does it.

If you don’t, there could be someone spying on you right now. You would never know, either.

3. Safeguard your phone number

Your cell phone number is linked to nearly everything about you. Giving it out so easily is like inviting a criminal into your home.

You should treat your phone number like it’s your social security number. The path to personal information is the same.

If a company is asking for your number, don’t give it to them unless it’s required.

4. Download Signal

Praised” by security experts and “famously endorsed” by Edward Snowden, Signal is an end-to-end encryption messaging app.

It has become the go-to app for private conversations. The app saw a massive surge in downloads in the days after the election last year.

By using Signal, you can rest assured your communications aren’t seen by anyone but you and the person you’re talking to.

5. Update your web browser

Surfing the web without an updated browser is like swimming with sharks. It’s not really a matter of if, but when, a cybercriminal will spot you – floundering on the Internet without a cage – and attack.

Web browsers often have security updates which require a browser update to take effect. To make sure you’re using the latest version, visit the homepage of the browser you’re using. It will let you know directly when you arrive to the page.

6. Download a firewall AND anti-virus software

A firewall can be described as a traffic cop directing cars at an intersection. It [enforces security][6] by blocking unauthorized or potentially dangerous material from the Internet from getting to your computer.

Anti-virus software makes sure malicious software is detected and removed from your computer.

With a little research, you can choose which firewall and anti-virus software is right for your computer. Or you can go with one of the security suites PCMag.com recommends for 2017 as a one-stop solution.

Most of the suites include “antivirus, firewall, antispam, parental control, and some sort of additional privacy protection such as protection against phishing sites.”

7. Be cautious with public Wi-Fi

Never do any online shopping, banking or other sensitive online activities on a public wi-fi network.

8. Guard your physical devices

You can do so much to protect your device from hackers. But if the actual physical device gets into the hands of a criminal, it will be a lot easier for them to extract or corrupt information. So, don’t leave your phone or laptop unattended in public places.

Don’t be complacent about cybersecurity. These are simple measures you can take for a cyber-safe 2017, so do (at least some of) them before bed tonight.

[6]: https://www.waterisac.org/system/files/2002__Library/Firewall Guide.pdf

Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.