In an increasingly digital world where our lives are intertwined with technology, securing your online activities is paramount. Cyberattacks, data breaches, and online threats are ever-present, potentially compromising our personal information, financial security, and business operations. This page offers you an overview of baseline security measures along with further resources. From safeguarding personal devices and online accounts to being vigilant against phishing attempts and keeping software up to date, these measures are essential for protecting our digital identities and ensuring a secure online experience.
Use Strong and Unique Passwords
- Create strong, complex passwords that include a combination of letters (both uppercase and lowercase), numbers, and special characters.
- Avoid using easily guessable information like personal names, birthdays, or common words.
- Use a different password for each online account to prevent a single breach from compromising multiple accounts.
- Consider using a reputable password manager to generate, store, and autofill complex passwords securely.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
- Whenever possible, enable 2FA for your online accounts. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring you to provide a second authentication factor, such as a one-time code sent to your mobile device or email, in addition to your password.
- Use app-based 2FA methods (e.g., Google or Microsoft Authenticator) rather than SMS-based methods.
- SMS-based 2FA can be vulnerable to SIM swapping attacks that can be very challenging to recover from.
- For your most sensitive accounts (payment services, financial institutions, medical providers, healthcare insurance, etc.), consider using biometric authentication devices.
- For less sensitive, but important accounts (utilities, telephone services, cable or internet services, etc.) that do not support 2FA, consider asking your service provider to set a security word, a security question & answer, or a passphrase that isn't easy for others to guess.
Be Cautious with Personal Information
- Be mindful of the information you share online, especially on social media.
- Avoid posting sensitive personal details such as your full address, phone number, or financial information.
- Be skeptical of unsolicited emails, messages, or requests for personal information.
- Phishing attacks often use social engineering to trick users into revealing sensitive data.
- Regularly review the privacy settings of your social media accounts and limit the amount of personal information that is publicly visible.
Additional tips for online safety
- Keep your software and devices up-to-date with the latest security patches.
- Use reputable antivirus and anti-malware software.
- Be cautious when downloading files or clicking on links from unknown sources.
- Educate yourself about common online threats and scams to better recognize and avoid them.
- Consider using reputable Virtual Private Network (VPN) software to keep prying eyes from monitoring your online activities.
- Be wary of browser extensions or plugins; only use them when provided by reputable organizations; and consider isolating them to a specific browser profile to limit what a malicious browser extension can access.