If You Connect It, Protect It - Cybersecurity Awareness Tips

Week one of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month: If you connect it, protect it. Dive into security tips on how to reduce risk on your internet connected devices.

I want you to stop and think about your digital presence. What kind of devices do you use at work? In your personal life? Devices that are stored in dusty boxes that you haven’t dug out in years? This week for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month the theme is If you Connect It, Protect It. In this week’s blog we will be diving into ways you can reduce risk of cybersecurity attacks on all of your devices.

8 Tips to Reduce Security Risks on your Devices:

1. Use strong password practices and protection.

When using mobile devices, you should always be sure to have a lock code enabled. This is to protect your private information in case someone swipes your phone or trys to go on it if you step out of the room. Which brings us to another point- never leave mobile devices unattended. This is especially important if you are traveling on public transportation, working in a local business, or even in your office at work. 

We also suggest creating passwords that are lengthy, random, and include special characters and numbers. Make sure you have a unique password for each of your accounts, especially when it comes to sensitive or financial accounts.

2. Make sure to backup your devices onto a secure cloud storage service.

If your device does get stolen, hopefully you have it backed up onto a cloud storage service. Combining the lock you have on your phone with this service can almost guarantee that hackers will not be able to get your private information. This is because most of these backup services let you download your information and then wipe the actual device remotely. 

3. Turn off geolocation services on your devices.

Hackers can target the physical location of you and your devices by exploiting the geolocation services many applications and websites utilize. Check your settings on social media and websites that you commonly use to make sure geolocation is disabled.

4. Log out of applications when you are not using them.

It might seem like logging out of applications or accounts when you are not using them seems like a big hassle - but it’s all in good cybersecurity practice. 

There are times when it makes obviously sense of why you would log out. For example, if you are using any sort of public device or computer - it is crucial that you always log out of your accounts. The same goes for using Public Wi-Fi, which is usually not secured so be sure to not access confidential information and logins on public wi-fi. 

So when is it okay to stay logged in? If you are using applications or services that are not sensitive, it’s safe to stay logged in. An example of this could be a news or radio application. It’s also okay to stay logged into applications if you are constantly using them throughout the day - but be wary to only be accessing these on a secure and trusted network. 

5. Always keep your device and applications updated. 

The longer you leave old versions of applications running on your device, the easier it will be for a hacker to exploit the vulnerabilities in the old software. Set your devices to update the system and applications automatically to mitigate this risk.

6. Only download applications from trusted sources

There are thousands of applications you can download onto your devices from third-parties, a lot of them are downloaded directly from the internet. When you download applications make sure not only is it a trusted application, but from a trusted source. Hackers can build these applications to also download malware onto your computer which can compromise your data. The main thing to remember is to think before you download - could this be a compromised application?

7. Only visit trusted websites with secure encryption protocols. 

There has probably been a time where you open a link or website and your device alerts you that the website you are visiting is not secure. Only visiting trusted websites can ensure that malware will not be downloaded onto your device without your permission. These insecure websites could also put your private information at risk, so it’s best to avoid them.

8. Look for Phishing attempts as you use your email and other communication apps. 

Any emails, messages, or communication you receive through your devices means that you should keep an eye out for phishing attempts. Look for early warning signs and never click links sent in messages. These links could redirect you to fake login pages that are designed to steal your usernames, passwords, and other sensitive information. 

Nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes - but if we focus on preventative measures now we are guaranteed a better chance to keep our private data, private. Incorporating some of these tips into your device routines will help you get started on the journey of cybersecurity awareness. Do your part. #BeCyberSmart