Five Tips to Protect Against 2020 Cybersecurity Threats

Hindsight is 2020. It can feel overwhelming to try to keep up with the latest digital dangers and security risks. We’re here to help you navigate the jungle of threats with the following five security tips!

1. Secure your devices. Mobile devices are increasingly at risk to the same types of attacks as your laptop and desktop computers and then some. These days, buying anti-malware and internet protection software allows for multiple devices to be covered, including your mobile phone. These software packages can help protect you from browsing suspect websites, preventing unauthorized software installations and attempts to delete, destroy or capture your personal information. Make sure you set the security software to automatically update and invest in maintaining this ongoing protection indefinitely.

2. Update your software regularly. Over 90% of all threats can be prevented by simply having security software and making sure your device’s software is up to date with necessary patches. When you receive notifications from your computer or mobile device that new software updates are available, make it a priority to get those updates installed. 

3. Watch your smart devices. Smart devices that are connected to the internet like your Alexa, TVs, home security systems and even your refrigerator, can be at risk. Last year there was a significant rise in attacks against these devices; all while the number of these devices in homes is increasing. Pay attention to the latest smart device threats, and make sure you are buying from reputable companies.

4. Protect your password. Verifying your identity on website logins, when making purchases and even on personal devices has become increasingly critical in preventing unauthorized access to your digital world. While the requirements for strong passwords keeps changing, the best practice is to make your passwords longer (at least 8 characters), complex (numbers, upper/lowercase letters and symbols) and unique to each product or service. In other words, do not reuse passwords. That way, if one password gets compromised by a data breach on the internet, your other passwords are still safe. Managing dozens or hundreds of unique passwords can get quickly overwhelming. Look into industry leading password management solutions, like LastPass, to keep all your passwords organized and safe. These solutions can also help you generate complex passwords, so you don’t have to!

5. Utilize multi-factor authentication. Due to frequent data breeches, a single password verification just won’t cut it anymore. When it comes to proving your digital identity, the traditional way has been with something you know (a password). Make sure you have the capability to add another form of validation. Try to include something you have (such as a smart card or app on your mobile device) and/or something you are (such as a fingerprint or facial recognition). Using at least two of these techniques together will help reduce your risk.

FLASH TIP: Be very cautious of Juice Jacking! There has been an explosion of new free charging stations in public areas; such as airports or coffee shops. Like ATM skimmers, plugging your mobile device into a compromised charging station’s USB port can allow a hacker to watch everything you do on your phone in real time. You could be logging into a website or app, making a purchase with your credit card number or updating your social media with location or vacation plans. All this will be witnessed by the hacker. This is a rising threat to pay attention to!