Between social media, video calls, and online shopping, we spend more time online than ever before. This makes the need to be “cyber-safe” a top priority. In 2020 alone, the FBI received 2,474 ransomware complaints. And that’s just one form of attack. That doesn’t take into account the wide variety of security threats lying in wait to wreak havoc on our lives.
With so many threats lurking around every corner of the internet, you may be wondering what you can do to keep you and your family safe online. Here are a few quick and simple tips to start securing your connection. While there are more steps you can take to increase your cybersecurity, this list is a great place to start.
Change the Default Password on Your Router
One of the first things you should do when setting up your home internet is change the default password on your router. These passwords are well known and can lead to serious security issues if left unchanged.
This is different than your Wi-Fi password. This password is designed to protect access to your router settings. Giving someone access to this means they can change pretty much everything about your network. They can even lock you out or install malware, impacting all your connected devices without you knowing.
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Use Strong Passwords
This seems obvious, but the number of people that use their birthdays, children’s names, and worst of all, “password” on their accounts is terrifying. A strong password is the first line of defense in protecting your information.
Let’s put this in perspective. A hacker can crack a seven-character password in as little as .29 milliseconds. A nine-character code can take only five days, while a 12-character password is closer to 200 years. This is why using an easy-to-remember phrase or song lyric is recommended. Having a different password for each site is also a great way to keep your information secure. If you’re worried about remembering all your passwords, you can use a password manager to safely store them.
Use Multi-factor Authentication
A strong password is essential, but using multi-factor authentication is just as vital. They provide an extra layer of security by sending you an email or text message with a security code or asking additional security questions before allowing you access to an account.
Yes, this can be frustrating, but having this in place keeps your information much safer. It may even alert you if someone is trying to access your account! That alone makes the few extra seconds it takes to complete the steps well worth it.
Keep Everything Up to Date
Raise your hand if you have ever had an update notification pop up on your computer and hit “Remind Me Later.” Don’t feel bad. I’m guilty too. But did you know this can leave your devices vulnerable to attack?
Updates can contain additional safeguards designed to combat the ever-changing landscape of cyberattacks. Using an out-of-date version of any software leaves you vulnerable. Clicking the reminder button and waiting for later may be more desirable, but it could ultimately do more harm than good.
Keeping you and your family safe online doesn’t have to be complicated. Implementing these quick tips is a great way to start securing your information and getting your family on the right track. It may not be convenient, but it’s definitely worth it.