Cyber Security Checklist: Do Your Online Habits Check the Box?

See Important Information Below

In today’s world—where cyber threats make headlines daily— we’re committed to helping you stay protected with the most useful and up-to-date tactics. Read on to see if you’re taking all of the necessary precautions to stay cyber-secure.

CONNECT WITH CONFIDENCE

How you access the internet can be as important as the Websites you visit. Using a secure network is your first line of defense.

Secure Your Home Network

  • Use a trusted cable or Internet vendor, and the most updated encrypted secure network system: Wireless Protected Access (WPA2).
  • Change factory-set passwords to a strong, complex password. See our best Password Tips below.

For Work & General Use
  • Avoid public networks and Wi-Fi hotspots; cybercriminals often target them.
  • Conduct all online activities on a secure network, or within a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
  • Surf using “Safe Browsing” sites, such as Google Safe Browsing. Your antivirus program may also offer a similar feature.

Mobile Devices
  • Connect mobile devices securely to your home or mobile network. Avoid using public Wi-Fi.
  • Only download applications from reputable sources.
  • Turn off your geolocation settings when they are not needed.

Basics & Maintenance
  • Remember, only HTTPS Web addresses are truly secure. Avoid accessing personal information when connected to an unsecure network or Website.
  • Access your Web browser’s privacy settings periodically to delete and restrict cookies (files which track your activity online).

EMAIL & SOCIAL MEDIA

Your email is a primary target for cybercriminals. Keep these tips in mind when you access your inbox and social networks.

Be Careful What You Click On

  • Never open emails from unknown senders.
  • Look closely at the email address before you open a message. Fraudsters often change a few letters, hoping to trick you into thinking that the email is from a legitimate source.
  • Don’t click on pop-ups or side bar links that “sell” products or “alert” you of threats.
  • Be wary of embedded links where you cannot see the full address.
  • Check the spellings and the domains of the links you click on. A slight difference in a company’s supposed URL could be a sign of a fraudulent site.

Beware of Baiting
  • Do not respond to an unsolicited request to share or verify passwords, PINs or personal information via email, text or phone. Legitimate services (e.g., financial, the IRS, etc.) will never ask you to do this.
  • Question emails that are rushing you to take action, or are threatening.

Protect Your Privacy
  • Don’t overshare information on social media, such as telling people when you’re on vacation.
  • Configure the Privacy and Security settings for each of your online accounts to limit the types of personal information you share — particularly for social media.

PROTECT WITH COMPLEX PASSWORDS

“Password.” “Qwerty.” “123456.” Generic passwords, like these, are one of the main reasons people fall victim to cyber-attacks. Keep fraudsters guessing with something more secure.

Ground Rules

  • Don’t reuse passwords. If one of your accounts is hacked, it would be easy for a perpetrator to compromise your other accounts that share the same (or a similar) password.
  • Keep your password(s) private

Creating a Password
  • Create complex passwords that are hard to guess. Strong passwords are alphanumeric and more than eight characters long.
  • Avoid using personal information in your password (e.g., Social Security numbers, birthdays, etc.)

Added Protection
  • Use passphrases: a phrase that is easy for you to remember but difficult for others to guess.
  • Consider using a password manager or password vault to organize and store passwords in an encrypted fashion. Some of the most recent systems offer built-in password managers.
  • Enable two-step verification to access your account when it is available. This requires you to verify access with a secondary code sent as a text message.

SECURING DEVICES AND SMART-HOME GADGETS

Keep your devices protected three ways; make sure they’re physically secure, digitally secure, and check that the devices themselves are from a trusted source.

Physical Security

  • Keep computers docked and locked at work; when traveling, keep laptops with you.

Digital Security
  • Use a robust antivirus program on your devices, but understand that nothing is 100% bulletproof.
  • Use reputable additional scanning and protection tools, such antispyware.
  • Ensure that your browsers and software are kept up-to-date. Install the latest security updates or patches across all your devices.

Reputable Devices & Use
  • Purchase smart devices, such as smart thermostats and smart locks, from reputable companies. Be aware of potential security issues with their design.
  • Access smart home devices only through your secure home or mobile network.

PERSONAL ACCOUNTS AND INFORMATION

Keeping on top of your accounts and taking basic security precautions are ultimately the best ways to minimize risk and damage.

Preventative Measures

  • Memorize your PINs and change them regularly.
  • Sign up for account activity alerts that you receive via text or email.
  • Never print your Social Security or driver's license number on your checks.
  • Use a personal shredder to destroy paperwork with private information.
  • Check your credit report at least once a year to check for surprising/suspicious information.
  • Go paperless. Electronic statements and invoices minimize the number of hard-copy documents that could fall into the wrong hands.
  • Report lost/stolen cards, or hard-copy information like checks, to the financial institution immediately.

At PurePoint, your security is our top priority. Our teams work diligently to ensure your information stays safe, but remember, smart Web habits are your best defense against cyberattacks.

If you have any questions or concerns, our Client Specialists are available to help you.
Call us at 1-855-488-7873, Monday through Friday, anytime from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
E.T. (except on federal holidays).

This article was helpful.