Tech Friday: How is your Cyber Awareness?

Posted By on November 22, 2019


So … you’ve survived pretty much unscathed after a couple decades of identity theft, credit card fraud and everything moving online … but at some point, you realize that you’ve been lucky.

Most of us are pretty lax when it comes to locking down our data, securing our digital access points and devices. So perhaps it is time to think about doing a personal audit? Start here:

Take Precautions at Home

Keep your home PC and mobile devices—and the accounts you access on them—better protected from malicious attacks by implementing the tips and suggestions below.

Safeguard your cell phone or tablet

Do you know how to tell if your phone has been hacked?

If it stops receiving a signal and says “emergency calls only” or “no network” even after a restart, contact your telecom provider to see if your account has been compromised. Also, ask them about ways to better secure your account like verifying your identity with a PIN.

Using a PIN or lock function is the simplest and most important thing you can do to improve security on your phone or tablet—especially if it’s lost or stolen. Newer devices also use biometrics, like facial recognition or a fingerprint. If these security enhancements are available, use them.

Download mobile apps with caution. Before you download, check to see if anything suspicious has been reported, and carefully consider what information apps can access on your phone or tablet.

Finally, enable two-factor authentication (2FA) to verify your identity when logging in or use authentication apps.

Keep your emails secure 

Use 2FA when accessing your email, too. Most email providers offer 2FA as an option at login, and while it does add an extra step, it makes it much harder for hackers to access your messages.

Look out for suspicious emails. Don’t open links or attachments to emails you’re not expecting, even if they look legitimate.

Protect your home computer

Keep viruses, spyware and malware away from your personal files and information by installing antivirus software. Choose one that is reputable and update your virus definitions often. Scan your PC on a regular basis to catch and remove potential threats.

Vulnerabilities in popular software applications—for example, most web browsers, Microsoft® Office, Adobe® Acrobat Reader, and Adobe® Flash Player — are often targeted by hackers, so stay current with installing software updates, operating system patches and major software releases.

Likewise, when your mobile device manufacturer makes a security update available, download and install it immediately. We suggest enabling autoupdate on your PC and devices, so your antivirus and other key software applications stay current without you having to do anything.

Lock down your home WiFi

Wireless home networks are convenient but leaving them unsecured is an opportunity for cybercriminals to sneak in and discover sensitive information. Secure your network by adding a unique password, only give it out to people you trust, and consider changing the password from time to time. You can also contact your internet provider about stronger encryption.


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  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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