In addition to the resolutions we make to take better care of ourselves, these simple cyber tips will help take better care of our devices, data, and personal information against attackers.

Don’t delay installing software patches

Never delay updating software patches

Why do this? Delaying the installation of patches leads to low defences in your software, making it more vulnerable to malware, a vehicle cyber attackers use to steal your data and control your device.

It’s easy to click ‘Remind me later’ when a software update window pops up, especially in the middle of performing an important task. But, in addition to adding new features and fixing bugs, updates are designed to repair weaknesses in the software’s security. Install updates without delay.

Trim what you share on social media

There are dangers in social media oversharing

Why do this? A hacker could use your social media profile to guess passwords and answers to security questions, or use your date of birth, pets’ or kids’ names against you.

Are you guilty of sharing too much information online? Think twice before posting sensitive information to social media. Ask: ‘Would I want everyone in the world to know this about me?’

Give your passwords a makeover

Tips to make your passwords more secure

Why do this? The passwords you’ve used for years may be easy to hack today. Passwords are the gateway to your personal information, enabling a hacker to fraudulently assume your identity.

• Create passwords that are at least 12 characters, using upper and lower case letters, numbers, and $pec!@L characters. Don’t write down these passwords, and never share them with anybody.

• If that seems difficult, a password manager can create random, unique passwords that are saved in a secure, encrypted vault on your home computer. A quick search online can help you pick one that meets your needs – some are free and some charge a monthly/annual fee.

• Where available, always turn on the 2-step verification (two-factor authentication) process, which provides an extra layer of security to your account. This way, you sign in with your password as well as a code sent to your phone.

Back up your data regularly

Ways to back up your personal data

Why do this? Ransomware attacks are becoming more frequent, and occur when a hacker seizes control of your computer or data and demands a payment to hand it back.

There are two ways to back up your data:

Back up data to a cloud provider

There are a number of cloud providers that can back up your data on remote servers.

When choosing a service, consider how the data is backed up. Is the service backing up your files or your entire system? If the service only backs up your files and you need to restore the system, you will have to reinstall software, including the operating system.

When choosing a cloud provider, research their record for security. Cloud providers have been breached and are common targets for hackers. Read reviews, especially those written by security researchers.

Back up data to a removable device

Back up your files with an external hard drive

Modern ransomware attacks can encrypt cloud backups, so it’s important to have a Plan B.

Back up data periodically to a removable device, such as a hard drive. Do this regularly and make sure the device is not always connected to your system. That way, it won’t be vulnerable to a cyberattack if your computer is targeted.

The removable back up should be encrypted and password protected. This is critical because portable data can easily be stolen or lost.

Related Articles

How to prevent teen cyber extortion

How to be safer when using public Wi-Fi

How to protect yourself from tax-related identity theft

© The Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company of Canada. All rights reserved.

This article is for informational purposes only. All recommendations are general guidelines and are not intended to be exhaustive or complete, nor are they designed to replace information or instructions from the manufacturer of your equipment or software. Contact your equipment service representative or manufacturer with specific questions. Under no circumstances shall BI&I or any party involved in creating or delivering this article be liable for any loss or damage that results from the use of the information or images contained in or linked to in this article.




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