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Top 8 Cyber Security Tips You Should Know

Top 8 Cyber Security Tips You Should Know
Table Of Contents

Movies might make writing by candlelight and love confessions in the rain look fun, but there’s no denying that it’s all about digital communications today. With so much of our sensitive information stored on devices and online platforms, however, information security has become more important than ever.

So, how can you protect yourself without having to sacrifice your top-secret fan account that you totally don’t run? It’s okay…we don’t judge. However, we are here to offer some tips about easy ways to keep yourself and your data safe online. 

1. Use a Second Phone Number

No, having a second phone number app does not make you a super spy (sorry); it just gives you a second layer of security. When shopping online, using social media, or giving your number to an online date, use a second number or a Burner phone. This way, your personal data will be safe from any potential scammers, cybercriminals, and other security breaches. 

With Burner, you can add a second number to your existing mobile device. All alerts will be in the app and separate from your main messages. If this number falls victim to a cyberattack, you can easily delete it without losing your personal contacts. 

This is a great way to protect your main phone number. But it’s also helpful to keep your number clear of needless alerts, emails, and messages so you can focus on what’s important… like your friend’s latest breakup. 

2. Use Strong Passwords

A super simple way to instantly decrease digital vulnerabilities is by using unique passwords across all your accounts. We know “1234” is easy to remember, but it’s also easy to guess. Some sites have mandatory password requirements, but it’s a good idea to use a strong password regardless. 

A strong password should be at least 16 characters with a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Don’t use anything easy to guess, like your dog’s name or your birthday. Though we have no doubt your dog’s name is adorable. 

For an even stronger password, use a completely random combination of letters and characters: No real words. These passwords are best used when protecting particularly sensitive data. 

You’re also going to need more than one password. Even if your password is so complicated that even you can’t remember it, it’s best to have multiple. This reduces the risk of a data breach and, in the event one password is hacked, protects the others. 

Manage Your Passwords 

But that’s a lot to keep track of. Multiple social media accounts, online rewards programs, emails, and credit cards…they all need secure passwords. Some people have more than 200 accounts with passwords. Because of this, it’s a good idea to set up a password management system

And to pay homage to those tear-jerking period piece movies you pretend not to like, kick it old school. Write your passwords on paper and put them in a fireproof box. If you absolutely have to go digital, use a password manager designed to keep your information safe. 

Two-Factor Authentication

Now you’ve reached super spy villain mode. After all, what good villain doesn’t require both voice activation and a fingerprint scan? And then, yes, somehow, James Bond is still able to break in. But for you, adding multi-factor authentication to your password setup is definitely a cybersecurity best practice. 

Use two-factor authentication for any particularly sensitive accounts or those most susceptible to cybersecurity threats. A great example is your bank account, so you can ensure your credit card information is safe. 

This is also a great time to use a second phone number. But be careful — if you receive a random verification code text, check your accounts for data breaches and use caution when opening that text. Try Burner today to get your hands on that sweet second phone number. 

Another option is to use an authenticator app. This is an extra security measure that prevents hacking even if the cybercriminal has access to your phone. 

3. Use Public Wi-Fi with Caution

If you’ve got an airport layover, an urgent email to send, or want to avoid talking to the people around you, public Wi-Fi can be a blessing. Unfortunately, there are several risks associated with using these networks. They can be unsecured and extra vulnerable to cyber attacks. 

Around 43 percent of people have experienced data breaches while using public Wi-Fi. And since public places are, well, public, hackers are free to sit near you and use the network to install malware on your device or steal your personal information. 

So, how can you protect yourself and your devices while still getting online? Nowadays, most public networks are encrypted or have firewalls. But you can also check to the left of the website address bar and see if there is a lock symbol or https. Once you’ve confirmed this, you’re free to check your Fantasy football team stress-free. Well, as stress-free as possible. 

Use a VPN

A VPN (virtual private network) helps protect your data from hackers by encrypting its journey between the device and the Wi-Fi router. 40% of people report using VPNs while on public Wi-Fi, and they’re easy to download and set up.

4. Protect Against Scams

Phishing scams occur when scammers contact you claiming to be from a legit company. They will usually directly request your personal information by claiming the company needs it. Whenever a suspicious email requests information, look at the sender. Is it really your bank, or is it an email ending in .co? 

Most legitimate companies won’t email you and request your personal information. Always validate the source before giving out personally identifiable information (PII) like your social security number. It’s also nice to tell your friends and family about phishing attacks so they’re less likely to fall for them. 

Installing an ad-blocker on your web browser will help limit the number of potential scams and unwanted ads you see while online. It will also help you stay focused on the task at hand, allowing you to procrastinate by watching TV instead, which is what we all would rather be doing. 

If you think you’ve received a scam call, text, or email, don’t respond or click on anything. Sometimes, just clicking a malicious link can give a hacker a back door into your data. The best thing to do is report the message as spam, delete it, and block the sender. You’ll stay safe and prevent future scam alerts down the road. 

5. Update Your Software

It seems like every month there’s a new phone update begging to be downloaded. Yes, we know the new layouts and formats that come with the update can be annoying. However, keeping your software current can easily help protect against malware and data breaches. 

Software updates help eliminate or reduce vulnerabilities in the old operating system. You can also turn on automatic updates to be sure you don’t miss them. Installing separate antivirus software will monitor your daily browsing and alert you of any suspicious sites. 

6. Use an External Hard Drive

Upload important data to an external hard drive to prevent your precious family photos from being lost to the digital abyss. This can be anything from photos to personal documents to the novel you secretly wrote in fourth grade. 

In the event of a cyber attack or a digital failure, all your precious data will be safe on an external drive. Any time, you can plug that drive into a new computer and retrieve what would’ve otherwise been lost. 

7. Check Your Privacy Settings

Check privacy settings when you download a new app. Some apps will automatically share your location or grant access to your phone to track its data. Go into settings and make sure the app isn’t sharing anything you want to be private. 

This is especially important when downloading social media apps. A new app is fun, but not when your ex can see you stalked their profile. It happens to the best of us. 

8. Boost your Cybersecurity Awareness 

Perhaps the most important cyber security tip is to stay educated on the various ways cybercriminals try to scam you or access your information. If you’re here, you’re already on the right track. 

Common Sense Can Be Common

Just be careful and use common sense. If something feels suspicious or off, it probably is. And it’s better to be safe than sorry. There’s nothing wrong with calling a company to verify they sent you an email. If you stay updated with new software and take measures in advance to reduce security risks, you’ll be just fine. 

For more tips on keeping your information safe, visit our blog.


Ultimate guide to managing your passwords | The Washington Post

Use Strong Passwords | CISA

Are Public Wi-Fi Networks Safe? What You Need To Know | Consumer Advice

The Risks Of Public Wi-Fi | Forbes Advisor

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