October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and there's no better time to share helpful reminders to stay safe and secure online. In today's internet-connected world, anyone can be a potential target for cyberattacks, online fraud or identity theft. The good news is that we can all do our part to reduce cybersecurity risks at home, in the workplace and on the go!
What can you do to improve your cybersecurity and protect your personal and financial information online? Here are some basic cybersecurity best practices to follow:
- Lock down your logins. Choose strong passwords with a unique combination of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Using passphrases or even entire sentences will make your passwords harder to crack.
- Update passwords regularly. Change your passwords at least every few months. Avoid re-using the same password for multiple accounts, such as email, social media or online banking. A password manager can help you keep track of multiple logins.
- Add extra layers of security with multi-factor authentication. With multi-factor authentication (MFA), you're required to identify yourself with multiple factors in order to access your accounts. This way, if someone gains access to your username and password, they'll have a harder time getting into your account. Examples of MFA include fingerprint scans, facial recognition or one-time passcodes sent to your phone or email.
- Keep digital devices secure. Install any software security patches and or system updates right away to protect your devices from cybercriminals. It's a good idea to enable automatic updates on your devices so you never miss an important update.
- Only use secure websites. Look for “https" (the “s" stands for “secure") in the URL and a lock symbol in the address bar. Hover over links before clicking on them to see the full address.
- Use private, secure Wi-Fi networks. Avoid using free, public Wi-Fi, especially for online banking or shopping. Many public Wi-Fi connections are poorly secured, which may leave you vulnerable to hacking attempts.
- Back up your data. A data backup is a copy of files from your computer or device. If you lose your data or fall victim to a cybersecurity incident, a backup can help you recover important files.
- Think before you click. With more people working at home, phishing scams are on the rise. Scammers will disguise emails to make them look like they're coming from legitimate sources, like your financial institution, well-known brands, government agencies or even someone you know, like a coworker. The email may include links or attachments designed to steal your personal or financial information. Be suspicious of unexpected emails with poor spelling or grammar, unusual requests and a sense of urgency. If you're unsure, don't click on links or download attachments. Instead, contact the source directly to determine if you're dealing with a scam.
- Play it safe on social media. Check the privacy settings on your accounts to limit how much data you share online. Information like your birthday, email address, family members and geographic location could be used to guess your passwords and gain access to your accounts.
- Encourage safe remote learning. Help students stay safe while learning online by teaching them basic cybersecurity habits. Remind your student to be careful about sharing information online such as their full name, address, phone number or Social Security number.
Wright-Patt Credit Union is here to help you and your family protect your personal and financial information and avoid becoming a victim of fraud. We have the tips, tools, and resources you need to keep your money and information safe. For more fraud prevention tips, visit WPCU.coop/StopFraud.