December 24, 2021

Holiday Cyber Security Tips To Try Before The Year Ends

The end of the year is almost upon us and to top it all off, as we head into 2022, what’s the one thing that’s on our minds? Cyber Security.

If you aren’t entirely sure about cybersecurity or if your company hasn’t thought about it already, you may be searching for some helpful tips to help train staff and keep your business safe. We’ve compiled a list of 4 things that can make a difference going into the New Year.

Secure Your Networks

Secure your networks  and devices with these helpful tips to keep safe during the holiday season.

Some simple ways to maintain network security include updating all software and apps, never opening spam emails or attachments, using strong passwords that are at least eight characters long and use numbers, letters, and special symbols to make them more difficult for others to guess.  It’s also advisable to secure wireless networks with WPA2 encryption.

Furthermore, ensure that all of your devices have anti-virus software running to protect them from malware.  Regularly checking accounts for suspicious activity can help prevent cybercriminals from accessing information on bank accounts, credit cards or email addresses. This is especially important when shopping online during the holidays. Be sure to use a secure network when shopping online and only visit sites that are HTTPS-enabled.

Update Your Software

Make sure you have the latest security patches for your software. This includes your operating system, browsers, and any other applications you use. Watch out for phishing attacks. Be on the lookout for fraudulent emails and websites that may be trying to steal your personal information. Don’t click on links or download attachments from unknown sources.

Each year, there are new vulnerabilities discovered and corresponding patches released to fix them. In 2017, there were 42 security patches issued for Adobe Flash alone. The last thing you want is a hacking attempt that succeeds because you failed to upgrade your software.

This brings us to another tip: if an update or patch is available, apply it as soon as possible. Many software updates are released to address specific security vulnerabilities.

Set Up Offline Data Backups

Set up offline data backup. One of the best ways to protect your important data is to not put all of your eggs in one basket. If you have sensitive or irreplaceable data stored on a laptop, tablet, or phone, make sure it’s saved elsewhere too. For example, store digital backups in cloud storage or offline via portable hard drives.

Don’t forget about your offline files either. If you have important documents, pictures, videos, or any other type of file on your computer, make sure it’s backed up as well.

A lot of computers can store image backups directly to an external drive without any additional software. For example, Seagate Backup Plus drives can back up data on Windows and Mac computers, as well as iPhones and Android devices.

Be sure to encrypt your backups . If you store your backups in the cloud or on an external drive, make sure they’re encrypted. That way, if they fall into the wrong hands, the data will still be safe.

There are a number of ways to encrypt your backups. For example, on Android devices you can encrypt your backups directly through Google Drive. On Windows PCs, you can do the same thing with the built-in BitLocker software.

Be Extra Cautious With Emails

Be extra cautious with email and social media as cyber criminals take advantage of the holiday season.

Phishing emails and links are common during the holidays as cybercriminals try to exploit unsuspecting users. Be especially careful about opening any email attachments, clicking on links, or providing personal information. Criminals often send emails that appear to be from legitimate sources such as retailers or shipping companies, but the links and attachments may actually contain malware that can steal your personal information.

Similarly, be careful about what you post on social media. Don’t post anything that could give hackers access to your personal information, such as your address, phone number, or email address. And be sure to review your privacy settings so that only people you know can see your posts.

Another way to stay safe online is to be mindful of how much personal information you’re sharing. If you’re shopping online, don’t use the same password for every retailer. Using easily guessable passwords can leave your data at risk should one site get hacked.

For added security while using public Wi-Fi, connect to a VPN (Virtual Private Network) before accessing any accounts or apps that contain sensitive information. VPNs are more secure than Wi-Fi hotspots because they encrypt the data being sent to your device, making it nearly impossible for hackers to access.

With these tips in mind, you can head into the New Year feeling confident about your company’s cybersecurity. For more information and helpful tips, be sure to stay tuned into our blog at Bayshore Interactive.

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