Cybersecurity Awareness Month—Protect IT: Maintain Your Digital Profile

Protecting yourself and your business from becoming cybercrime victims
Nov 1, 2019 8:00 AM ET
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To protect yourself from becoming a cybercrime victim, you must understand, secure, and maintain your digital profile.

Your every click, share, send, and post creates a digital trail that cybercriminals can exploit. Limit public Wi-Fi use whenever possible and be familiar with and routinely check privacy settings to help protect your privacy and reduce cybercrimes.

Protect IT at work

Before you connect to any public wireless hotspot—airports, hotels, or cafés—be sure to confirm the name of the network and exact login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. When possible, using your personal hotspot is often a safer alternative to free Wi-Fi. Watch this short fun video to learn more about why you need to be careful. If you do use an unsecured public Wi-Fi or access point, practice good Internet hygiene by avoiding sensitive activities—such as banking—that require passwords or credit cards. Only use sites that begin with “https://” when shopping or banking online. When possible, use a virtual private network (VPN) software to protect your internet traffic.

To protect your company and client data, only share files using company accounts—not personal accounts—and use systems approved to meet your company’s security requirements

Protect IT at home.

Whether it’s your computer, smartphone, game device, or other connected devices, the best defense against viruses and malware is to update to the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems. Sign up for automatic updates if possible and protect your devices with antivirus software.

Most connected appliances, toys, and devices are supported by a mobile application. Your mobile device could be filled with suspicious apps running in the background or using default permissions you never realized you approved—gathering your personal information without your knowledge while also putting your identity and privacy at risk. Check your apps’ permissions and use the “rule of least privilege” to delete what you do not need or no longer use. Learn to just say “no” to access requests that do not make sense. Only download apps from trusted vendors and sources. Remember—just because something is on the mobile app store does not mean it is safe. You still need to research it.

Staysafeonline.org’s Digital Declutter Tips and Digital Declutter Checklist are good resources for tidying up your digital footprint.