5 Ways to Avoid a Personal Cyber Attack

By Jonesa Rodriguez - October 22, 2020

October is a month filled with several awareness days and weeks. From the beginning to the end, each day is designated to bring awareness to a certain topic. Many are familiar with Breast Cancer Awareness or World Mental Health Day, but did you know October is also National Cybersecurity Awareness Month? 

The goal is to bring awareness to the dangers of the online world and provide resources and advice be safer and secure. 

As everyone’s online presence has increased over the last few months, so has the presence of cybercriminals. So, what can be done to keep a cybercriminal from accessing your money, personal information and data? Mark Fleeting, a cybersecurity analyst at Moffitt Cancer Center, shares five ways to avoid a personal cyber-attack.

1. Passwords

As our world becomes more connected and app-driven, password management is essential. You need a strong and unique password for everything you do online. 

“Use password management software like LastPass or Dashlane to help you create and manage strong, unique passwords,” said Fleeting. “Always use two-factor authentications whenever possible and don’t share your passwords with anyone, ever.”

2. Private information

Cybercriminals are after your private information. With your information, they can create fake accounts to steal your money, identity and data. 

“Be careful what you post on social media. Be careful what information you give away to websites and services,” Fleeting said. “Remember, even the most obscure piece of information can be used against you by criminals.”

3. Phishing Emails

Phishing emails can be hard to identify but look for these clues. If an email that looks like it came from Wells Fargo, for example, but the source email address is wellfargo@gmail.com, it’s likely fraudulent. 

Fleeting’s advice is to look for official branding or logos. If it is not properly branded, it is not real. Remember to hover, don’t click on a link. Hovering over the link will reveal the true destination. If the destination URL doesn’t match the rest of the email, it is probably not real.

4. Untrusted apps

Criminals create and share fake apps that are written to take over your phone or computer. Fleeting suggests only installing install apps that come from trusted sources like Apple’s official App Store or Google Play Store.

5. Lock your devices

With the advancement of technology, it is now easy to have personal information shared among multiple devices. It is important to not only keep these devices updated with the latest protection software but to also keep them locked. 

Always lock or protect your devices with a strong password. Fleeting suggests something long and random, making it more challenging for a hacker to gain access. 

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