2015 New Year’s resolutions for Online Security

It's the new year. We all have our own versions of new year resolutions. You may resolve to eat healthier, get more organized or find a new job. Whatever it could be, your 2015 resolutions should incl...
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2015 New Year’s resolutions for Online Security

by News Editor on January 8th, 2015 in Security Tips.

It's the new year. We all have our own versions of new year resolutions. You may resolve to eat healthier, get more organized or find a new job. Whatever it could be, your 2015 resolutions should include boosting up our cyber security after seeing major hacks last year which involved big companies such as Sony, Target, Home Depot and Ebay leaving millions of customer's information exposed.

The Better Business Bureau has a few resolutionsfor a scam-free year:

  • Keep your computer programs up-to-date: Those reminders to update your Internet browser, operating system and other software are annoying, but don’t ignore them. Keeping your programs current is a great defense against malware. Software manufactures continually update their programs to protect against the latest viruses.
  • Set tough passwords. To create strong passwords, combine lowercase and capital letters with a mix of numbers and symbols. Go ahead and write your passwords down, but don’t store this cheat sheet on your computer.
  • Keep your smartphone safe. Take the same precautions on your mobile device as you do on your computer. Protect your phone with a passcode, keep your software up-to-date and watch out for malware disguised as apps.

  • Know the telltale signs. A little common sense goes a long way in spotting scams. Watch out for anything that’s too good (or sensational) to be true. This covers everything from “free” gift cards to instant job offers to scandalous celebrity videos. And be skeptical of any communications riddled with typos and poor grammar. If it looks like a scam, it probably is.
  • Don’t act immediately… research first. Most scams urge you to act right now, before you’ve had a chance to consider your options. Always be sure to do your research. Depending on the occasion, this can be anything from getting three contractor quotes to performing a quick online search. Just don’t be pressured into a commitment before doing your homework.

Here are a few additional yet still very important tips:

  • Patch and update antivirus software: We saw multiple vulnerabilities that affect desktop computers, mobile devices, and servers in 2014, make habit to always update and patch your software this year. Remember to automate patches for all your software and uninstall those that are rarely being used to minimize the risks of exploits.
  • Rethink your online privacy: Check your social account settings and ensure that you limit the amount of personal information you share, and who you share it with.
  • An average person manages at least three social media accounts, the most prominent one being Facebook. Be familiar with the privacy and data use settings of each account and be updated with the latest changes in their data policies. Tweak them accordingly until you’re comfortable with whom you share which posts or updates. 
  • Back up your files... online: Conventional wisdom says you should have three copies of your data: the "original" on your PC, a backup at home, and a backup off-site. You should already be backing up your PCs at home with an external hard drive, but what about the third backup? It’s better to be safe than sorry if the worst befalls your home, like a robbery or fire. It's a small price to pay for peace of mind about your family photos, music, videos, and documents. Consider choosing a service that gives you the option to encrypt your data without providing the service itself a copy of the key (your encryption password).
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