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Best Practices for Great Cyber Hygiene

When it comes to our teeth, we have a set dental hygiene routine of brushing once in the morning, once at night and flossing regularly. The same goes for personal hygiene, a set routine of cleanliness followed on a regular basis. But what about your cyber hygiene? What is cyber hygiene?

Cyber hygiene is being proactive about your cyber security. It includes the preventative steps taken to ensure cyber threats are mitigated because of security measures you routinely practice. Below are a few steps to routinely follow for improved cyber hygiene.

A Reputable Antivirus and Malware Software is Your Friend

A vital component of your cyber hygiene, antivirus and malware software protects and defends your information from malicious attacks. This software helps detect harmful content, automatically scans your computer for viruses on a regular basis, and confirms your technology has a clean bill of health.

Make It Routine

Repetition establishes a routine. Make sure you are updating operating systems when notified, as those can include security patches for your device. The longer you put off updates, the more vulnerable your device is.  

With this mindset, make changing your passwords part of your routine. You regularly change your toothbrushes, so why wouldn’t you do the same for a password? To create a strong password, it is recommended to have it be 12-14 characters in length with a combination of capitalization, numbers, and symbols. Avoid common or easily accessible information. For example, “password” as a password is highly vulnerable along with information you socially share such as children or pet names. Fraudsters are known to comb through people’s social media pages for information like this to gain access to their accounts. Keep your credentials unique! Never use your name and do not reuse user ID’s or passwords across different platforms.   

Secure Your Files and Information

Back up your data regularly! You never know when you could fall victim to ransomware or your computer unexpectedly crashes. Make it your personal practice to regularly back up your device, in order to prevent losing personal material forever.

If you are planning to sell or rehome a computer, laptop, or phone, be sure to wipe the hard drive fully. Emptying your trash bin of deleted files is not enough. Remnants of those files can be restored, allowing whoever you give the device to the ability to access your information. It is essential to wipe the hard drive of your device before passing it to someone else.