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10 Tips to Protect Against Cyberattacks and Phishing Scams

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If you have an account online, it’s highly likely that cybercriminals have your login, and quite possibly your personal information. Cybercrime, including data breaches, are occurring daily. One such data breach involved 772 million usernames and passwords, some of which were from older leaks, but new ones also were discovered. What this means is that the data, and likely yours, is being sold to criminals looking to use your information for cyberattacks and phishing scams.

What should you do to keep your information safe online? Our team at Yeo & Yeo Computer Consulting compiled these 10 tips that can help protect you against cyberattacks and phishing scams.

1. Always think before you click! Be sure where a link will take you before you click. Hover the cursor over a link to see a preview; this will allow you to check the link’s destination beforehand. If the destination looks suspicious, don’t click! 

2. Practice good password management. Do not use simple or commonly used passwords. Use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols, or a passphrase consisting of multiple words when possible. Change your passwords frequently, do not use the same password for all your logins, and do not use past passwords.

3. Track all of your online accounts. Don’t trust that you’re the only one accessing your sensitive accounts — review activity on a regular basis. If you find suspicious activity, report it quickly to prevent as much damage as possible, and immediately change your password.

4. Do not click on pop-ups. Phishing pop-ups try to trick users into believing that they’re a part of a legitimate site. Don’t click anything on such a pop-up. Close the window if possible, or use Task Manager to close the browser.

5. Install antivirus software. Antivirus programs scan incoming files for malicious data, while a firewall blocks access to your system. Consider using a Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) for additional protection.

6. Update applications and browsers. There’s a reason you are continually prompted to update applications, such as Adobe, and your web browser. Updates are pushed out to keep pace with new threats. Staying on top of these updates will help guard against vulnerabilities.

7. Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). MFA requires the user to know their password, as well as approve that they are attempting to log in. Some forms of MFA include things you “know,” “have,” and “are.”

8. Judge everything. Cybercriminals use phishing traps to replicate real sites, but they are usually filled with small mistakes that give them away. Look for signs of a lack of attention to details like poor design, misspelled words or broken links.

9. Use skepticism. Phishing attacks want you to act quickly without thinking too hard about the request. Use caution and remember step 1 – think before you click!

10. Backup. Backup. Backup. Backups are a great, simple way to recover from a disaster, be it a natural disaster or ransomware. If you get hit by ransomware and you have a good backup of all your data, you don’t need to pay the ransom; you can restore data from a backup.

If you have any questions or need assistance against cybercrime, contact the professionals at Yeo & Yeo Computer Consulting.

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