Just as we work to improve our physical health and wellbeing, it is also extremely important to improve our cyber health and protect us from online dangers. Here are five simple fixes to keep you cyber secure this year:
1. What you do: Click in emails
What you should do instead: Never click on a link or an email attachment! Imagine e-mail as a text-only communication method, because nothing else is safe. It was never intended for transferring files, and links are probably not what they seem to be. Keep in mind that e-mail is the number one method your opponent uses to fulfill your bids. If you are not absolutely sure that the email comes from someone you trust, do not click! And even if it comes from someone you trust, be careful if the link seems unusual or uncharacteristic for you. It could be an adversary pretending to be someone you know. Think about every click as a possible doom.
. 2 What You Do: Using Only a Credit Card
What You Should Do Instead: There are many credit cards with no annual fees that will be more than happy to extend your balance. I recommend at least 3 or 4 different cards that you use for different purposes. Ask for a low credit line with everyone ̵
Never use a debit card other than an ATM – you have far less protection against fraud and theft from your bank than from the credit card company. Finally, enable real-time SMS alerts on your cards to let you know each time your card is used, rather than finding out at the end of the month if you see unusual charges.
. 3 What You Do: Using a Computer for All Your Cyber Activity
What You Should Do Instead: With the price of computers falling fast, you can not afford it, no separate "high" Risk computers for your online activities such as email, web browsing and shopping – on your low risk computer you can minimize online activity on encrypted transactions such as your bank or credit card company It is likely that you will be compromised in the near future, and it may take a long time to recover your personal and financial files, and this effort and heartbreak costs much more than a few hundred dollars for the second computer.
4 : Using Public WiFi Without VPN
What You Should Do Instead: Every time you log in to an unprotected public network anyone else in the network can see your computer or device. It's like walking around the mall naked and "Look!" Call – you will certainly be noticed. Discover! There is a simple type of application called VPN that stands for a virtual private network. It sounds fancy, but what it really does is create a private tunnel to the Internet that your device can use without being seen. Every time you want to connect to the Internet in public, start your VPN and you will be invisible.
. 5 What You Do: Using Weak Passwords
What You Should Do Instead: I've always recommended that you switch to phrases in which you create a strong password from a sentence you will never remember can guess it. This is great if you only have a few passwords to remember because you do not want to use the same passphrase for multiple sites. But some people have hundreds of home and work passwords, making it impossible for anyone to make a clear phrase and remember which one is. In these cases, consider using password management that generates strong passwords for each Web site you use. You only need to remember the master password / passphrase to unlock the vault, and then your unique passwords will be filled when you visit different sites. Remember to lock your vault after each session or to suspend it after a few minutes.
Bottom line, be smart with how you handle your online activity. Even if you only use one or two of these tips, this year and beyond will make you a big step toward cyber security.
by dr. Eric Cole
Eric Cole is CEO of Secure Anchor, former CTO of McAfee and Lockheed Martin, member of the Cyber Security Commission for President Obama, the security adviser to Bill Gates and his family and author of a new book, Online Danger: How to Protect Themselves and Your loved ones from the evil side of the internet. For more information, please visit www.onlinedanger.com and connect with Dr. Ing. Cole on Twitter, @driccole.