Eye rolls and pitiful exhales—that was the initial response I got from my family and loved ones when discussing cyber security. It’s all too alien of a subject at first mention, especially for those who are already dealing with the nagging burdens of life, as we’re painfully reminded of every day in the news. Our schedules are jam-packed with worries, so why add another one? Because, sadly (and I'm saying this as I would to a loved one), everyone is a target.
Cybersecurity is such a complex and wide-reaching subject, so where to start? Neither my family nor I have learned enough about this issue from one discussion, so I don't expect you to act without a little more care, either. My default is always to begin with the best form of learning and mutual care that I know—a relationship. Here are some initial steps that can help you get started along the road of staying safe and controlling the controllable.
Part I | The Basics
- Create separate email accounts for work, personal use, alert notifications and other interests.
- Be cautious of clicking on links or attachments sent to you in emails or in text messages.
- Use secure messaging tools when transmitting sensitive information via email or text message.
- Create strong passwords and change them regularly.
- Do not use the same password for multiple accounts.
- Minimize the use of unsecured, public networks.
- At work, limit web usage to core, business-related sites.
- At home, set up a primary network and a separate one for guests, children and smart devices.
- Install anti-virus software on all your devices and keep it up-to-date.
- Be prudent in what you share about yourself, your family, job or business via social media.
This bite-sized introduction will, I hope, help you gain some awareness. What I am truly rooting for is curiosity, for that will provoke a much better teacher than myself—you. No one knows what ails us, or what we hold dearest, better than ourselves. Therefore, it stands to reason that we will be the ones who learn how to best protect those things.
Until our next exchange, and a continuation of a learning relationship.