There are some things we all do every day to put ourselves, our identities, and our data at risk. If you practice good data hygiene, and regularly follow routines for securing data, you can help protect yourself and your computers. Here’s five risky behaviors you should avoid.
1. Failing to use strong account passwords
It's important to use complex passwords that will be difficult for cybercriminals to guess. The best passwords include uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. They should also not include proper names—no streets, pets, spouses. If that seems like too much work, then consider a password management tool like LastPass or LockBox. Also, avoid using the same password for multiple accounts, because if a hacker learns that password, you'll be in big trouble.
2. Not taking advantage of 2FA
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is the process of confirming the identity of an online account user through two separate means. At Carbonite, customers first enter the correct account login and password. Then a verification code is sent to them via text message. The customer enters the code and they're good to go. The 2FA system makes it very difficult for anyone to gain access to your online accounts without permission.
3. Ignoring secure communication rules
Never send an account password over email. If you want to create an online account, make sure the URL of the site begins with 'https' because that indicates advanced security. And do not use public computers or public Wi-Fi to log into online banking and other sensitive accounts. When you are in a coffee shop, and that warning appears to say you aren’t on a secure network, they aren’t kidding. Your data can be viewed by others if you aren’t using your corporate VPN.
4. Clicking on questionable links
One way to avoid malware and ransomware is to train employees to avoid clickbait articles and questionable websites. Train employees to avoid opening email attachments they’re not expecting, and avoid clicking on links inside emails from unknown senders. If an employee gets a notice in their email that they’ve won a prize, it’s probably a phishing email that will lead to a ransomware infection. In recent years, cybercriminals have become much more sophisticated, so that suspicious emails don’t look so suspicious. They no longer contain typos, and often include logos and other official-seeming branding that leads many people to follow through on solicitations for information or invitations to download infected attachments.
5. Neglecting to back up your data
The only surefire way to get your data back following a ransomware attack, an incident of computer theft, or any other type of disaster is to proactively install a cloud backup system before the attack occurs. If you aren’t using automatic backup for your files, photos and other critical documents, you are at risk of losing them through human error, malware, fires, and floods.