Security Blog

New Year Security Checklist: Commit to Being Cyber Safe in 2017

 

This is often the time of year when people reflect on ways to improve their lives in the months ahead. It’s also a good time to give extra thought on ways to protect your online presence, whether at work, at home, or on the go.  Here are a few tips from the Intuit Information Security (IIS) team to keep in mind for a safer and more secure digital life in the year ahead. 

 

Check Your Online Privacy

One of the first steps you should do is to check your social media account settings and ensure that you limit the amount of personal information you share, and who you share it with.

An average person manages at least three social media accounts, the most prominent one being Facebook.  Understand the privacy and data use settings of each social media account and be up to date with the latest changes in their data policies.  Adjust your privacy settings accordingly until you’re comfortable with whom you share which posts or updates.  You can check your privacy settings on a variety of sites via this page on StaySafeOnline, available here: https://staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-day/check-your-privacy-settings/

 

Patch and Update All Your Software

Protect your devices and optimize your computing experience this year by making it a habit to always update and patch your software.  Remember to automate patches for all your software and uninstall those programs that are rarely used to minimize the risks of exploits.

 

Guard Your Mobile Devices

Mobile devices need to be protected from cyber threats to prevent data theft or loss, especially now that mobile payments are becoming more popular.

To do this, mobile users should check for unsafe settings that are enabled or left on by default on mobile devices.  Ensure you’re comfortable with how you share data over a wireless or Bluetooth connections and always be cautious over which apps are allowed to access your location or other sensitive data.  Install mobile security software that can instantly block harmful apps, alert you to unauthorized access, and encrypt your mobile data.

 

Secure Your Passwords

Properly managing passwords is part of everyone’s duty to protect their digital life.  Always use strong and unique passwords that are at least 8 characters in length and includes a mix of numbers, upper and lower case letters and at least one special character. Also, do not include any readily available information such as your name or birthday and select one that only you can decipher, and remember not to reuse the same passwords on different accounts.  

Also, whenever possible, opt to use two-factor authentication so as to provide another layer of security for your online accounts.

 

Protect Your Family

Finally, given that cybercriminals are likely to target users who may not know enough of the dangers of online computing, kids who use the Internet may inadvertently put the entire family at risk. Parents, teachers, and guardians would do well to limit kids’ access to the Internet via parental controls and filters.  Always monitor kids’ online activity and teach them about safe cyber practices. There are great resources available for parents at helpful sites like:  https://staysafeonline.org/  developed by the National Cyber Security Alliance.

 

Be sure to keep these tips top of mind whenever you use digital devices in the year ahead.