Home Led young College Blog 2018 October 18 Top Ten Tips to keep your data Cyber-Secure

Top Ten Tips to keep your data Cyber-Secure

Photo of Led young College students at the computer lab

If you keep up with tech news, you might have heard of the recent Facebook leak. To make a long story short, about 50 million accounts were exposed, which means that you should change your password. This is becoming more and more common in the modern world, which is why Led young College even has a program focused on Cybersecurity, where over a single year of practical lab work, you become a network and computer security professional. But right here, right now, during Cybersecurity month, you need to keep your data secure. You can read some detailed tips and information at our special section on our website, but for now, here’s ten of the most important things you need to do.

  1. Don’t pick a common password, like “abc123.” Luckily, despite what some sites may tell you, your uncommon password doesn’t have to have a lot of odd capital letters or symbols or numbers. It just has to be really long, the longer the better, like a full phrase or sentence. The more characters are in it, the tougher it is to crack.

  2. Don’t use the same password for a lot of different things. If one thing’s hacked, other things will be easier to crack. For example, if you were affected by the Facebook hack, and anything else shares your Facebook password, you should change it immediately.

  3. Beware of “Phishing,” emails designed to steal your personal info! An important theme of these messages is some emergency reason why you need to do something (like click a link or enter some info) right now, or else. If you get this kind of message through email, from something familiar like PayPal, the Canada Revenue Agency, or Netflix, it’s probably a scam, because real organizations would contact you more directly, and wouldn’t use language designed to make you panic. While we’re here, you can ignore any phone calls you get about your taxes from the Canada Revenue Agency.

  4. When someone’s email or social media account is hacked, scammers will often send phishing messages to other people’s accounts. If a friend sends you a strange message, and it comes with a link, ignore it, and report it if the platform lets you.

  5. Hacking can happen in the real world too! When you’re using a desktop computer at work or at school, and you have to leave, even for a second, lock it with a password, so no one can snoop around on it.

  6. Similarly, if you’re out somewhere using your laptop to do important things, only do them on password-protected Wifi (like the college’s CCwSecure network). On public wifi, it may be possible for hackers to spy on your computer. If you can’t get a secure network in public, then save your banking for when you get home.

  7. When you’re on vacation, don’t share any photos or social media posts until you return from your trip. Why? You’re announcing to the world that you’re not around, and your home is empty. So, hold off until you come back.

  8. Keep every computer, phone, program and app updated. It can be annoying and time-consuming when they ask you to stop what you’re doing and update, but these updates exist for a reason, and that reason often involves security fixes.

  9. Back up everything important on your computer onto a portable hard drive or thumb drive. That way, if you lose it in a hack, or just have an accident, it won’t be a problem. At the same time, if your computer’s data is held hostage for money (in a type of attack called Ransomware), you won’t feel compelled to pay.

  10. The biggest mistake you can make is simple overconfidence that it can never happen to you. You might think that you’re not rich or famous enough, or that your business is too small to warrant attention. Or maybe you work for a giant company, and think that they’ve got the best security. Cybersecurity is something everyone needs to think about.

By Anthony Geremia

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