Five simple actions that will keep you and your family Internet safe

2016 was a significant year for online security events. Some of the biggest brands as well as hundreds of millions of individuals had their data stolen or accounts compromised. You, your friends and family shouldn’t have to experience this firsthand.

With a little extra discipline and by taking these five simple actions, you can protect your digital accounts, information and identity.

  1. I will create strong passwords and use different ones for my work and personal accounts. Using unique passwords will help limit your losses if you get hacked. Remembering the passwords to all your accounts can be tough, so consider using a password manager.
  2. I will not fall for phishing email scams and will only click on links and attachments I’m expecting to receive. Be skeptical and assume every message that appears in your inbox could be an attempt to download malicious software or steal your identity. The same applies to SMS messages.
  3. I will lock my mobile device with a strong PIN as well as activate the remote wipe and remote find features. Always install security updates on your phone and check if it’s running the latest operating software so it continues to receive patches.
  4. I will only visit and download content from trusted websites. For extra safety, use one computer exclusively for sensitive browsing such as banking and taxes, and another for general Internet use. If you don’t have the option of two computers, use one browser for sensitive browsing and a separate browser for general Internet use.
  5. I will check and adjust my privacy settings on Facebook and other social networking sites. Be aware of what you share on social media as it helps keep you and your family safe. Criminals often scout these sites and use knowledge about you to launch email scams and other cyber-attacks.

Finally, consider signing up for Google Alerts to receive email alerts whenever your name appears online. It’s a great start to tracking your digital footprint and it may provide an early indication of identity theft and other online scams.