Cyber Security Awareness Month – 5 EASY Ways to Trick the Bad Guys

As we all know, Halloween is around the corner but let’s not allow the identity thieves and cyber hackers to get their treats this month! Cyber Security sounds like a foreign concept and something very difficult to learn, but, you’ll learn that with a few small changes to your routine, you can make huge improvements on how you protect your personal information online.

1. Simplify Your Passwords – We Know ‘Sk4H@oP$%’ Is NOT Easy To Remember

Simplify your passwords! No, this does not use simple dictionary words like ‘helloworld’ or ‘mynameis’. Instead, make them easy to remember with phrases such as ‘Lif31sGo0d!’ or ‘1Lov3!4mp’. Bet you didn’t have too difficult of a time reading those, did you? Substitute special characters and numbers into logical places instead of the regular alphabetical ones. Just be careful not to make too many substitutions, lest you forget your cool new pass-phrases.

Check just how secure your passwords are here.

2. Security Questions – Everyone Knows Your Mother’s Maiden Name

Answer ones that only you would know. With a little bit of digging, it’s easy for the bad guys to figure out your mother’s maiden name or the city you were born in. Try to answer questions like ‘Who was your best friend in elementary school?’ or ‘What was the first airport you’ve flown into?’

The only options available are easily learned information? There’s a simple fix: answer them wrong! Just make sure you answer them incorrect in a manner with which you won’t forget your ‘right’ one.

3. Social Check-Ins – They May Be Cool, But Now EVERYONE Knows Where You Are

Checking in on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any of the other social media sites just tells the bad guys exactly where you are. Not only does a social check-in notify all your friends and family where you are, but it also lets just about everyone (including the bad guys) to know exactly where you aren’t (like at home with that brand new 70 inch TV). Safeguard yourself and your stuff by avoiding any kind of action that could draw attention to exactly where you are.

4. Personally Identifiable Information – Just Because a Form Wants It, Doesn’t Mean It NEEDS It

Personally Identifiable Information (PII)? Safe Guard IT! Just because a form asks you for your social security number or other secure information, it doesn’t mean that you need to provide it. Make sure the person or organization you are handing it over to will respect it and treat it properly. If they don’t have a privacy policy on their website or have stated the purpose for collecting the information, it may be a good idea to leave that portion blank or find the Customer Service number on the website to ask for more details.

5. Remember Me – Everyone Wants to Be Remembered but Your Computer Doesn’t Know WHO You Are

Those nifty little ‘Remember Me’ check boxes or the harmless little ‘Automatically Log Me In’ buttons are tempting, but DON’T use them! Doing so leaves your accounts open to being used by anyone accessing the same computer or possibly even the same internet connection. This is especially important if you pop into the library to use one of their computers at lunch or borrow the free wifi at your local coffee shop.

It’s Time to Trick! (Conclusion)

Whether you start practicing all of these tips or only one, you will be making great strides to trick those bad guys. Navigating the highways of this internet dependent world will now be just a little bit safer because you are beginning to think consciously about Cyber Security and safeguarding your personally identifying information from those pesky identity thieves and hackers.