Cybersecurity month: Four steps you can take to protect your online identity today


(NEWS10) — To prevent a cyber attacker from stealing personal information, News10 gathered four steps you can take to protect yourself online.

GreyCastle security specialist Adam Dean said the top four things cyber users can do to protect themselves online today are enabling multi-factor authentication, being aware of common cyber attacks, frequently changing your passwords and continuously monitoring bank accounts for suspicious activity.

  1. Enable multi-factor authentication

Multifactor authentication is a security process that requires more than one method of authentication from independent sources to verify the identity of a user. Basically, the system is trying to make sure the right person is trying to log in by asking a user to verify their identity through two or more different methods.

There are three categories of credentials: something you know, have or are.

Usually, systems will send you a one-time unique code to either your phone or email after you log into your acocount as a second step to ensuring the correct person is logging in.

Multifactor authentication is an additional layer of security, while it can be tedious and take extra time, it’s worth it to protect your identity and personal data.

2. Knowing common cyber attacks and how to deal with them.

While there are many types of cyber attacks, here’s a few of the most common ones.

  • Malware: A term used to describe malicious software such as spyware, ransomware, viruses and worms. Malware usually occurs when someone clicks on a link or email attachment that installs risky software. Malware can block access to important information in exchange for cryptocurrency or install harmful software to a device.
  • Phishing- Potentially the most common cyber attack, it is the practice of sending a fake message usually through messengers or email. The intent is to steal sensitive information like online banking logins and credit card numbers or to install malware on a device.
  • Distributed Denial-of-service attack (DDoS)- This cyber attack sends multiple data requests to the users server. The intent is to stop the server from completing legitimate requests, so the hacker can take advantage of the victim by providing a “solution” in exhange for money.

3. Changing passwords frequently

Dean suggests changing your password every 90 days. Passwords should ideally be long and complex, and while they are hard to remember, they can save you a headache in the future, he added.

Some tips to secure your password:

  • Use a long passphrase. Maybe take your favorite news headline, or the title of the last book you read.
  • Dont make easy to guess passwords.
  • Avoid using common words in your password, substitute letter with symbols, numbers or marks.
  • Utilize a password manager to remember your long passwords. There are services out there that will help you store your passwords so you do not have to remember them, but they come at a cost. Some of the top rated password managers are: Dashlane, Sticky Password, LastPass Premium and Password Boss.

4. Continously monitoring your bank accounts and statements for suspicious activity

Online banking has made it easy for consumers to report any fraudulent activity fast, Dean said. If you notice any suspicious activity, call your bank immediately and report it.

Make sure to keep checking for more on Cyber Security topics throughout October.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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