Emily Gaines, Class of 2018, is a Public Relations Coordinator for the Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas.
Since 2004, The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) has recognized October as National Cybersecurity Month. The more technology advances, and we come to depend on it, the more important it is to regularly use smart cybersecurity practices.
Especially as a student, your whole life can easily be kept on your phone and laptop. Your finances can be tracked from banking apps. You can even pay your friends back for dinner or coffee from apps just by inputting your banking or credit card information. Important information for all your classes lives in documents on your computer. You likely only keep photos of events in your phone’s camera roll. There’s nothing wrong with these things, it’s just the way we live these days. However, we need to adjust how we keep our information, documents and memories safe.
Take a moment this National Cybersecurity Month to use these tips from your Better Business Bureau and keep yourself safer:
- Identify. Take stock of the main devices and technologies you use in your day to day life, as well as the information you would need to rebuild if you were hacked or if your devices crashed. If you buy a new phone or computer, find a safe and convenient place to keep the following information: manufacturer, make, model and serial number.
- Protect. Assess what kind of protective measures you should have in place. These can include things like:
- Installing security patches and updates (both on devices and in apps).
- Backing up your systems and data.
- Using encrypted Wi-Fi with a strong password.
- Opting for two-factor authentication on your devices and social media.
- Detect. There are extra measures you can put in place to detect current or potential threats to your systems. You should also regularly monitor your email, network, desktop and storage for signs of unusual activity.
- Respond. Have a plan in place in the event you have a cybersecurity threat. Know who you should contact for help, and what you can do on your end to help stop an attack.
- Recover. Have a recovery plan for after an incident happens. Depending on how severe that incident may be, this could be as simple as accessing your files from the cloud (be sure to back it up regularly). Knowing how you will recover ahead of time can save you stress down the road.
Stay secure online, and to learn more about these five steps to better cybersecurity, visit us at bbb.org.