Did you know that in 2020, 3.81 billion people use social media worldwide? In other words: 49% of the world’s population is online in some form, for an average of 2.5 hours daily. Our connection–and exposure—is vast. It’s essential to do your part and #BeCyberSmart! For Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we created these 5 tips to help you better protect yourself online.
- If you connect it, protect it. Whether it’s your phone, computer, or gaming device, your best defense against viruses and malware is updating to the latest security software, web browsers, and operating systems. When you can, sign up for automatic updates and protect yourself with anti-virus software.
- Limit what you post. Never post specific information about yourself—including your full name, address, birthday, and even vacation plans. Even “harmless” information—such as checking into your favorite coffee place—can be used by cybercriminals. It only takes small pieces of information for cybercriminals to put together a complete profile. Remember that there is no “delete” button on social media. Even if you post something for a few seconds before removing it, chances are someone still saw it.
- Speak up. If a friend posts something that makes you uncomfortable or you feel is inappropriate, let them know. Remember to stay open-minded if a friend approaches you with the same concern. Report and block harassing users, especially if you see instances of cyberbullying. If you’ve been a cybercrime victim, report it—local and national authorities are ready to help you.
- Update your privacy settings. Most social media platforms allow you to set your profile and posts to different privacy levels. Choose the level that you’re comfortable with in relation to the information that will be shared. You also have the option to disable geotagging. This feature allows for your location to be identified, which means anyone can see where you are—and where you aren’t—at any given time.
- Connect with people you trust. While some social media sites might seem safer for connecting because of limited personal information, keep your connections to people you know and trust.
You can never be too careful online. Answers to common security questions, such as your mother’s maiden name or the name of your first pet, can be information pulled from social media by cyber criminals to target you in a cyber-attack. #BeCyberSmart and use these tips to help keep you and your family safe online. To learn more, visit the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency website.