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Five basic cyber security rules you need to start following today

Practical advice to help you be more secure online

Consider your machines, be aware of your own behaviour, and connect with care.

How are you protecting your sensitive data and personal information? Your cybersecurity could be at risk if you’re not implementing these fundamental precautions in your daily digital life…

Rule #1 | Maintain your security software

Obvious, right? We know. But life is hectic. It’s easy to forget a software renewal or security update when you’re busy at work or caught up in the daily realities of family life.

Having up-to-date security software, a modern operating system, and the latest version of your favourite web browser will strengthen your overall defence against cyber threats like viruses and malware.

Rule #2 | Safeguard all your web-enabled devices

How often do you connect to the Internet? And how do you do it? Tablet? Mobile phone? Smartwatch? Gaming console?

The computer on your desk is not the only machine that needs protection from online dangers. Think about the smaller devices on your wrist, in your hand, or in your pocket. They need to be shielded from cybercriminals, too.

Rule #3 | Pause before you plug and play

External hard drives, flash drives, and other plug-and-play peripherals are susceptible to the same malicious infections that could jeopardise your computer.

Stop and think before you connect a new device to your machine. Do you know what’s on that USB stick? Do you trust the person who gave it to you? Even if you do, run a security scan anyway.

Rule #4 | Crank up your login credentials

Usernames and passwords aren’t enough to protect important assets like your email and online banking accounts. Opt for the strongest authentication tools available to you: iris scans, fingerprint scans, and one-time codes will add extra layers of security to your logins.

In the absence of multi-factor authentication, make sure you create powerful passwords unique to each account. Include a mix of alphanumeric and special characters, and use uppercase and lowercase letters. Do not rely on easy-to-guess passwords like 12345678 and QWERTY. Ever.

Rule #5 | Look for proof of protection

When you’re banking or shopping online, check that the website is secure. Look for the https:// in the URL so that you know your connection to the website is encrypted.

Some web browsers provide visual cues about website safety… For example, a padlock icon in the URL field to indicate a secure website. Verify that protective measures are in place before you enter sensitive personal or financial information.

No technology is impervious to cybercriminals, but you can improve your personal cybersecurity by being more responsible online, today and every day.

BUI is an official Microsoft Partner in South Africa, and an award-winning leader in identity and security solutions.

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