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Cyber Security: Digital Routines for the New Year

Our digital world can be a scary place. Preparing for the new year is a great time to establish new digital routines to stay vigilant and protected online.

Protect yourself from fraud:

Connect using trusted sources: only access your online accounts while connected to a trusted network, or on your own password-protected device.

Only open emails from those you know: Never click on email links or attachments

from unknown sources, or if the email seems off. Signs of phishing attempts include:

  • Misspelled domain

  • Poorly written email

  • Heightened sense of urgency

  • Unlikely promises or offers

Keep your device up to date: Install reputable anti-virus software on the device you use for your online account. And be sure to stay up-to-date on your security updates. Malwarebytes offers free versions to scan and clean viruses.

Be careful when giving your information: If you get a call or text from someone demanding personal information, never give it to them. Hang up immediately.

Passwords and Digital Security

  • Have a unique password for every account: This is critical to defend against hackers who try to break in using the same username and password combinations.

  • Don’t use any personally identifiable information in your passwords. Names, birthdays, and street addresses may be easy to remember but they are also easily found online and should always be avoided in passwords.

  • Make sure your passwords are at least 12 characters long and contain numbers as well as special characters.

  • If you’re creating a master password that you’ll need to remember, try using phrases or lyrics from your favourite song. Add random characters but not in easy patterns.

  • Avoid weak, commonly used passwords like asd123, password1, or Temp!.

  • Avoid using similar passwords that change only a single word or character. This practice weakens your account security across multiple sites.

  • Change your passwords when you have a reason to, such as having to share them, after a website has had a breach, or it has been over a year since you last rotated it.

We recommend LastPass to simplify your digital life. The service has a strong password generator, and it’s build right into your browser so that you can access your passwords on your computer or your mobile device. See how LastPass works.

There is a free option available, and you can set up dark web monitoring.


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