Embracing the habit of regular cybersecurity check-ups


There are only two types of organizations: Those that have been hacked and those that don’t know it yet!
John Chambers

Digital defenders - take up arms

Just like regular visits to the doctor keep you healthy, periodic checkups of your personal cybersecurity can keep your online presence in tip-top shape. Cybersecurity checkups are crucial in detecting potential vulnerabilities and preventing breaches before they happen. This process should be as routine as updating your software – not a one-time fix, but a consistent part of your digital life. By making checkups regular, you ensure that your digital defences evolve alongside new threats.


Begin your cybersecurity checkup by ensuring all your software is up-to-date. Software developers release updates to patch security vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. Check your operating system, web browsers, antivirus programs, and other applications for updates. Turn on automatic updates where possible, so you're always running the latest versions. Remember, an outdated program is like an open door for cyber threats.


Next, assess your password management strategy. Are your passwords strong and unique for each account? Using a password manager can help create and store complex passwords. It's also a good time to change passwords, especially if you haven’t done so in the past six months or after a service announces a breach. Additionally, enable two-factor authentication (2FA) for an added security layer – it’s a shield that requires more than just the key to your password to break through.


Regularly review your financial statements and online accounts for unexplained transactions or changes to your personal information. This can be one of the first indicators of identity theft or a compromised account. Setting up alerts for account activity can also help you stay informed of changes without having to check manually constantly. It's like having a personal security guard that alerts you the moment something unusual happens.


Your home network is the gateway to your online world, so it needs to be secure. Change the default username and password on your router to something unique and complex. Ensure your Wi-Fi network is on a WPA3 connection if available, as it’s currently the strongest level of encryption for home networks. Be wary of using public Wi-Fi for sensitive transactions, and consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when you do, as it creates a private tunnel for your data.


An often-overlooked aspect of personal cybersecurity is your digital footprint – the trail of data you leave online. Go through your social media accounts and review your privacy settings, limiting who can see your posts and personal information. Delete old accounts you no longer use to minimise the risk of those accounts being breached and used against you. It’s like throwing away old documents that may contain sensitive information – if they don’t exist, they can’t be used by identity thieves.


Finally, take a step back and reflect on your general cybersecurity awareness. Are you staying informed about the latest scams and threats? Make a point to educate yourself on new cybersecurity trends and best practices. Follow reputable sources that provide timely updates on security threats and advice on protective measures. Think of it as continuous education for your digital well-being.

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