So bored!

Written by Josh Brown, Director of Security

“SO BORED!”

What’s the worst that can happen? Both being bored, and that last phrase, are statements I am seeing constantly as people are obeying the stay-at-home order throughout the DMV. But boredom can lead to some really risky behaviors, especially when online, reading email, texts and social media. The fear is that the more we are working from home, staying in touch with family and friends and just staying connected, the more we will let our guard down.

Here are some suggestions to improve your online safety while you have the time at home.

Clean up your passwords. So many people reuse passwords, often limiting all they do online to just one set of login credentials. Consider purchasing a password vault or password security app. Criminals only need to hack one of the services you log into to acquire all that is required to own your online life, unless you use different passwords for every site you visit! And when was the last time you changed your online banking password?

Clean up your computer! If you are going to change your passwords, first clean up your computer. Consider downloading Malwarebytes to run a deep scan and make sure you aren’t already compromised. I had one person tell me her computer was clean and she only used it for a very few things online. I convinced her to run Malwarebytes and she found over 100 instances of malware and adware. Malwarebytes (free version) won’t cost you anything, and could even speed up your computer.

Netsafe recommends you perform an “egosearch.” Netsafe.org recommends you “use a search engine to look up your own name to see the results. If you’re seeing your whole life story come up, it may be time for a clean-up. Go through your social media accounts and delete any personal information you don’t want shared with the entire world. Once your information is out there it can be hard to get it back, so always think carefully before you hit post and create a digital footprint.” I recommend you use a search engine or browser that does not track your every move and search. I use DuckDuckGo. I got annoyed when looking for a new car and adds for cars started popping up in my news feed and on social media. Use a secure browser search engine and you won’t have that any more.

For more great tips, visit https://www.netsafe.org.nz/the-best-online-safety-tips-for-lockdown/

-TFB