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Top Cyber Security Tips That IT Professionals Should Tell Their Family and Friends

February 19, 2021 No Comments

Featured article by Russell Emmental, Independent Technology Author


Computer hackers have a treasure trove of tools they use to threaten your cybersecurity. While you might be an expert, remember that most people aren’t, especially people who do not use computers regularly.

Unfortunately, there are millions of data breaches every year. These hackers know most people aren’t IT experts and do not have the best anti-virus software, Office Consumer-approved equipment, etc. They target internet users maliciously with scams that compromise their identity and personal information.

If you have loved ones who could use some cybersecurity tips, here’s are five things you know that they probably don’t.

1. How to Debunk Phishing Emails

We send a whole lot of personal emails daily. Usually, people don’t even think twice about it. Spear phishing hackers take advantage of this and sneakily try to get users to share personal information, passwords, and financial information.

A lot of the time, the tactics used by phishing emails are quite sophisticated. Tell your loved ones to look out for unusual or incorrect URLs in embedded email links (hover over a link to see the direct URL address), random requests for money or personal information, and any attachments that seem suspicious.

Tell them that a good rule of thumb is only to open a message if it is from an email account they recognize. A hacker could use your loved one’s name and create a fake email with their picture, so tell your loved one only to respond to emails they can verify.

2. Switch from Passwords to Passphrases

Hackers have programs for systematically testing out millions of possible passwords. It’s as easy as going to sleep and waking up to check on the program that tests one possible password combo after another.

To protect your loved ones against harmful programs like these, tell them to use a passphrase instead of a password. Using a combination of special characters, numbers, and both upper and lowercase letters, they will have a complicated password. Even the most advanced hacking programs will have trouble cracking it.

3. Keep Bluetooth Off

If your loved one is not using your phone’s Bluetooth capabilities, turn it off. People with malicious intent can connect to a person’s phone via a Bluetooth connection and use this link to steal data.

4. Keep Your Browsers Up to Date

Drive-by cyberattacks are increasing exponentially, so tell loved ones to be aware of what their web browser might be doing in the background.

A person could be visiting a perfectly harmless website, and the website owner may not know that malware has compromised their site. Sites running in the background can attack visitors.

To avoid this, show your friend or family member how to keep their internet browsers updated. Many browsers, such as Firefox and Google Chrome, will offer automatic update options that protect against these scams.

5. Use WPA2 for Your Router Encryption

A lot of older routers utilize an encryption type called WEP, which is Wired Equivalent Privacy. WEP is vulnerable to hacking by software programs that anybody can access.

Check your loved one’s router security settings. They should use WPA, but preferably they should have Wi-Fi Protected Access 2, or WPA2. You can check this by clicking on the wireless network icon on your computer screen.

Don’t forget to tell them to set a custom passphrase for their Wi-Fi password, as any decent hacker will know the default router passwords that major companies give out.

Bottom Line

One of the perks of being an IT professional is protecting your loved ones against malicious cyber-attacks. Take this responsibility seriously and ensure your loved ones are using the internet safely. They could be the target of a malicious scam without knowing it, so check out their router settings and passwords at the very least.


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