Protecting Yourself this Cybersecurity Month

Since it’s Cybersecurity Month, we asked the Information Security team at Dime for their tips and tricks for protecting yourself against dark corners of the internet.

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Photo by: methodshop

Long Island, NY - October 23, 2018 - October might be known for Halloween, but there are spookier things out there than ghosts and ghouls. Cyber crimes are on the rise — it seems like every month we hear about another hack or breach of security. Are you protected against the cyber thieves?
Since it’s Cybersecurity Month, we asked the Information Security team at Dime for their tips and tricks for protecting ourselves against the cyberghouls lurking in the dark corners of the internet. With years of experience and more certifications than you can shake a stick at, they certainly know their stuff. 
Here’s what they recommend. 
1. Make sure all of your devices are secure
Most people have virus protection on their computers (and if you don’t — get some now), but what about the other devices in your home? Your Google home or Alexa? Your Ring system or your Nest? Your smart TVs — even your Roomba. Since they’re all Wi-Fi-enabled devices, they can all be hacked by cyber thieves. 
Leaving your devices unsecured is almost like leaving your front door wide open while you’re at work every day. From ransomware to data theft, your data is at risk if you aren’t careful. Take some time to secure your Wi-Fi and your devices. 
2. Your computer isn’t the only thing that holds your data
Your computer stores a lot of data about you. It might even know more about you than you do: from your passwords to your favorite Netflix shows to your Amazon shopping cart and your Google search history. But it’s not the only thing that tracks your movements. 
Do you wear a smartwatch or a fitness tracker? Does it track where you’ve gone, when you leave and when you come home every day? What about your smartphone-synced alarm system? It knows when you arm and disarm your home each day. It’s only a matter a time before the hackers who’ve broken into your devices turn into burglars who break into your home. 
3. You really can’t use the same password for everything
There are a lot of rules floating around about how to create strong passwords. It can be hard to know what to follow and what’s just being overcautious. 
But that’s the thing — you can’t be too overcautious when it comes to your online security. Especially since most of us live a great deal of our lives online. Make sure your passwords are very strong. Avoid using words you can find in a dictionary — even changing and S to a $ or an A to a @ isn’t enough, and can easily be hacked. Try using a strong of nonsensical and unrelated words (intermixed with numbers and symbols). Or try mixing everything together until it doesn’t even resemble a human language. Unfortunately, even those passwords can be hacked after a time, so make sure you completely change your passwords on a regular basis, and use multi-factor authentication whenever you can. 
4. And take the time to do those pesky updates
We know, we know. Those updates are a pain. They take forever and you always have to restart your computer. But trust the experts at Dime — those updates protect you from the worst of the worst. Every time your computer, tablet, or smartphone maker uncovers a new weakness in your device or software, they send out an update to protect you from it before a hacker can exploit it and steal your information. Don’t put them off — just get them over with and protect yourself. 
5. Dime takes your security seriously — as so should you
At Dime, the Information Security team works tirelessly to ensure your finances and information are constantly and consistently protected. Keeping a wary eye for anything that seems even the tiniest bit off can be the difference between living a normal, everyday life, and having someone in another country living a normal, everyday life with your information and money. So make sure you take your security as seriously as Dime does. 
If you have any questions about Dime, contact a representative today at 1-800-321-DIME (3463).