The average American spends upwards of 10 hours each day connected to digital media. The problem with all that screen time? Many users neglect to safeguard their digital presence, according to the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA).
"We live in a global, always-connected digital age, and everyone needs to adopt good habits to lead a safer, more secure online life," says NCSA Executive Director Michael Kaiser. "As we think about how to better protect our virtual lives, we've identified three reliable practices that will empower Internet users to reap the benefits of connectivity with greater confidence.”
These three practices are:
1. Turning on Two-Step Authentication
To thwart cybercriminals, anyone who is active online should make a commitment to get two steps ahead and turn on two-step authentication—also known as two-step verification or multi-factor authentication—to make their accounts more secure. Activating this technology adds an additional layer of protection beyond a password to better protect the safety of your online identity and sensitive personal data.
Many of the Internet's most popular email services, social networks and financial institutions offer this key security step free of charge, but you must opt in to turn it on. Visit stopthinkconnect.org/2stepsahead to view a list of the websites that offer two-step authentication.
2. Limiting Exposure to Public WiF
There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and the same goes for free WiFi. Free public WiFi is often a playground for lurking cybercriminals waiting to obtain your personal data once you connect to an open network. Public wireless networks, including hotspots, are not secure, which means that anyone could potentially see what you are doing if you use them on your connected device.
To limit what you do on public WiFi, avoid logging in to key accounts like email and financial services. Consider using a virtual private network (VPN) or a personal or mobile hotspot for a more secure connection.
3. Assigning Digital Chores
Almost 70 percent of American households have between one and five devices at home connected to the Internet. With this increased connectivity, there is a need for maintenance where everyone in the household has a role to play. Just as families have daily tasks, like making the bed, or weekly chores, like mowing the lawn, all households should take responsibility to keep their connected families safe by incorporating ongoing digital maintenance into their household routines. This can include updating software and backing up documents to keeping up with latest ways to stay safe online.
Published with permission from RISMedia.