1. Use strong, complex passwords.
We’re talking passphrases, full out sentences, and combinations of upper, lower, numeric and special characters. Get creative and make sure it’s something the dog can’t figure out!
2. Use a unique password for every single online account.
We know this means that you have dozens – if not hundreds! – of logins to remember, but this is why a password manager, such as Sticky Password, is such a good idea to use on personal devices. With a password manager, you never have to remember a login, and the software helps you come up with super strong passwords for each account.
3. Learn when to NOT give out personal information.
Learn when to NOT give out personal information and only give out the minimum amount of personally identifiable information to known persons. Cats are super private and know to only share their secrets with people they know. Monitor your credit reports, google your name, and stay informed about the state of your identity.
4. Set up a secure WiFi network that doesn’t broadcast the SSID.
Manufacturers normally ship their products with the same default SSID set, such as Linksys. You should change it to something unique, such as LitterB0x42, and then disable SSID Broadcast. You don’t need that unless you have several wireless networks at home.
5. Keep a backup of all your personal information.
The cloud is good, but make sure to use a hard drive as well, and remember, the cloud is just another word for “someone else’s computer” so keep that in mind when storing private information or photos.
6. Install anti-virus and anti-malware software.
Avoid pesky fleas and digital bugs by installing anti-virus and anti-malware software on any device that touches the internet. Keep it updated and run it regularly. Malware can come at us from any direction, through email, instant messaging, text messages, even online advertisements.
7. Don’t let the dog use the admin account.
There should only be one person with admin access per device. One big boss. That account should only be used when changes are being made to the computer. If the kids and other family members use the admin account then accidental (and permanent!) changes could be made without your knowledge or permission. So take control and give everyone their own account access.
8. Physically protect your devices.
Avoid personal disasters by using surge protectors (lightning can destroy electronics!), keeping liquids away from all technology (cranberry juice will destroy that laptop!), and keeping devices out of reach of the youngest family members (kitties can destroy smartphones!)
9. Learn to identify – and delete! – phishing emails.
Phishing attacks are on the rise and getting very sophisticated. So sniff out those phishes and catch ‘em before they catch you!
10. Create a family security policy.
Set up a home security policy for you and your family to follow. Everyone in the family – including that dog! – needs to follow the rules.
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