The pandemic reinforced the importance of good hygiene practices to remain healthy. Good cyberhygiene practices are equally important to keep your electronic devices and data safe.
What is cyberhygiene?
“Technology is famous for throwing some words together and expecting everyone to know what it means,” says John Joyce, an owner at CRS Technology Consultants. “Cyberhygiene is one of those where it makes sense. It’s exactly what it sounds like – best practices and habits to keep yourself, your data and your devices as safe as they can be from cybercriminals.”
John offered cyberhygiene tips to ABC7 viewers during a segment that aired July 15, 2022.
VIEW MORE: Tech Bytes: Tips for cyber hygiene
Below is a recap of that interview:
Cybercriminals and Cyberhygiene
Cyber hygiene is a set of practices, policies and habits that keep your electronic devices – and data – safe from cybercriminals. Cybersecurity is one of CRS Technology Consultants’ areas of expertise and its security specialists focus on best practices to protect hardware, software and networks.
As we saw during the pandemic, hygiene is critically important to your health. If you follow what health experts recommend, like washing your hands and wearing a mask, you minimize your risk of getting sick. It doesn’t mean you won’t get sick, but you decrease the likelihood. The same holds true for cyberhygiene.
Cybercriminals are looking for easy targets.
“Think about it as a criminal in a neighborhood going door by door looking for the unlocked one,” Joyce says. “If they can save themselves the trouble of having to break in, they’re going to take the easiest target.”
The easiest targets are ones with unlocked doors, open garage doors and homes with window shades open to reveal the interior.
Cyberhygiene Best Practices
Everyone plays a role in public health to stop the spread of COVID-19, the flu and other illnesses.
“If you’re sick, don’t come to work or else you’re going to spread that to other people,” John says. “The same goes with cyberhygiene and security. If you’re that least common denominator, if you’re the way that they get in, they can then jump to your family’s information, your friend’s information or your workplace and have it effect your business, where the risks can even be greater.”
The most important cyberhygiene practice is education. Everyone with an electronic device – cell phones, computers, laptops and tablets – should know what to do and not to do. One weak link is all cybercriminals need to access data or a network.
There are DIY quick fixes that anyone can do:
- Check updates: Ensure apps, operating systems and browsers are using the latest version. Many people hesitate to download updates because they are fearful of potential changes or bugs. That can be costly, John says. “At the end of the day, the security you get from those updates is more beneficial than the potential risks.”
- Back up files: Securely save information on the cloud or a remote server.
- Install security software: Programs run 24/7 to keep systems and devices safe.
- Passwords: Create complex passwords with letters, numbers and characters, and change passwords every 30-90 days.
Additional cyberhygiene practices that require a little more tech savviness include:
- Encrypting data: Use a VPN when connecting remotely.
- Implement a firewall. This system prohibits access from the outside.
- Multifactor authentication: This security measure requires two forms of ID verification to gain access.