Use this cybersecurity checklist to be safe online in 2021

Jan 2, 2021, 7:15 AM
(Pixabay photo)...
(Pixabay photo)
(Pixabay photo)

Q: What, if anything, do I need to do in light of the massive SolarWinds compromise?

A: The details from one of the biggest hacks in history continue to come out, but we may never know just how much information was compromised.

The hackers used what is known as a ‘supply chain attack’ on a tool used by tens of thousands of large companies and many government agencies, which potentially provided some form of access to them all.

What Should You Do?

As it pertains to the SolarWinds incident, there’s really nothing you can do directly since the compromise is widespread and had nothing to do with your computers or other devices under your control.

The biggest threat to you will likely be future attempts to target you based on the personal data that has been acquired from the hack.

The good news is that all of the existing cybersecurity advice designed to provide layers of protection still apply which I’ll call my 2021 Cybersecurity Checklist.

#1 – Get a Password Manager

Passwords continue to be one of the weakest links in the security chain especially when they are too short and used on multiple accounts.

The only way to effectively use long complicated passwords for each of your online accounts is through a password manager such as LastPass, RoboForm or for technical users, KeePass.

#2 – Two-Factor Authentication

No matter how well you manage your passwords, if the website you’re using it on gets breached, the bad guys will have it and potentially try to use it without you knowing it.

The only way to keep them from using your password and simultaneously alert you to the fact that someone has acquired your password is by turning on Two-Factor Authentication on every important account you use.

#3 – Update Your Router

One of the biggest targets in your home or business is the router, which is connected to every device on your network. If the bad guys can gain access to your router, they can potentially compromise any or all of your devices.

There are two major updates you need to make: The administrator’s password and the firmware, which is the software that controls the hardware.

If your router still has the factory default administrator’s password, it’s known by every hacker on the planet, so change it. The firmware update is how security updates are added to your router.

#4 – Trust Nothing

Spear Phishing scams are still one of the most efficient ways to start any ‘hack’, so treat every email or text message you get as ‘guilty, until proven innocent’.

#5 – Backup, Backup, Backup

Ransomware attacks are expected to become more sophisticated and prevalent and the only way to avoid paying to get your data back is from a secure backup. Online backups are the best protection as they aren’t accessible like a local backup would be.

#6 – Purge Info From Social Media

Review all your social media accounts for personal information such as phone numbers, your home address, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, etc. and purge it.

#7 – Review and Freeze Accounts

To reduce account and credit fraud, review your online accounts regularly and if have no plans to apply for credit, freeze your credit files.

Data Doctors

(Pexels Photo)...
Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

Here are the benefits of having a virtual private network at home

A VPN is a tool that can provide a variety of security and usability services that are most useful on networks that are shared by others or when you are traveling.
6 days ago
(File Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)...
Data Doctors

Here’s what you need to know about syncing multiple Windows computers

Making your computers look and work the same way has it’s obvious benefits. Both Windows 10 and 11 have the ability to sync lots of settings.
20 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Data Doctors

Here are conversion websites and programs that are safe to use

Q: Are file conversion websites safe to use? A: It’s not uncommon to have a file sent to you in a format your computer can’t make use of and it needs to be converted. In some cases, a program that you already have installed may be able to convert the file for you. A common […]
27 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Data Doctors

Here’s what you need to know about end of Facebook Trusted Contacts feature

Facebook hasn’t given a reason why they are shutting down the important Trusted Contacts security feature.
1 month ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Data Doctors

Tips to understanding full virus scan information

Depending upon your setup, there are a few things you can check for to help you understand what and where files are stored on your computer.
1 month ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Data Doctors

A handful of free and easy video editors for beginners

For those looking to get into video editing, here are a few options that work directly on smartphones, computers and tablets.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Use this cybersecurity checklist to be safe online in 2021