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

USB-C on iPhone...

Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

An explanation of the confusing state of USB-C cables

Q: If USB-C is a connection standard, what do the expensive cables do for me over the cheap ones? Here's a quick and simple answer.

6 days ago

woman at printer...

Data Doctors

Here’s how to bypass your printer when filling out forms

A major issue with having a printer in harsh environments is that printer jets can become clogged when they are rarely used, so I’d suggest an alternative.

13 days ago

man holds cellphone...

Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

Here’s what to do if you think your phone is listening to your conversations

As scary as it may seem that big tech is listening to everything we say, the reality of what they are doing is much more invasive.

20 days ago

(Photo by Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)...

Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

Hard drive maintenance tips everyone should know

Depending upon the age and type of hard drive, the potential failures can be mechanical or electronic so the first thing to do is pay attention!

27 days ago

laptop opened on desk...

Data Doctors

Here are 5 critical security tips for your laptop you need to know

There are very significant threats you should protect against and know what to do should you find yourself dealing with them.

1 month ago

man sits on phone...

Data Doctors

A brief explanation on how to schedule text messages

There are plenty of ways that allow users to schedule text messages, but we combined a short list to lend some guidance.

2 months ago

Sponsored Articles



Importance of AC maintenance after Arizona’s excruciating heat wave

An air conditioning unit in Phoenix is vital to living a comfortable life inside, away from triple-digit heat.



When most diets fail, re:vitalize makes a difference that shows

Staying healthy and losing weight are things many people in Arizona are conscious of, especially during the summer.



Here are the biggest tips to keep your AC bill low this summer

PHOENIX — In Arizona during the summer, having a working air conditioning unit is not just a pleasure, but a necessity. No one wants to walk from their sweltering car just to continue to be hot in their home. As the triple digits hit around the Valley and are here to stay, your AC bill […]

Use this cybersecurity checklist to be safe online in 2021