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With more people being home and turning to social media for entertainment there's been a huge increase in people chatting and playing games online. One very popular set of games on Facebook asks people to share trivia about themselves. While these seem harmless, a lot of the information being shared could help bad guys answer the security questions for your accounts.
Computer infections are very much like real-life infections; they often rely on people to spread and can frequently be coming from someone you know and trust. Here are some things you can do to keep yourself safer as you surf the web.
1) Use a different password for every service you sign up for. This prevents the bad guys from turning one compromised account into a compromise of all of your accounts. If you have trouble remembering passwords, try a password manager.
2) Set strong passwords. In general, long passwords are better but can be harder to remember. If you're not using a password manager try using passphrases. For example, 3Purplestairchairs# is easier to remember and satisfies the password requirements for most sites.
3) Avoid commonly used passwords. If your password looks anything like Spring2020!! or qwertyuiop1! you should probably go change it now.
4) Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) everywhere you can. A password is something you know. 2FA also requires something you have, like an app or text message, to verify your identity. Using an app or token is ideal, but even having the service send you a login code via text message is still very good.
5) Be careful with anything you receive unexpectedly, even from people you know and trust. Mouse over any links before you click them to make sure that they're going to the expected location.
6) Be wary of messages with misspellings, generic greetings (Dear Customer), or language that's designed to create a sense of urgency. All of the above can serve as indicators that someone is trying to deceive you.
7) Make sure that your operating system and anti-virus are being kept up to date. Out of date software can contain vulnerabilities that can lead to infection. Viruses that attack Windows XP, Vista, and old versions of Microsoft Office are still circulated on a regular basis.
8) If it's too good to be true, it's probably fraud. If it involves purchasing gift cards, cashing a check, opening a bank account, or sending someone a processing fee for a prize, someone is probably trying to steal your money.
Stay safe out there and feel free to share this. If you've got people in your life that are less tech-savvy make sure that they're being protected. The elderly are especially prone to being taken advantage of because they lack the experience that many of us have grown up having.