In these unprecedented times, when many of our clients are working, studying and entertaining their families from home, people rely on technology more than ever.

Cybercriminals know that there are more ways to take advantage of vulnerabilities and mistakes to access protected and personal information. If you’re working virtually for a company or your kids are taking classes online, don’t count on the business or school to take the lead in detecting malicious activity. Make sure you’re actively protecting yourself!

These ten tips may help you stay cyber safe, even in periods of uncertainty:

1. Ensure all software is up to date.

Remote access technologies have known vulnerabilities and are all too often the weak link that cybercriminals use to gain access to your personal information. Make sure to update all software and applications to patch any discovered weaknesses to protect you and your family.

2. Connect to the Internet through a secure network.

When you connect to a public network, a cybercriminal could access any information you share online or via a mobile app. When accessing confidential information from your employer, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt your activity. Most organizations provide a VPN to their employees to ensure secure, remote access for work use; personal VPN accounts are available from various service providers. If your kids are accessing a website for online learning, make sure your router software is updated and you’re using a strong password that only your family knows.

3. Use strong passwords.

Many people use the same or similar version of a password for everything, even between work and home. Unfortunately, this means hackers can reuse a single stolen password to unlock dozens of accounts. While remembering secure and complex passwords for every account can be difficult, you can use password management software that provides strong, unique passwords for everything.

4. Use multifactor authentication.

Traditional user login and password accounts are easy for cyber criminals to crack. Whenever possible, set up multifactor authentication on your accounts. This requires you to provide at least two authenticating factors, or proofs of identity, before you can access protected data, giving you a second line of defence against criminal activity. This additional level of protection is essential when you are accessing networks remotely because hackers will have a harder time accessing a private network.

5. Only share info on social media with friends and family.

While you and your kids are stuck at home or practicing social distancing, you may want to turn to social media to connect with friends and family. Just make sure you’re only sharing with people you know. Cybercriminals constantly target social media accounts, so don’t let them in yours.

6. Keep your smart toys and homes updated.

Hackers are finding ways to infiltrate smart appliances, homes, and toys — especially if they are not protected with strong passwords. Change the default password and update the software regularly. Keep an eye on how your children use their smart toys and turn them off during private discussions.     

7. Only open links, attachments and downloads from trusted resources.

While you may want to stay informed about the latest information, especially during periods of uncertainty, hackers will attempt to take advantage of you by tricking you into thinking a malicious link is important and informative. Once you click the link, hackers can access your or your organization’s private information and freeze the computers or networks. If you’re not sure about the source, go to the organization’s website to gain the information.

8. Verify website URLs.

Hackers can easily create fake websites where the URL and homepage look remarkably identical to a site you trust and share confidential information on — like your healthcare provider, bank or email provider. Instead of following a link in an email, type the URL in by hand. Also, make sure the site you visit has HTTPS in the URL; these sites are more secure than those with HTTP

9. Don’t respond to information requests from unknown sources.

Cybercriminals attempt to con people into sharing confidential information by pretending to be someone you know, such as a co-worker. Take extra care to identify who you’re sharing information with before you share it — even if you think the request came from a trusted resource or organization. Don’t feel rushed; take the time to research the request and whether it’s appropriate before responding.

10.  Make sure you’re protected.

With a cyber insurance policy, you have access to crisis management services to help prevent and manage cyber incidents. Keep your family, identity and personal information safe with a Cyber Insurance policy!