Developing and maintaining good cyber hygiene habits is essential to stay safer online. Cyber hygiene encompasses the measures you can take to improve your online security, as well as maintain healthy and secure devices.
Just like regular hygiene these practices should be incorporated into your daily routine, and adopting a security-centric mindset can help reduce many potential risks to you and your organisation.
So, what are some practical cyber hygiene habits you can put into action?
Cyber Hygiene Habits to Adopt
- Education and Research
You don’t need to be a cyber security professional to practice good cyber hygiene. Keeping up to date with the latest security best practices is an easy and cost-effective way to enhance your overall online safety.
Education is also critical to help mitigate cyber risks. Whether through employer-provided awareness training, free online courses, or a quick Google search for ‘cyber hygiene best practices’, you’re sure to learn something that will help keep you and your organisation safe.
- Clean Desk Policy
Most people enjoy a clean and clutter-free workspace, whether it’s at home or in the office. But there’s a secondary benefit to clearing your desk at the end of the day: information security.
A clean desk policy involves removing any sensitive personal or business information from your desk daily. This includes USB sticks, notebooks, business cards, and printed documents. Developing a habit of storing confidential documents and removable media in locked drawers, or properly disposing of them at the end of the day is an essential practice to adopt.
Establishing a regular backup routine ensures you can retrieve your data in any situation. This may involve data being backed up offline on an external hard drive, or the cloud. Regularly backing up important files to a separate, secure location also ensures that if someone gains access to your computer, they can’t permanently delete or tamper with confidential information.
- Strong Passwords
Strong password controls are among the most effective ways to maintain your cyber hygiene. You can create complex passwords using a mix of symbols, numbers, and capital and lowercase letters. It’s also essential to use long passphrases instead of passwords when possible – aim for at least 10-12 characters.
Using a password manager is an excellent way to keep track of all your passwords, and allows you to use unique passwords for different services without having to remember them all. Lastly, you should never share or write down your passwords, and if you suspect your password has been compromised, change it immediately!
- Ensuring privacy
Keeping personal data private is another important practice to ensure good cyber hygiene. Some of the habits I follow are included below:
- I don’t post private information such as my home address, private pictures, phone number, or credit card numbers publicly on social media.
- I have reviewed my social media privacy settings, and made sure they are set to a level I feel comfortable with.
- I avoid quizzes, games, or surveys on social media that ask for sensitive personal information.
- I am cautious about the permissions I accept for all the apps I use.
- I keep my computer and phone locked with a password or PIN.
- I take care not to disclose private information when using public Wi-Fi.
- I understand that using a Virtual Private Network or VPN (especially when using public Wi-Fi) helps to maximize my privacy.
- I ensure all online transactions I make are via a secure website where the URL starts with https:// (rather than http://), and there is a padlock icon to the left of the address bar.
- I share information about online privacy with family and friends to help keep them safe as well.
While these five tips aren’t exhaustive, they’re an excellent way to start incorporating cyber hygiene habits into your daily routine!
How can Ever Nimble help to strengthen your team’s cyber resilience?
If you’re looking to improve the cyber hygiene of your team, Ever Nimble offers Cyber Awareness Training (CAT), a complete solution to test, train, measure, and reduce human cyber risk. Find out how CAT can help to strengthen your cyber resilience here.
Article written by Emily M-G, Manager Cyber