When we talk about Cyber Security, we always talk about it in a business context. But what about you as an individual? What about your family?
Cyber Security applies to you too. In this blog, I am going to introduce you to my 3-step process for securing you and your family.
Personal Cyber Security
Forget about business for a minute.
All of our personal lives are online. We have access to our bank accounts on our smartphones. Our debit and credit card details are stored in online shops like Amazon. We all have multiple social media accounts
Our children spend lots of time online. We’re in a funny time, I am nearly 40 years old and throughout my 20’s and 30’s, technology came into my life more and more.
My children are 11 and 12 - they’ve grown up with technology in their lives. It’s all they have ever known.
So, we all know how to use technology, but few of us know how to use it securely.
Security Starts at Home
For me, Cyber Security starts at home. If you can have the right mindset of securing yourself and your family, then it becomes easier in the workplace. It becomes second nature.
I have put together a simple 3-step process to make sure that you and your family stay safe.
To begin with, make a list of all the online accounts you have. This might not seem like an enjoyable task, but it’s really important.
Here is a list to get you started:
- Financial accounts - banks, credit cards and loans.
- Online shopping and subscriptions. Things like Amazon, Netflix and supermarket account you use.
- Personal email accounts like Gmail or Outlook.
- Social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Once you have this list together, it’s time to move onto step 2.
Improve your Passwords
Now it’s time to improve our passwords.
Us humans have a bit of an issue when it comes to passwords. The problem is we can’t easily remember long and complex passwords - so we end up choosing something really easy like our pets name.
Do you know the most common password that people use? 123456
In 2nd place, it’s 123456789
In third place, it’s the word - password
Now to add to our password problem, we have so many online applications that we use that it’s easier just to use the same password for everything.
This isn’t very secure. If someone manages to get hold of our Facebook password, they’ll have the keys to our entire digital kingdom.
So what’s the way around these password problems?
Use a Password Manager
The answer is to use an online, secure password manager.
The password manager becomes your password brain. You can set a different complex password for each of your online apps and store them in your secure password manager.
You will never have to remember another password again.
It’s hard to believe, but if you asked me for my Twitter or LinkedIn password, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. It’s a complex one stored in my password manager
The secure password manager I would recommend is 1Password.com
You can buy a family pack for just over £4 per month. It’s well worth the investment.
Add Two-Factor Authentication
At this point in time, you should have a list of all the applications you use online.
In addition, each application will be protected with a secure password which is stored in your password manager.
At this point, you’ve already dramatically improved your security. But there is a third step I recommend to make you even more bulletproof.
The third step is called two-factor authentication. This might seem like a technical term, but it’s easy to understand.
To access any of your online applications, you need to enter your username and your secure password as normal. But in addition, you also need to enter a PIN number.
That PIN number is sent to an app on your smartphone. And the PIN number changes every 30 seconds.
So if someone does manage to get hold of your super-secure password, they still can’t login, because they haven’t got your smartphone PIN.
As well as two-factor authentication making your online applications secure, it’s also free.
The smartphone app that I use and recommend is called Authy.
You can add two-factor authentication to all of your social media apps, Amazon account and banking applications.
Big Companies aren't Protecting You
One last thing on two-factor authentication and security. Please don’t automatically assume that big companies are looking after you.
Take, for example, I have a Barclaycard credit card. Barclaycard has the ability to add two-factor authentication - but they don’t initiate it for you. You have to log in online and set it up yourself.
So if you aren’t aware of 2FA, then you won’t have it on your account.
That’s the case for lots of different applications - 2FA is available, but you have to set it up.
I hope this blog has been helpful.