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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

BBB Tip of the Week: How to be personally cybersecure

By Kirstin Davis Marketplace Director

With recent data breaches at private businesses and government entities, it’s more important than ever to take proper steps to secure personal data. We are now digital citizens, and safeguarding data online helps users avoid common scams such as debt collection, phishing scams, sweepstakes scams and identity theft.

The best way to defend against identity theft and fraud is to become informed about your devices and how to properly access the internet. BBB and the National Cyber Security Alliance urge consumers to become cyber-aware:

Be vigilant with personal information. Consumers should think of personal information like money: value and protect it. They should also be sure they are on a legitimate site before entering personal information. Additionally, they should be wary of communications that pressure them to act immediately or offer something that sounds too good to be true.

Get two steps ahead. Users should consider looking for new technology that incorporates the strongest authentication tools, such as two-factor authentication. This tool requires users to not only sign in with a password and username but also with something extra that only the user knows or something they have such as a fingerprint or face for facial recognition.

Don’t just log off, turn it off. Turn off your computer or laptop when you are not using it. If it isn’t connected to the internet, hackers can’t access it.

Keep machines updated. To keep online threats, viruses and malware away, consumers should make sure all devices have the latest security software. Updating devices can reduce the risk of infection from malware.

Be careful when clicking and sharing. Links in emails, social media posts and online advertising are often how cybercriminals try to steal personal information. If something looks suspicious, delete it and research it before you share it.