Spring Clean Your Accounts
Make the most of your spring fever by spring cleaning your accounts.
Spring is here and, with it comes the spirit of spring cleaning. But you shouldn’t limit your spring cleaning to only your home! If you want to be as diligent as possible, you’ll also make sure to visit the dentist, donate spare items that you’re not using, get a fresh haircut and, most importantly, perform some regular cyber security maintenance. That’s right, if you haven’t done so yet, this is your friendly quarterly reminder to take the necessary steps to make sure all of your accounts are secure. Not sure exactly how to do that? No worries – we’re here to help.
Do a password checkup
One of the most important things you can do to ensure your online safety is regularly checking your passwords to make sure they haven’t been compromised. With large-scale cyber security attacks becoming more and more frequent throughout the world, you never know when one of your passwords may have been breached. There are several online tools you can use to check if a password has been compromised – Cyrus being one of them. If you do find that someone has accessed one of your passwords, the first thing you should do is to change it as quickly as possible to a strong one. Tips for strong passwords include:
- Choosing a long password of at least 12 – 15 characters in length
- Choosing a password that contains a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers
- Using unique passwords for each account
- Storing your passwords safely, ideally with an encrypted password storage application
If you do have many identical passwords or passwords that haven’t been changed in a long time, it’s a good idea to change those, too. You’ll also want to enable two-factor authentication on any accounts that offer it. If you find that a password has been accessed and you’re now locked out of an account, feel free to contact one of our experts, who can guide you through the steps to getting your account back.
Check your bank accounts and credit scores
Can you remember the last time you checked your credit scores and bank statements for any suspicious activity? If it’s been more than a few months, now’s definitely the right time to perform a check-up. Keep an eye out for:
- Incorrect personal information such as name, birth date, social security number, and/or employment information
- Unrecognized accounts, account statuses, payment history, and/or credit limits
- Inquiries you didn’t request
- Bankruptcies, foreclosures, and/or civil suits you weren’t involved in
- Unauthorized bank transactions or withdrawals
- Unauthorized authentication messages
This is an important way to proactively look out for signs of fraud and identity theft. Need help? Let Cyrus monitor your credit accounts and activities for you, alerting you to any suspicious activity that we detect.
Review your taxes
Taxes are due quite soon, so this is also a good time to get your taxes sorted out if they aren’t already. If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, now’s the time to do so. When you do, make sure to encrypt sensitive files such as tax records and use strong passwords for your tax accounts. If you’re working with a tax practitioner, be careful to choose licensed professionals with good reviews. If you’re doing your taxes yourself, filing taxes with a VPN turned on is always a good idea. You can also take this as an opportunity to review your tax refunds to make sure that everything appears correct. Remember, keeping your tax records secure is incredibly important as a way to prevent tax fraud.
Update your apps
We know that those little pop-ups you always get asking you to update your software can be a bit annoying, but it’s actually quite important to keep all of your apps up to date. Many of those small updates that are pushed out on a regular basis are actually specifically made to make the software more secure against new threats as they are identified. So while it may seem like you don’t actually need to download software update 10.4.3.6, this might actually be the very update that can protect you from a data breach.
Secure your WiFi network
If you set up your WiFi with all of the default settings right when you got it and never took any further steps to secure your network, we recommend taking a few additional safety measures:
- Change the default name of your home WiFi network to something that doesn’t disclose any personal information
- Choose a unique, strong wireless password
- Enable network encryption, which is a feature most wireless routers come with
- Disable network name broadcasting to the general public
- Update your router software
- Make sure your wireless router’s built-in firewall is turned on
If you don’t have one already, we also recommend downloading and using a virtual private network (VPN) whenever you use the internet – especially public networks. This will secure and encrypt your data and connection.
Make sure you have security software installed
The strength and capabilities of cyber security software have significantly improved since the days of those spam-y anti-virus programs whose free trial you could extend again and again. Today, cyber security apps made both for your mobile devices and your computer are not only a convenience; they’re a necessity. Cyrus is an app that works across all of your devices, accounts, and profiles. It offers password protection, continual credit monitoring, and dark web monitoring all to help you limit unauthorized access to your accounts and stay protected from possible fraud and identity theft. If you’re looking to prioritize your safety more, Cyrus can give you the security you need. So if you’re only going to do one thing to clean up your online presence this spring, downloading Cyrus is the best way to go.
Protecting yourself online is more than just something you do once or once a year. It’s an important ongoing process to make part of your daily routine. After all, scammers and hackers don’t only give it one try, and there are always new security threats and scamming methods constantly being created. So in addition to going through these spring cleaning steps now, we recommend making a plan for cyber security that you can implement moving forward, as well as keeping an eye on the news to see if there are any new threats or breaches for you to know about. Remember, if you don’t take control of your online accounts, somebody else might.
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