The Basics of Protecting Yourself from Cybercriminals

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, cybercrime has both become more sophisticated and more commonplace, compromising the data of individuals and organizations alike. Though there is no one golden rule to cyber hygiene, there are several key things that you can do to further ensure your network’s safety.


  • Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA)- MFA involves requiring multiple forms of authentication in order to access an account or site. One common example of this is when sites require both a password and a token (typically this is done using a mobile app or via a text message to your phone). This adds an additional layer of protection to your accounts, as even if your password is compromised, the criminal still requires that second factor to access your information.


  • Use strong passphrases/passwords- There is a reason why many sites require passwords over 8 characters containing symbols and both upper and lowercase letters: the more long, complex, and unique a password is, the harder it is to crack. If you have a difficult time remembering all the passwords you use for various sites, consider implementing a password manager. A password manager acts as a vault containing all your other passwords, and to access it, you only need to remember one unique and sophisticated password. Additionally, passphrases are also useful for those struggling to remember their login information. Passphrases are simply easy to remember phrases, with various letters replaced with numbers and symbols to make them more complex. For example, someone who frequents an ecommerce site may use the passphrase: iL0v3sH0pp!nG. However, remember never to use the same password for multiple sites, so if you find yourself frequenting a variety of similar sites often, consider using a password managing software.


  • Update software- A simple but effective way to shield yourself from hackers is to continually update your software. Often, these updates contain patches for potential vulnerabilities, and can serve as some of the best defenses to online threats. Whether its your web browser, operating system, or security software, update whenever you can, and avoid continuously clicking the “postpone” option.


The more you implement these strategies, the more routine they will become- and creating a security routine is one of the best ways to maintain cyber hygiene. Not only are hacks a great annoyance, but they often cause a loss in data, time, and money. Therefore, implement these simple suggestions and do your part to be cyber smart.

If you’re concerned about your network’s safety and aren’t sure where to start, feel free to give us a call at 571-370-5777 or email us at We’ll set you up with a free, no obligation network assessment as well as a report regarding areas where your network’s security may be compromised.