As National Cybersecurity Awareness Month continues, we continue with our blog series. This week we focus on "PROTECT IT".

Everything you do online creates a trail that can be exploited by cybercriminals. To protect yourself from cybercriminals victim you must understand, secure, and maintain your digital profile. It's crucial for you to be familiar with your current privacy settings. One way to help protect yourself is by practicing good cyber hygiene. Cyber hygiene is about training yourself to think proactively about your cyber security, just like you do with your daily personal hygiene. Good cyber hygiene practices are often part of a routine to ensure the safety of identity and other details that could be stolen or corrupted.

Here are a few tips to get you thinking about good cyber hygiene practices:

1. Use the right tools- Without the right products and tools, your personal information could be at risk. Reputable antivirus and malware software, a network firewall, and password protection all help to protect personal data stored. Before installing anything you should verify the security brand you're using is a reputable source.

2. Be thorough and accurate- You may think that regularly emptying the trash can emoves personal or sensitive data from your computer's hard drive, but this is not the case. To permanently delete files from your computer, you must use data-wiping software. You’re at risk of losing personal data everytime you introduce new software or modify system files. Regularly clear out data you don’t need and be sure to wipe it clean from the hard drive.

3. Protect your passwords- Don’t get lazy when creating passwords. Use complex, unique passwords for each account. Experts recommend a combination of at least 12 letters, numbers, and special characters. Don't forget to regularly change your passwords.

4. Make cyber hygiene part of your routine- Monitoring your cyber security regularly can increase your chances of avoiding an online threat, but like any habit, it requires routine and repetition. Set calendar reminders to change your passwords, update your antivirus software and operating systems on all of your computers and devices. Once you make these practices part of your regular routine, it will become second nature to you.

Good cyber hygiene is a general practice that can help keep you safe and secure online. Incorporate your cyber hygiene practices into your routine and you’ll be on your way to creating cyber habits that can help keep you safe and secure online.

Check back next week when we share our top takeaways from this year's National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

#BeCyberSmart #CyberAware