Do you have plans with your couch, a family-sized bag of ketchup chips and your favourite streaming service this Spring Break? You’re not alone.
Spring vacation is really more of a spring staycation this year, which probably means we’re going to be spending a lot more of our free time online. Unfortunately, that means cyber criminals will be doing the same thing – which is why we need to take extra steps to stay secure during this time off.
Here are some ways you can stay safe and have fun while you’re scrolling instead of sitting on a beach this year:
Take some time to up your cyber security game
You might find yourself tackling some spring cleaning during your staycation. Don’t forget to give your devices a good SCRUB as well (don’t worry, you can put away your multi-purpose spray for this one).
Here are a few ways you can tidy your accounts and devices to make them more cyber safe:
- Update all of your devices: Software updates include more than cool new features. They also include bug fixes and security patches that can make your devices and software run safer and smoother. You can schedule your updates to run automatically so there are no more excuses for “not having enough time” to do them.
- Set up a password manager: Trying to memorize unique passphrases or passwords for all of your accounts and devices is basically impossible, unless you have a photographic memory. A password manager can remember them for you so you can focus on making more secure passwords and passphrases (some can even generate them for you!).
- Secure your network: Your home network connects you and your devices to the internet. You can make it more secure by updating your router’s default username and password to something more unique and creating a guest network for all of your smart devices.
- Use multi-factor authentication (MFA): MFA can be used on your devices and most online accounts to add an extra layer of security when you’re logging in. Take some time to enable this feature whenever it’s available.
Speaking of games…
Are you sick and tired of board games that make you buy hotels or trade sheep for wheat? Wouldn’t you rather spend your free time making cyber security memes and laughing at outrageous photos with your friends and family? Are you looking for an equally fun and educational way to pass the time over spring break?
The game is as informative as it is hilarious. You’ll learn to understand cyber security scams like phishing and malware while matching captions like “Trying to eat butter cookies at grandma’s, but the tin is filled with her passwords,” or “Finally meeting the love of your life and finding out they like pineapple on pizza” to ridiculous pictures.
Do some retail therapy
Stuck at home but still want to buy that pizza-shaped pool floaty to get those beach vacation vibes from the comfort of your living room? You got it. Just make sure you’re making this (and all purchases) safely when you’re shopping online.
Online shopping offers so many options. There’s a seemingly endless number of retailers to choose from – including many fraudulent sites that are out to steal your identity and money. You can protect yourself by:
- Shopping from retailers that you’re familiar with: Stick to stores that you know and trust so you know you’re making purchases from a reputable source.
- Staying away from spoofed sites: Spoofed sites are fraudulent sites made to look like real stores. Always check the URL and look for things like a privacy or return policy to verify a site’s legitimacy before making purchases.
- Never save your credit card information in your browser: Anyone that has access to your device or accounts can make purchases without your knowledge.
- When you’ve completed your purchase – don’t forget to log out: This will prevent others who may have access to your device from using your accounts or making changes to your account information.
Spring break might look a little different this year, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make the most of it. You can bring your staycation to new heights by staying busy and learning how you can become more cyber safe.