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Ten Pillars of Cyber-Security

You are a target of hackers. Everyone is at risk and it is your responsibility to be cyber-safe.
By following these ten tips and remaining vigilant, you are doing your part to protect yourself and your financial well-being.

#1 Practice Good Password Management

Let’s face it, we have too many passwords to remember. It’s easy to take shortcuts like reusing the same password or selecting “remember me” in web browsers.  Don’t.

Rather, write your credentials in a notebook and keep it in a secure location. While writing down your credentials has been frowned upon in the past, storing them in the browser for convenience or in a Word/Excel document electronically is much less secure.

Do not reuse passwords across any website or system/application. Instead, use a password manager which will help you create unique passwords for all your accounts. Try LastPass as a good resource.

#2 Don’t Mix Business with Pleasure

Do not play games, download movies or videos, or videogames on the same device that you use for personal banking, healthcare portals, taxes, credit cards, or children’s school/college. A separate device for gaming and/or watching videos is best.

#3 Two-Factor Fan

Become a fan of two-factor authentication and employ it on all websites that offer it. If you need help with this, Google “two-factor authentication Google authenticator”.

Note: never hit “Accept”, “Yes, it’s me”, or otherwise approve the notification if you’re not actively trying to log into the website or application associated with that notification. If you do, you’ll be helping a hacker gain access to your account.

#4 Debit Card No-No

Never use a debit card to make online purchases. Instead, always use a credit card when shopping online. A debit card is directly tied to your bank which could leave you drained of all funds and with a zero or negative balance, past due payment fees, unpaid bills, and more. Further, do not store your credit card in the browser or on the website(s) where you shop.

#5 Back Up Your Data

If you are a victim of a security breach, the only guaranteed way to purge your computer is to erase all data and re-install the system. Don’t get caught off-guard, regularly back up your data or schedule it so the system does so automatically.

#6 Mobile Device Integrity

Considering how much we rely on our mobile devices, you want to make sure you are protected:

  • Always use a PIN or password to lock your device, and never leave your device unlocked
  • Keep the device’s operating system current
  • Use Find my iPhone or Android Device Manager tools to prevent loss or theft

#7 Safeguard Sensitive Data

Always use encryption when storing or transmitting sensitive information (SSN, credit card information, health records, etc.) Remove these files from your system when no longer needed.

#8 Device Management

Never leave devices unattended. If you need to leave your laptop, phone, or tablet, make sure it is locked. For desktop computers, lock your screen or shut down the system when not in use. And if you rely on external hard drives or flash drives, make sure they are encrypted as well.

#9 Declutter Digital Files

There are several benefits to thinning out old files; your devices and information will be more secure and it can improve device performance.

  • Review Online accounts and delete any no longer in use.
  • Remove old files, emails, and downloads that have accumulated and are no longer needed.
  • Update devices, purge applications no longer in us
  • Remember to empty the trash/recycle bin.
  • Unsubscribe from old newsletters, emails alerts, and mailing lists

#10 Antivirus is a Must

Only install antivirus or malware protection programs from a known and trusted source. Keep virus definitions, engines, and software up-to-date to ensure your programs remains effective.


Security takes time. If you follow these ten recommendations, you and your organization will be much more cyber-secure.  Learn more at


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Avery Insurance Agency
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