Cybersecurity Spring Cleaning Tips

Children playing

Spring is not just a good time for cleaning your house, apartment, office, or classroom, it’s also a good time to renew your cyber knowledge and tidy up your cyber footprint.

Experts suggest that the following these top 4 tips can greatly reduce your cyber risk exposure

  1. Validate all incoming email addresses for legitimacy especially ones requesting any information from you such as logins, passwords, or a request to transfer funds. If you’re unsure – connect with the sender by phone to confirm.
  2. Don’t click on unknown links and attachments in an email. Think before you click! Hackers are getting creative and using subject lines to trick you into clicking their virus infected links, such as: COVID-19 – Get Vaccinated NOW!
  3. Be suspicious and validate all URL’s that request you to sign in (for example: Office 365, Google, Yahoo etc.).
  4. If you’re not 100% sure of the legitimacy of the email, links or attachments contact your local IT department for validation.

Additional Tips:

  1. Remind employees working from home to password protect devices and be diligent about using work email accounts rather than personal ones for work-related emails, in order to maintain control over personal data.
  2. Remove apps you no longer use to reduce the chance of your personal data or location being shared in the background.
  3. Update your passwords – make sure to use long, complicated, and different passwords for each of your accounts. You may want to research and consider using a password manager, or a security solution that includes a password manager, to keep track of all your unique passwords. Follow your school board’s policy on how frequently you should change your password.
  4. Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) on accounts wherever it is available, especially on accounts that have financial information.
  5. Update your antivirus software on the machine you’re using to access school board information.
  6. Update your operating system to the latest stable version and update all security patches.
  7. Avoid use of unencrypted USB sticks. They can easily be misplaced.
  8. Don’t connect to unknown, unsecure, or open WIFI’s. Remember that other people may be able to monitor your online activity.
  9. Always keep track of your devices and don’t leave them unattended.
  10. Log off or shut down computers when not in use; an automatic logoff can help ensure that computers are not accessible when idle.
  11. If a personal laptop contains work information, employees should not share the laptop with other individuals including family members.

A special thanks to our content contributors: Danny Pehar, cyber security expert and lead instructor of Cyber Insurance Education Inc. ProServeIT an OSBIE service partner who provided the following resources: