Over the years, you’ve come to know Dixie Electric as your trusted energy provider. Now, with the addition of DE Fastlink, we also want to be a trusted resource for online best practices. We want you to understand the importance of protecting your devices, network, online accounts, assets, and privacy. October is regarded as National Cyber Security Month, so we wanted to share some of the best cyber security measures to help you stay safer online.
Use strong passwords. Did you know the most common password of 2023 is 123456? As basic and simple as it sounds, we cannot stress enough the need to create strong passwords for your online accounts and devices. But unfortunately, far too many people still use the same passwords from years ago (or longer!). Using simple, predictable passwords like this is never a good idea. The strongest passwords meet the following criteria: 12-15 characters, including numbers, special characters, and lowercase and uppercase letters.
Utilize a Password Manager. After you’ve created a strong and unique password, your next step toward improving your online security and protecting your privacy is to utilize a password manager. A password manager is a digitally secure tool to save and guard access to your online accounts. Password managers employ among the highest levels of encryption, so the password you input into the password manager never leaves your device without being encrypted first, making it virtually impossible to steal or hack. Password managers also use a “master password” for you to access your accounts, significantly reducing the frustration of needing to remember multiple passwords for all your online log-ins. This makes password managers extremely convenient and extra secure.
Enable multifactor authentication across all accounts and devices. Multifactor authentication decreases the likelihood of a breach by adding an additional form of authentication. So, if your password is hacked or stolen, the bad actor still has a hurdle to overcome to access your or the co-op’s data.
Recognize and report phishing. You’ve likely received an email with urgent language and many typos and grammatical errors, saying you need to “update your payment information” or “make a payment immediately.” Emails like this are typically phishing scams. Preying particularly on older individuals, who are more accustomed to solicitation and marketing advances, phishing has become more common and sophisticated. It’s essential to recognize phishing before and during a phishing attempt. Legitimate businesses will not email or text with a link to update your payment information.
Stay protected while connected. Whatever the network device, the best defense against viruses and malware is to update to the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems. Many devices and programs contain an auto-update feature or will automatically notify you when there is a software update. Take advantage of these features to stay on top of the latest security measures and improvements of each device, app, and program you regularly use.
Secure your network against cyber threats. Computers, smartphones, TVs, thermostats, doorbells––the list of internet-connected devices is ever-growing! Securing your modem, router, and Wi-Fi can protect your home network from cyber threats.
Most importantly, use your common sense – if something does not seem or feel right, do not click or engage. Implementing these tips will help keep you, your family, and your devices, data, and programs safer and more secure.