Tech and Security

why do we need cybersecurity

Why Do We Need Cybersecurity?

why do we need cybersecurity

Why Do We Need Cybersecurity?

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In an increasingly interconnected world, the need for cybersecurity has never been more critical. As we celebrate National Computer Security Day today, November 30, 2023, it is the perfect time to analyze our digital landscape and arm ourselves with the latest strategies to protect our virtual domains.

Why do we need cybersecurity?

Cyberattacks are on the rise, and their impact is felt across industries. In 2022 alone, there were a staggering 1,862 reported data breaches, compromising over 9.5 billion records worldwide. These numbers serve as a stark reminder that no one is immune to the reach of cybercriminals.
Cybercriminals are smart and find ways to get into our systems and create havoc in less time than we expect, and the most significant vulnerability in any cybersecurity system is human error. In fact, 95% of all security incidents are human-related. This statistic emphasizes the importance of not only having robust cybersecurity tools but also educating and training individuals in best practices.

Computers today are faster and more advanced, and so are the bad guys in cyberspace trying to gain access to your information. Originally conceived as a tool for communication and education, the Internet has been used and misused for personal gain, which has given rise to a concerning escalation in cybercrime rates, unparalleled in our digital age of Smart devices and remote work. In light of these developments, it becomes imperative for individuals and organizations alike to implement strict cybersecurity practices. These measures defend against a spectrum of tangible threats, including but not limited to identity theft, ransomware attacks, and the relentless pursuit of hackers. These threats occur with alarming frequency and underscore the pressing need for proactive safeguarding measures.

With that in mind, let’s look at how you can protect your digital space:

  1. Keep Software Updated
  • In 2022, 60% of successful breaches exploited vulnerabilities for which a patch was available but not applied. Stay vigilant by regularly updating your operating system and software to plug security holes.
  1. Multifactor Authentication (MFA) is a Must
  • MFA usage increased by 32% in 2022. Implement MFA wherever possible, adding an extra layer of security beyond just passwords.
  1. Employee Training and Awareness
  • Cybersecurity education is paramount. Allocate resources to ensure your team understands the latest threats and how to recognize phishing attempts. Training reduced successful breaches by 70% in 2022.
  1. Secure Your Devices
  • With remote work becoming the norm, ensure all devices are protected. Encryption and remote wiping options can be lifesavers if a device is lost or stolen.
  1. Regular Backups
  • In 2022, ransomware attacks increased by 151%. Regularly back up your data to mitigate the impact of such attacks.
  1. Vendor Security Assessment
  • 61% of organizations had data breaches caused by third-party vendors in 2022. Assess the cybersecurity practices of your business partners to reduce risks.
  1. Incident Response Plan
  • Develop a clear incident response plan to minimize downtime and data loss in case of a breach. Only 38% of organizations had such a plan in 2022.
  1. Invest in Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)
  • EDR solutions saw a 45% increase in adoption in 2022. Consider investing in these advanced tools to proactively identify and mitigate threats.
  1. Regular Security Audits
  • Schedule routine security audits to identify weaknesses and rectify them promptly. In 2022, 84% of organizations discovered previously unknown security vulnerabilities through audits.
  1. Cyber Insurance
  • As cyber risks evolve, cyber insurance becomes essential. It can help cover the costs associated with data breaches and cyberattacks.

As we recognize National Computer Security Day, let's remember that cybersecurity is not a one-time effort but an ongoing commitment. By staying informed about the latest threats and implementing these updated security measures, you can strengthen your digital world against the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats.

Remember, in the world of cybersecurity, proactive prevention is always more cost-effective and less stressful than reactive damage control.

Stay safe, stay secure, and happy National Computer Security Day! #ComputerSecurityDay

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Anatomy of a Data Breach


Anatomy of a Data Breach

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Arguably no phrase has dominated the tech world in the last 24 months more than the term "data breach." The past two years have been saturated by headlines of cybersecurity mishaps, from breaches that have impacted critical infrastructure like the Colonial Pipeline to hackers compromising healthcare records at UC San Diego Health. Yet, despite the prevalence of the breach-centric news cycle, many everyday individuals may not know what a data breach is, how they typically start, and why they occur.

According to IBM, the average time it takes to identify that a breach has occurred is 287 days, with the average time to contain a breach clocking in at 80 days. And with 81% of businesses experiencing a cyberattack during COVID, individuals must be familiar with the anatomy of a data breach to keep their data and their client's data safe.

With that in mind, here is some helpful background on data breaches and why they are so problematic.

What is a data breach? 

While it may seem complex, a data breach is straightforward to explain once you clear away the jargon fog. According to Trend Micro, a data breach is "an incident where information is stolen or taken from a system without the knowledge or authorization of the system's owner." And while data breaches can result from a system or human error, a vast majority of data breaches result from cyber attacks, where a cybercriminal gains unlawful access to sensitive system data. For example, 92% of the data breaches in Q1 2022 resulted from cyberattacks.

What kind of data can be breached?

Unfortunately, cybercriminals look to get their hands on any information they can, ranging from more sensitive information such as social security numbers and credit card information to more obscure data like past purchase history.

What are some of the tactics used to execute data breaches?

Cybercrime is getting more sophisticated each day. However, cyberattack tactics do not have to be cutting-edge or advanced to be effective. Here are a few examples of popular tactics used by cybercriminals:

  • Phishing: Phishing is when a cybercriminal pretends to be a legitimate party in hopes of tricking an individual into giving them access to personal information. Phishing is one of the oldest tricks in the book for cybercriminals, but it is just as effective as ever. For example, 80% of security incidents and 90% of data breaches stem from phishing attempts.
  • Malware: Another tried-and-true method for cybercriminals is malware. Malware is malicious software that secretly installs itself on devices – often by a user engaging with fake links and content – and quietly gains access to the data on an individual's device or a business network.
  • Password Attack: Through password attacks, cybercriminals seek access to sensitive data and networks by "cracking" user passwords and using these credentials to get into networks and extract data from a given network.

The best way to stop a data breach is to stop it before it even starts. This includes taking steps from making sure passwords are long and complex to reporting all suspicious emails. If you suspect you have been the victim of a breach, immediately contact your IT department or device provider to notify them and follow subsequent protocols to help them scan, detect, and remediate any issues.                                      

For more information on protecting your data, your client’s and your family, visit our Cybersecurity page.

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10 Tips to Keep Your Online Environment Safe


10 Tips to Keep Your Online Environment Safe

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There are a lot of new opportunities for hackers. New ways to enter your business or home virtually and steal your data, your clients data, your personal information, and even spy on you! You can protect yourself significantly just by following these ten tips.

1. Stay Off Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi is not secure and is a hacker's playground. They can set up a look-a-like network, hoping you'll connect to it, they can intercept your data, and even create fake Wi-Fi access points. Once you've connected to their network, they can see what you see—going to check your balance in your checking account? And now, they have your password and account information. They can also get any information you have stored on your device. When you're out of the house and need to connect, it's always better to use your service provider's network. There may be a fee, but what is your data worth to you?

2. Use a VPN

Maybe you're in public often and rely on public Wi-Fi? If so, I suggest signing up for a virtual private network (VPN) to ensure your data is safe on an unsecured network. Many VPN providers have free trial periods. TechRadar lists the Best VPN Services in 2022. Your Internet Service Provider may also have a VPN service as well.

3. Best Router Practices

I really wish router manufacturers would require manual set up rather than being ready-to-use right out of the box. The default router settings are very common, it's like using "password" for your password. We'll talk about that later. So what are some of the things you can do to make your router secure?

  • Rename the admin account and change the password
  • Create a unique network name (SSID), do no use the default name
  • Turn on encryption, use WPA2
  • Hide your network from anyone doing a random search
  • Place your router in a central location, away from windows and doors, and exterior walls.

4. Use Complicated Passwords

Avoid simple passwords. Using “password” might be easy for you to remember, but that is the first word a hacker will try. Most sites now require a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. Creating a complicated password is a good rule of thumb, even if the site doesn’t require it.  In general, a good password is at least eight characters long, but the longer, the better. The best password is 25 characters.  Another good practice is to form a password from a phrase. For example, you can create t1$!C4gtMpSd from “This is so I can’t forget my password.” You can use multiple methods to help you form unique and cryptic passwords.

5. Use a Firewall

Most routers will contain a built-in firewall that will protect and prevent any network attacks from intruders.  The default setting is typically disabled, so be sure to confirm that your router's firewall is on.

6. Keep Security Software Updated

Just like technology moves at a fast pace, so does malware. Your Anti-Virus and malware software is only as good as the latest update. If you are not updating regularly, you are putting your computer and any other device on your network at risk. I recommend setting a schedule for the updates to run, preferably during non-peak usage times, as they can be resource-heavy.

7. Protect All Connected Devices

Your computer is not the only device at risk. Keyloggers, spyware, viruses, etc. can also infect your smartphone, Xbox, Playstation, tablet, iPad, pretty much anything connected to your network is at risk and must be protected.

Ensure all devices are behind your home router/firewall to protect them from unrestricted access from the Internet.

8. Scan External File Storage

Run your anti-virus scan on all USB drives and other external file devices before you open any files. Keyloggers are often passed on by a thumb drive. You open the infected file and it secretly installs on your computer and sends every keystroke to the hacker.

9. Look for the S 

Always make sure you are on a secure site before transmitting any personal or sensitive information. Just look at the address bar for the locked padlock, and make sure the website address has an S. For example, http://notsecure --> https://secure

10. Backup! Backup! Backup!

Perform regular backups. How often you schedule the backup to run depends on how often you make changes or add files. Having a backup is not just good common sense, but it can save you a lot of time and trouble should you ever be faced with a ransomware attack. I store all my backups in the cloud, and on an external drive.  I do a full back up monthly, and nightly file backups. Take it from someone who has lost all their information, it can happen to you!

Did you know that every single year, about 70% of the US population experiences SOME form of cyber-attack. The truth is, 99% of computers ARE vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Click here to take our quiz and find out how cybersmart you are!


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3 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Questionable Links

source-checking isolation tips

Don't Get Bamboozled By Bogus Links!

3 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Questionable Links


Unsolicited emails from unknown senders are sometimes the onset of cyberattacks. They may entice you to click on a link or open an attachment that may contain malware. Clicking on the links can also direct you to some compromising websites, so be cautious. If a link looks suspicious, look it up on the web and do a quick research. The rule of thumb is to ignore seemingly malicious emails. But if you're really curious, or just not sure it's evil, there are several ways to protect yourself and your environment from unknown and questionable web links. Read on for a few tips you can use to protect yourself while investigating that link or attachment.

The main key is isolation. Below outlines a small list of isolations that you can utilize.

Isolate Yourself

Use a completely different platform. If possible, utilize a “Burner” computer. A burner computer could be an old laptop that you don’t care about if it gets compromised. There is zero personal information, no passwords stored, or any other sensitive information.

Also, protect your network by connecting the burner computer to a different network, such as an Internet Café, free WI-FI, or even your guest WI-FI if it's enabled.

iOS and Android

Use a more secure, but less robust operating system. These operating systems are considered secure because, most of the time, if an operation/application requires interaction with system resources or the operating system, it will ask the user to “Allow / Deny” it. Examples would be:

  • iOS (iPhone, iPad)
  • Android (Phones, Chrome books, Tablets)

Go Virtual

Use Virtual Isolation. If any of the above is not available or practical, then virtual isolation is your next best bet. Virtual Isolation means exactly that. Create a virtual machine within your computer (be it iOS or Windows) by utilizing specialized software. Below lists some of the more popular options. They all have pretty much the same features. The only difference these days are support, ease of use, and price.

If you rely on the Internet for anything or you rely on your computer for anything, it is a must that you fully understand what threats are out there and how you can better protect yourself. Taking a few precautions will help keep your computer safe from hijackers and becoming a zombie machine.

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cybersecurity for kids

Cybersecurity For Kids

cybersecurity for kids

Cybersecurity For Kids

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Your children need protection from the lurkers and hackers in cyberspace. With more schools shifting to online learning, almost all kids now have access to the internet. Parents should be actively involved in teaching their children safe cybersecurity habits.

Most kids who access the internet are not careful enough when giving out personal information online. They don't realize the risks and dangers of having their confidential and personal information online. From viruses to hackers to identity thieves, these people are lurking in cyberspace, waiting for that opportunity. I can only stress the importance of cybersecurity for kids.

There are several ways to help teach your children the proper methods of accessing, behaving, and protecting themselves online. The most common areas your children go on the web are social network sites where they have online profiles, photos, and keep online journals. Explain the dangers of accepting online friend invites, especially if they don't know the person.

cybersecurity for kids

It's important to remember that you are not just adding that one person; you get the "friends of friends" spiral. When you add someone as a friend, their friends will also have viewing access, and, if the settings are not locked down, they will also be able to comment. Most of the time, your kids won't even know these people, and now, if they choose, these individuals can gain access to your kid's personal information. Use the privacy and/or parental controls on the social media apps your kid's access. Many are interactive and easy to set up.

Put their computer in a high-profile area, such as a kitchen, where one or more people are always there. Setting them up in the main traffic area allows you to monitor their browsing activities more easily or encourage them to ask questions. They can call your attention to their monitor if they want to ask questions or show you something. It also discourages them from visiting lewd and otherwise undesirable websites.

cybersecurity for kids

These websites are not only inappropriate but are also a breeding ground of malware, spyware, and virus applications that can destroy files, the computer, and even other devices on your network. It's best to be proactive and use controlling mechanisms like content blockers that prohibits them from accessing certain websites and a monitoring application, so you can review what sites they are visiting.

Talk to your children about what they can do online. Get them to engage in a healthy conversation about what they do online, and to let you know if anything seems off. Help them to develop good online habits to ensure their safety online. Teach them the pros and cons of social networking, online file sharing, and even software piracy and illegal downloads. Increasing their knowledge and understanding of the technology of computers and the internet and cybersecurity is arming them with the best protective gear.

cybersecurity for kids

Keep in mind that children are naturally curious. Their innocence, and their desire to be independent, can cause them to be careless. Ordinary safeguards are not enough when it comes to protecting your kids in cyberspace. You need to know what your kid's computer habits are so you can better protect them.

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Online Scams

Online Scams – What You Need To Know

Online Scams

Online Scams - What You Need To Know

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The internet can be a blessing for most of us. Still, there are some with malicious intent who threaten to ruin its usefulness by trying to scam unsuspecting online victims.

"Smart people get scammed." This is the first chapter in Frank Abagnale's book, "Scam Me If You Can," and the best place for me to begin. If you're like most, you probably think it will never happen to you. You might be thinking, "I wouldn't fall for something so obvious," or perhaps you have put measures into place that will prevent it. You may have a fantastic, undecipherable, complex password, and you never, ever click on links in emails from strangers. Ok, I'll give you points for that; you're off to a great start.

But do you click on links in emails from someone you know? Do you love playing those quiz games everyone posts on Facebook (I'm guilty!). Do you shop online?

So let's talk about online scams, how you can minimize the risk of being deceived, and what you should do if you think you've been scammed or defrauded.

With the popularity of online shopping, cybersecurity has become essential to everyone. Shopping, even in the real world, involves money, and where there is money, there will be criminals. And with all this shopping in cyberspace, criminals lost no time in following the money trail targeting online shoppers, and fraudulently obtaining the information they can use for their financial gains. The three most common ways criminals attack online shoppers are:

  1. Unprotected computers
  2. Fake sites and email messages
  3. Charities

Online shopping brings us the best of two worlds: bargains and convenience. The internet can be a blessing for most of us. But fall victim to a scam, and it becomes a nightmare. I put together a list of the most common type of scams you need to keep an eye on, but this list is only the tip of the iceberg, as new scams pop up every day.


Phishing mostly involves the sending of an email falsely claiming to be from an established legitimate enterprise, attempting to scam the user into providing sensitive information needed for their nefarious actions. The email directs the user to visit a Web site where they are asked to update personal information, such as passwords and credit card, social security number, and bank account numbers like the one below.

online scams

It might also try to get you to download a virus that infects your computer with malware or opens up a back door so they can steal sensitive data. Phishing happens most often via email, but it can also occur over the phone, via text, and on social media.

In particular, beware of online quizzes on social media. They will often try to get information by asking you common questions so they can then guess your passwords. Many people base their passwords on birthdays, children and pet names, and so on. My take-away here? If you use complex, random passwords that do not contain any personal information, you can enjoy the quizzes and discovering what Disney princess or villain you should be! Small plug here – you can learn more about passwords in my new e-course, Cybersecurity At Home, coming out this month.

Nigerian Prince

Believe it or not, this scam still works. It usually involves an email from a desperate Nigerian prince, asking for help in getting a large amount of money from the bank. Those who get hooked pay small amounts to get paperwork for the transaction and then finally get the money. However, all they are doing is putting money in someone else's bank account, and possibly even revealing their sensitive financial information.

Lottery or Contest Scams

These have also been around for some time and still fool people. The email tells you that you are a winner and need to pay a small fee to get your cash or prize.

Free Trial Offers

Free trials are often fronts for stealing your sensitive information, as well as many end up hitting your account with renewals each month if you are not careful. Check your financial accounts regarding autopayment settings and delete repeat payments as needed.


Ransomware is a very dangerous scam that is hard to overcome. The ransomware locks your computer until you pay the attackers in bitcoin. The longer you wait to pay, the more money they add on to the ransom. So far, even top computer security pros have not been able to restore data or track down the criminals. Note that if you have a backup hard drive connected to your computer, the ransomware can also lock that up. Back up all your data in a reliable cloud storage system and avoid clicking on anything that does not look legitimate.

Red Flags

? Look carefully at the website. If the spelling and grammar are not correct and the whole site looks like it was tossed together without thought, you should probably find another website to do your shopping.

?Attackers will try to replicate brand-name sites. You could end up with knockoffs from China, or you might have your identity stolen. Knockoffs cost companies almost one trillion dollars annually. Check out the sites you shop at carefully to ensure they are real.

?Additionally, look for the lock symbol on the address bar or https://. Most scam sites will not bother with getting an SSL certificate.

?Be leary of sites that continuously offer huge discounts. Bargains are more than likely knockoffs or lures to spend money without the goods being delivered. Compare prices at Google Shopping and shop around. Avoid the bargain basement.

?Beware of any site that requires you to pay only by wire transfer, pre-paid gift cards, bitcoin, or other cryptocurrencies. These are usually scam sites. My advice? If you stumble onto one of these, close the tab and move on.

?Google the physical mailing address, see a map and get a Google satellite image of it. If the address does not exist, or the building looks suspicious, don't shop at that site. is not legitimate.

?Read the reviews. Type in the name of the site or the product you are considering buying, and then add the word "scam." Take seriously all the feedback you find before doing business with that site.

Can I Prevent It?

There are several things you can do to minimize the risk of being defrauded online. A little bit of vigilance and common sense can go a long way towards keeping you safe. Here are some do's and don'ts.

Do Protect Your Identity at All Costs

Do Shop only at reputable sites. Keep your passwords secure and change them regularly.

Don't Click on Links in Emails

Do be especially vigilant if the email claims to come from your bank or a sender you don't know.

Do Use Antivirus Software and Keep It Up to Date

Don't Store Credit Card Information at ECommerce Sites

Don't Shop at Overseas Sites

Do Use a Credit Card, PayPal, or Amazon Pay to Pay, not Debit Card or Check.

What To Do If You Are A Victim

No one wants to think about what to do if they are the victim of online fraud, but being familiar with the most important steps to take could help the whole incident become a lot less devastating.

✓ File a non-urgent incident report with your Police Precinct

✓ Report it to the FTC at https://ftccomplaintassistant.gov. If you received a phishing email, you could forward it to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at reportphishing@apwg.org. If you received a phishing text message, forward it to SPAM (7726).

✓ Notify the bank and credit card company and freeze your accounts by reporting the status of the cards as lost, stolen, or your statement as showing fraudulent charges.

✓ Contact the three main credit reporting bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, to file a Fraud Victim Statement. Also, ask them to issue a security freeze on your credit report so that no one will be able to try to get extended credit using your credit history and score.

✓ Deal with identity theft proactively by formulating an action plan for recovery at https://www.identitytheft.gov.

You can never be 100% safe online, but these guidelines will help minimize the risk of fraud.

One final thought, keep yourself informed. Sign up for free scam alerts from the FTC. The Federal Trade Commission in the US keeps a watchful eye out for the latest scams and posts them here: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts


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cybersecurity myths

Exposing Myths in Cybersecurity

cybersecurity myths

Exposing Myths in Cybersecurity

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We all know that cybersecurity is essential. Having a strong password is vital to keep confidential information protected. We know that having anti-virus, anti-malware, and anti-spyware applications keep you safe on a network or the Internet. We also know that having a correct firewall setting is quite important as well.

We are led to believe that having these precautionary measures are enough. Well, they are not. It is time to expose some of the myths of cybersecurity.


FACT: Despite what manufacturers say, despite what the advertisements say, despite what some of your friends tell you, no anti-virus or firewall software is 100% effective. Virus creators make malicious codes that are so advanced that an anti-virus application is not yet capable of handling an attack from it.

Despite the regular updates released by anti-virus software companies, they cannot foresee what kinds of viruses will come out next month or the month after that. They can only provide their customers with protection based on the virus that they know and the potential virus that could come out.

HABIT: The best way to have a degree of protection is to combine the technologies together. Have separate anti-virus software installed and keep a strong firewall active.

It is also important to know that you cannot install an application and forget about it. You will need to get the patches or updates that manufacturers release. These patches or updates are fixes on some little or sometimes big inconsistencies or bugs in the application. For anti-virus software, this update is essential as it may contain the latest virus signature.

Turn on automatic updates to receive updates whenever manufacturers release a new version or an upgrade of the system.

Additionally, look at your security settings. Your emails, web browsers, and other applications all have specific settings that increase the security allowing them to block malware attacks.


FACT: Hackers and identity thieves will grab any opportunity that they come across. If they can get your personal information easily, they will do so and think about how they can use it for their personal gain.

Don't believe that just because you have mainly personal and insignificant information in your computer that it’s not worth protecting at all. Please bear in mind that what you think is not important can turn out to be quite useful for hackers. Every bit of information you have on your computer, email, or any other system can be manipulated and used by hackers to access more of your confidential information or use it to gain some profit. Even if you keep your files in a computer not connected to any network, the one that a hacker gains access to can be used to attack other computers or cause problems with other systems.

HABIT: Part of building a good habit is to identify how your information can be accessed and who would be the most likely people who can gain from accessing your confidential files. It’s like identifying the usual suspects in a criminal line-up. I’m not saying that the people you know cannot be trusted but it helps to be extra cautious. Your brother might not do something untrustworthy but his friends' might and if they have physical access to your computer then your files are at risk of being hacked.

Lock your computer with a good password. Use combinations of letters and numbers, upper case and lower case, and even use codes. Avoid using the usual birthdays, social security numbers, bank PINs, account numbers, favorite superheroes, favorite food, etc. Use unique passwords and make one up for every system that requires authentication. Do not use the same password in all your confidential files.


FACT: Do not forget about power surges and other technological problems. Even though the virus and hacker threats are real and sometimes the priority, people forget that sometimes power surges or breakdown of computer hardware can cause loss of data or have files corrupted and rendered unusable. It may not seem as critical as having your personal information exposed to the world, but the loss could be just as devastating to you personally.

HABIT: Use surge protectors to protect you from power surges and invest in a UPS (uninterrupted power supply) to allow you to back up or shut down your computer properly preventing possible corruption of files and applications.

And speaking of backing up, make it a habit to regularly back up your files just in case the unthinkable happens.

Cybersecurity is not at all that difficult. Once you have incorporated it into your system then it can be as normal as walking. All you need is to learn how you can make it work well and build a good habit to make cybersecurity consistent.

By doing this you have a better chance of keeping your confidential information protected from attacks, and keep your personal information safe.

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