5 On Your Side

Tips to boost your cyber security as hackers get smarter, bolder

Think 2018 was bad for cyber threats and hacks? Experts say more cyber challenges will crop up in 2019.

Posted Updated

Monica Laliberte
, WRAL executive producer/consumer reporter
RALEIGH, N.C. — Think 2018 was bad for cyber threats and hacks?
Experts say more cyber challenges will crop up in 2019.

Facebook, Google and Marriott hotels -- and their tens of millions of customers -- were targeted by cyber threats last year.

Customers' names, addresses, e-mail addresses, credit card and phone numbers and passport numbers were all taken during the data intrusions.

But there are five things to do to amp up your digital privacy.

1. Software updates. Consumer Reports says one of the easiest ways to increase security with your smart phone, tablet and computer is to keep the software up to date!
Don't wait. And don't forget about updating devices you don't usually get reminders for -- such as routers, security cameras and baby monitors.

2. Privacy settings. Check privacy settings. Determine what access is required by online apps you use. Do the same for contacts, phone microphone and location data. People should consider if they want that information to be out there. The info can be turned off and access given as needed.
3. Two factor authentication. This level of security makes a stolen password almost useless to a hacker. With 2FA, whenever you log in to an account, you'll need to also use a fingerprint or enter a code texted to your phone.

4. Passwords. We all know we're supposed to regularly change our passwords. Especially the "factory" passwords that come with routers and smart devices, such as door locks, garage door openers, cameras, thermostats and smart toys. Change those to a phrase, something only you would know. And include a number and special character. Take that security to the next level by installing a password manager such as Dashlane or LastPass. CR says it's essentially a virtual vault that stores your hard-to-hack account passwords, with one easy to remember password.

5. Credit freeze. And something you can do as a preemptive strike: freeze your credit. It can help keep accounts from being opened in your name. Just know, a freeze also locks out companies you may want to do business with, even potential employers.


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