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Science

Tech Radio: A Cybersecurity Checklist

Busy street scene with people obsessed with using smart phones and computer technology
NPR

This interview is from SDPB's daily public-affairs show, In the Moment, hosted by Lori Walsh.

Cybercriminals are getting more sophisticated. South Dakotans are spending more time in the digital space. Today's Tech Radio panelists offer tips for online safety.

Guests: Kent Osborne, SDPB, Jeff Clines, Executive Management Commissioner, Bureau of Information and Telecommunications, and Miguel Penaranda, Chief Security Officer, State of South Dakota.

A Cybersecurity Checklist:

  • The best password is one you don't remember. Use a password manager to secure unique passwords for each online account. Use one strong password to access your password manager account. Change that password every two to three months.
  • Use a different email for different types of accounts.
  • Turn on two-factor authentication (2FA).
  • Keep all devices up to date, all the time. You can block 98 percent of threats if your programs, apps, and computers have the most recent updates.
  • Back up your data. Even if you are always careful, the worst can happen. Ransomware and infected files can derail your business, your finances, and your personal life. If you backup regularly, you will at least be able to start over with clean data.
  • Slow down and think before clicking on links. Email is one of the most popular ways to hack into data. Avoid clicking on email links. Back out of email and go directly to a bank website, for example, instead of accessing your account via hyperlink. Call the person who sent you an email to make sure they are the actual sender. Your instincts are your friend. Slow down so you can listen to that inner voice that advises caution.
  • Protect your own privacy. Limit the personal information you offer online. Consider everything you put on a site to be 100 percent public.
  • Connect securely. Avoid connecting to the internet from public locations such as coffee shops and hotels.
  • Monitor your financial profile. Check your bank statements, credit card statements, and credit report frequently. Know where your money goes.