Now that the pandemic has moved all your lives online are you aware of the threats to your devices? If you do, how do you plan to keep them secure? Our devices have become an extension of ourselves and it wouldn’t be wrong if they demand our little attention and care.
A lot of us take cybersecurity for granted but it needs to change, as cyber threats post COVID continue to evolve. It’s high time you establish solid digital hygiene practices which should be a routine just as brushing your teeth.
Starting with the basic yet most taken for granted advice,

STRONG PASSWORDS
People have a tendency to forget things which they don’t really care about. Sadly, one of those things is passwords! They keep very easy and similar passwords for almost all their accounts and devices. The importance of strong and complex passwords can’t be emphasized enough.
Always use unique and complex passwords and not the one’s which resonate with your name, address, etc.
Use at least 12 characters along with numbers, symbols, and capital and lowercase letters
Change them regularly
Turn on ‘Two-Factor Authentication’
Don’t wait for someone to hack your account and then take passwords seriously because if it’s someone today it can be you tomorrow!

Balance your SCREEN TIME
Do screen time rules still apply in lockdown?
COVID 19 has made it nearly impossible to survive without our devices. Of course, almost everything starts and ends on our devices these days but can it be controlled? Have we become addicted to our devices? For most of you, the answer must be yes and that is ok as it is the demand of the time but you definitely need to find your balance.
Decide an hour or so of the day when you’ll do device-detox and utilize that time to play board games with the family or meditate or cook something new, anything which interests you.
Avoid looking at screens during mealtime.
Turn screens off at least one hour before bed.
PARENTAL CONTROL
Screen time has gone up by 100% for children during the lockdown. Parents are raising a new generation of techie kids. They can’t limit their kids’ screen time because of the COVID situation. After all kids’ education to recreation, all happen online. But at least parents can have a check on what their kids are exposed to when online. Parental Control is the need of the hour. You can keep a check on what your kids are exposed to when online, what all apps they spend time on and make informed decisions.
The easiest thing to do if you just want to limit their times is to set a screen time passcode.
You can buy parental control software to control and monitor all the devices in your home.
Kids who have a smartphone spend 7.5 hours on it
50% of kids admit to being addicted to phone
9 out of 10 parents say that parental control software helps their kids
Kids of this generation are smart and that’s why parents need to become smarter.
Always, always BACKUP
Backups are saviors. To protect your important files from any data loss back them up on an external hard drive, or in the cloud. This way you can protect them even if hackers gain access to one of your devices.
All it takes is one click and if you still procrastinate, the loss is yours!

Your STORAGE NEEDS TO RELAX
With thousands of photos and hundreds of accounts and apps, your device is slowly dying of the burden.
DELETE the APPS you hardly or never use!
The devices should always be up to date and apps and accounts which you don’t use should be removed. Every app or account you have on your device has access to your personal information or maybe or your camera or the photo gallery.
All this data is sensitive and you don’t want to risk your privacy. Be very careful of apps you download and permissions you give.
Like apps which do not have a thing to do with your camera, but still asks for access to it, always deny. Likewise, apps often ask for your location whereas it’s completely not needed for most of them. Tik Tok is the best example. Beware!

UNSUBSCRIBE from JUNK EMAILS
There are thousands of emails we don’t even care about but are too lazy to unsubscribe from them.
Don’t keep on hitting “mark button” rather just get them out of your life
Organize the mails you do need
You must keep your account and security related emails at one place
This way your important emails about subscription fee, password resets, won’t go unnoticed in the noise of your inbox
Spam e-mails carrying malicious attachments and links is new normal. You won’t be able to even identify if they are fake. So be 100% sure before clicking on a link, signing a petition or filling any form because you might be simply giving away your credentials/information to fraudsters.

PROTECT your BROWSERS
If you want to protect your privacy, you need to know what are cookies doing on your browsers. Cookies are meant to track your movements across the web. They don’t infect your computers and you don’t have to delete all the cookies but just the third-party cookies.
What are they? Third-party cookies are used for tracking your movements to gain marketing or demographic data. All the ads which exactly match your latest search query or an item in your wish list becomes possible because of these cookies.
Hence blocking them will make it difficult for the advertisers to get your online activity details. Browsers such as Safari and Firefox block them by default while others let you opt-in their settings menu.
It’s easy and important to disable and delete cookies from your browsers regularly to protect your privacy.

PROTECT your E-WALLETS
Hackers impersonate authoritative organizations and create an urgency to reply. For prevention against impersonation, avoid falling prey to social engineering tricks:
Support staff or financial service providers will never ask for your personal information such as passwords or OTPs over phone inquiries or mails.
Keep the wallet software up to date. It allows for receiving important stability and security fixes timely.
Enable strong passwords
Install apps from trusted sources
Report fraud immediately because the RBI has said that a customer of an e-wallet has no liability if the fraud is reported within 3 days.
Avoid auto-saving cards
Do not use public wi-fi networks

Don’t become ignorant of your digital life and use all your resources wisely. Life doesn’t stop because of a pandemic, it goes on. Hard times give us an opportunity to shine brighter and come out stronger. Use this time as an opportunity to make your devices your best friends and not your worst enemies.