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Anable: Here are top tips from Cox Communications for internet safety

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Susan Anable
By Susan Anable | Point of View

June is National Internet Safety Month, according to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), so let’s talk about protection. 

Every day, millions of us share our private information online for anyone to find. While cyber criminals on the web are active, companies like Cox know internet safety works best when we all work together.

Our ongoing investment in our fiber-powered network ensures you enjoy the best experience and speed possible. Remember to take steps to keep your security software up-to-date and other actions to enhance your online safety.  Here are a few tips and tricks you can use for yourself or pass along.

Mix Up Passwords for Each Site: As obvious as it may seem, the same stale password of your firstborn child’s birthdate does not disguise you nearly well enough from hackers. Use strong, unique passwords for each online account. Most sites require at least 8 characters, use that number as your minimum and mix it up with special characters from there. Too much work to remember all of them? Consider using a password manager like Bitwarden or Enpass to generate and store complex passwords securely.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Sure, it’s another step, but it only takes a second. Receiving a six-digit code on your phone to use along with your password is nothing compared to identity theft. According to a recent research from Gitnux, 2FA can block 100% of automated bots, 96% of phishing attacks and 76% of targeted attacks. 

Keep Software Updated: When your operating system, antivirus software, and other applications alert you of an available update, take advantage! Each update will likely add some new level of protection against security vulnerabilities. There are also free and paid antivirus options you can get directly from a software provider to keep your devices and information safe.

Safeguard Your Home Wi-Fi: Your home wifi should be password protected. In addition, Cox Communications’ Panoramic Wifi Gateway includes free Advanced Security. Working in concert with your efforts, Cox Advanced Security automatically scans for threats 24/7/365. If detected, the system will send an alert if you’re accidentally visiting a malicious site or are a potential victim of a phishing attack. Speaking of which…

Be Cautious of Phishing Emails and Texts: If it doesn’t seem legit, it probably isn’t. Don’t click on links or download attachments from unknown senders. For emails, check the sender’s address even if it looks like an official message from your bank, the IRS, or the U.S. Postal Service. Reputable institutions won’t reach out via email to ask for personal or sensitive information. You may notice typos in the email body or company logos, these are clear signs of a phishing email and that a scammer is trying to “phish” for information.

Avoid Unsecured Sites: If you look at the top of your search browser, there’s often a drop-down menu to the left of your search that you can expand to learn about the security features of that website. If that drop-down menu shows a lock symbol, your site has a secure, encrypted protection and is trusted by your browser. If that lock isn’t there, proceed with caution as the site does not have a digital certificate. Some malicious sites have locks as well, but looking out for them is a good habit to practice.

Be Discerning About Artificial Intelligence (AI): Good news, AI-powered antivirus software or security tools can leverage machine learning and algorithms to detect and mitigate potential threats in real time. These tools help protect against malware (software installed on your device without your consent to interfere with your security), phishing, and other cyber threats. However, AI has contributed to the creation of deep fakes (manipulated audio, video, and other images) that can be convincing in making you think an actual person said or did something they didn’t. 

By knowing best practices and understanding how technological advances can impact your online security and privacy, you empower yourself. Let’s secure our digital stage and drop the mic on cyber threats.

Editor’s Note: Susan Anable is Cox Phoenix Market Vice President

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