With so many different forms of cyber crimes and criminals, it’s hard to protect yourself online. Each time you log on, you’re exposing yourself to identity theft, financial fraud, information privacy and forgery, and more. Each time we use the internet, we make choices that affect our cyber security. The first step to protecting yourself from cyber-attacks is realizing that it can happen to you.

Keep these 10 cyber security tips in mind each time you go online, or use your computer, mobile phone or other electronic device.

  1. Protect with strong, unique passwords. Although passwords can be hard to remember, it’s important to have a unique password for every account you own, especially for critical accounts such as health care or banking. Cyber security experts suggest that you change your password every 90 days.
  2. If you have a security question to remind you of your password, be sure that you don’t use information that is readily accessible online, such as on your Facebook or other social media sites. The answer to your security question doesn’t need to be truthful, it just needs to be memorable.
  3. Don’t overshare. You should always be cautious of what you share on social media. If a criminal were to befriend you on sites like Facebook or Twitter, they could gain access to an appalling amount of information—such as where you live, where you go to school or work, where you vacation, what bank you use, etc.
  4. Watch out for social engineering. Social engineering is the use of deception to manipulate someone into divulging confidential or personal information that may be used for fraudulent purposes. If someone calls or emails asking for sensitive information, you should be weary. If you’re unsure, call the company directly and verify credentials before handing out information.
  5. Update your software. Application, operation system or web browser updates are often designed to plug security holes in the software. If you don’t update your software, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable.
  6. Use caution when clicking on attachments or links in an email. Don’t click on links from unknown senders. Malicious actors commonly send out links that will upload a virus to your computer. These attacks, known as spear phishing attacks, mimic communications from a legitimate business to persuade you to give up personal information. Keep in mind that no legitimate business would contact you to verify an account you have with them. If it seems suspicious, don’t open it.
  7. Be careful about what type of business you conduct while on a device that does not belong to you, or while on a network you are unfamiliar with. If you’re on a friend’s phone, public computer, or a café’s free Wi-Fi, your data could be copied or stolen. Public Wi-Fi is generally not encrypted, which means criminals with the right tools can view your unencrypted network traffic.
  8. When banking and shopping online, be sure that the site is secure. Look for web addresses with https:// or shttp://, which means that the site takes extra steps to secure your information.
  9. Be cautious of what you plug into your computer. External hard drives, flash drives, and even cell phones could spread malware to your computer if they’re infected.
  10. Don’t leave your computer unsecured. The physical security of your computer is just as important as the internal security. If you leave your computer or applications open in a public area where people you don’t know can gain access. It only takes a few minutes for a criminal to gather sensitive information.