It’s October, which is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (or NCSAM)! In honour of this month, we’ve written up a few tips for you to stay safe online.

Red Flags That You’ve Been Hacked

You see posts that you’ve never made on your social network page.

While you may wish that you lost 36 pounds in 2 weeks by using one secret ingredient, you don’t remember posting that information on your Facebook, Twitter, or any other social network page. If you see posts from your social network page that you’ve never made, especially ones that prompt your contacts to follow a link, you’ve been hacked!

Your friends mentions an email that you don’t remember sending.

If you’ve been unknowingly sending out spam to your email contacts, it’s never a good sign. Be quick to investigate your account security if a friend notifies you about an email that you’re unaware of being sent out.

So, How Can I Protect Myself?

As that old adage says, prevention is key!  Here are some ways to fortify yourself in the cyber world.

Use separate email accounts for separate purposes. 

The more you diversify, the less affected you’ll be if one account gets hacked.

Try using a disposable email.

For example, try out 10 Minute Mail. If you need an email to quickly retrieve a coupon code or sign up for a freebie, you can protect yourself from spam by using a temporary email address.

Don’t follow links in emails that ask you to sign into your account.

While you may get legit-looking emails from PayPal or eBay with links which tell you to log into your account, it’s best to avoid potential phishing. Go directly to the website and log in from there.

Beware of those sketchy-looking messages.

Trust your gut when it comes to suspicious looking emails. Be especially wary of links or attachments which come from contacts that you don’t speak to regularly, or if the message doesn’t look like something a contact would typically write. Remember that even if you know the sender, their account could have been hacked.

Use unique passwords for every site.

Once a hacker gets your account information on one site, they’ll be able to retrieve your login information for other accounts if you reused your password.

Delete services that are not in use.

The internet is full of exciting things, and chances are, you’ve tried a plethora of games, social networking accounts, and web apps. Once you’ve decided to stop using a service, it’s best to delete your account altogether. This way, if the service is hacked, you won’t have to worry about being impersonated or trying to remember your login information in order to quickly delete your account.

Regularly update your password.

Change your password at least once every three months. We’ll be coming out with a blog with tips on how to create strong passwords that you can actually remember, so remember to check back soon!