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Five ways to keep your new Christmas technology cyber secure

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (WVLT) – Laptops, phones, and smart TVs are in high demand during the holidays, which means more and more of our devices are connected. The more devices you have, the more likely it is that your information will fall into the wrong hands. So how do you stay safe on the internet?

Bridgitte Mase of Boston Government Solutions of Oak Ridge spoke to WVLT News about simple things you can do to keep your information safe.

Around the holidays, says Bridgitte, phishing scams become more common. Phishing is when hackers attack your information through email and online advertisements.

“We saw a lot of ransomware this year in particular, and it seems to be increasing quite a bit,” said Mase, vice president of Cyber & Technology Solutions at Boston Government Solutions.

Bridgitte gave us five ways to easily protect your data without breaking the bank.

1. Use multi-factor authentication.

With multi-factor authentication, you need to use two or more pieces of evidence to verify your identity. “It’s pretty much everywhere,” said Mase. “So you can set up multi-factor authentication for every account you use.”

2. Do not use the same password for multiple accounts.

“A lot of people use the same password for absolutely every account,” said Mase. “If you get hacked in one place, you suddenly know what you are doing elsewhere and that compromises all of your data.

Mase also suggests using a password manager program that will make it easier not to forget all of your different passwords.

3. Check your privacy settings.

4. Keep your software up to date.

According to Mase, this is one of the most important steps. She said that for the most part, people have the right antivirus software, but they don’t update it often, making it easy for hackers to access as they introduce new scams and bugs.

5. Scan your computer at least once a day.

While you can scan your computer for viruses every now and then, according to Mase, it’s important to do so on a daily basis.

“Make sure your virus scanner software scans every time you log in, at least once a day,” said Mase.

But what about the actual software you need to keep these cyberattacks at bay? Mase said Windows users could benefit from Windows Defender, the free software preinstalled on new Microsoft Windows computers and devices.

“On top of that, if you’re looking to add an extra product, products like Malwarebytes work very well with other products that your computer may already be running,” said Mase. “So if you want to run Defender and Malwarebytes together, you have double protection and you won’t cause any problems if the two don’t work together.”

Mase warns the public to research any antivirus software add-on. Some software is incompatible with programs like Windows Defender and, if used improperly, can even do more harm than good.

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