How To Stay Cyber Safe In The Digital Age

Ten Tips from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department

  • Use strong passwords to accompany your email address for access to important accounts. These passwords should have at least twelve characters (i.e., numbers, letters, and another type of character).
  • When sending sensitive documents, use encryption features. Examples include AxCrypt, BitLocker, GnuPG, 7-Zip, and VeraCrypt.
  • Avoid clicking on links in emails or opening questionable emails. Instead, go to the actual site or cut and paste the link into your browser.
  • Avoid over-sharing personal information on social media. For example, do not announce in advance that you plan to be away from home for an extended period or give the dates and hours of your expected departure and return.
  • Never allow an unknown caller to access your computer remotely. Hang up on callers who offer to reactivate, clean up, clear up, or speed up your computer if given access to it.
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi whenever possible. Instead, use your cellular data plan.
  • Always back up your data. Use a Cloud service, external drive, or memory stick for this purpose.
  • Update your devices with the latest software. Most updates are security related.
  • Do not pay ransom for stolen data or false indiscretions. If you have not done anything wrong and you have backed up your data, don’t worry about it!
  • Never click on pop-up prompts to change your passwords. Instead, go to the actual site to enter a new password or to change other private or sensitive customer information.

If you believe that you have been the victim of a cyber-related crime, call the Orange County Sheriff’s Department at either 714-647-700 or 949-770-6011.