7 Cyber Habits to Stay Safe Online

Every new cyber attack, breach or scam seems to be followed by a barrage of cybersecurity awareness tips, pointers, dos and don’ts that we’re expected to follow to keep ourselves and our families safe and secure. While sometimes specific tips and awareness messages are important, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and tune it all out.

A old colleague and friend of mine Geoff Wright was big on number 7, he wrote his thesis on file systems where there would only ever be 7 folders in your view, when he gave a presentation he always had Max 7 slides in the presentation, he argued that that the brain found it easier to get 7 ideas to stick, than to bombard each other with countless tips n tricks that we just don't retain!

So this post follows Geoff's advise as I try to simplify cybersecurity awareness and focus on just 7 good habits that can help protect you across a variety of situations.


Good habits are the foundation of cybersecurity awareness just as they are for safety and security in the physical world; like locking your front door, pressing the alarm button on your car keys. Here are the seven important cybersecurity awareness habits to incorporate into your online life. They will help to protect you, your information, your family, and your work against a wide variety of cybersecurity threats. They’ll also reduce your risk of getting scammed! Try to make these habits automatic and your cybersenses will will be constantly awakened!

1. Think Twice!

Always think twice before clicking on links or opening attachments. Sometimes all it takes is that extra split second to realize that you might be being tricked.

2. Verify!

Verify requests for private information (yours or anyone’s), even if the request seems to come from someone you know. Con artists know how to fake their identity.

3. Password Protection!

Protect your passwords. Make them long and strong, never reveal them to anyone, and use multi-factor authentication (MFA, also called 2-step authentication) wherever possible. Also use different passwords for university and non-university accounts.

4. Physical Hardware Protection!

Protect your Laptops and Smartphones Thumb drives etc Lock em up or take them with you before you leave, even if you’ll only be away for a second. And password protect all of your devices.

5. Clean Machine!

Keep a clean machine! Keep your devices, apps, browsers, and anti-virus/anti-malware software patched and up to date. Automate software updates and restart your devices periodically to ensure updates are fully installed.

6. Back Up Is Smart!

Back up critical files. Store backups in a physically separate location from the originals, and test them periodically.

7. Clean Up When You're Done!

Delete sensitive information when you are done with it. Better yet, don’t store it in the first place if you don’t need to.

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If you have any questions or would like information on any of the above feel free to get in touch with our IT Service Desk.

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