Cyber hygiene is no more a choice, it is a necessity for a safe and secure lifestyle. Like a house protects you from the external environment, cybersecurity protects you from external intruders interested in stealing or snatching your confidential information for various motives, often monetary. In this globally connected world, cyber safety is interlinked with the safety of everyone and not just one person/system.
As the dependency on the internet is growing, the importance of cyber safety is also growing significantly. Learning how to protect our devices and information from falling prey to malicious intruders has become imperative. Cyber safety matters to everyone as most of our crucial data is online.
Stay Cyber Secure
1. Financial transactions
Anything that deals with money should be protected. Ensure that you are taking the utmost care while performing online transactions. While making online payments, banks usually implement dual verification and only then process your payment request. Besides banking payments, there are many third-party payment wallets where you should not be negligent while setting up the transaction process. It is a good practice to play safe with your financial applications and transactions. In a survey conducted by Symantec, “87% of consumers have left their confidential information exposed while accessing emails, bank accounts, etc.” 
2. Malware or computer hijacks
Malware of ransomware attacks is performed to steal our identity online. During 2017 and 2018, identity theft remained the center stage among the various attacks. By installing malware in your system, the attacker can track your credit card number, personal identity details, passwords to your accounts, and other critical information. In a survey conducted by The Harris Poll in 2018, nearly 60 million Americans fell victims to an identity theft attack, when compared to a mere 15 million in 2017.  Almost 143 million Americans experienced an increased risk of identity theft after the Equifax hack 
While working online, students and professionals research using different websites and there lies the possibility of landing on a malicious website. Your response on that website would result in the installation of malware on your computer or browser to track your browsing history. Usually, students access unauthentic software that comes without updated patches and therefore fall prone to ransomware attacks.
3. Unauthorized wi-fi access
Consumers are unable to resist a strong, free wi-fi signal. Around 55% of consumers do not hesitate to connect their devices to any available open source wi-fi network. 
Here are more facts on wi-fi access from Symantec – 
|60% feel their personal information is safe when using public Wi-Fi||53% can’t tell the difference between a secure or unsecured public W-Fi network|
|75% of consumers don’t use a VPN to secure their Wi-Fi connection||87% of consumers have potentially put their information at risk while using public Wi-Fi|
4. Contact or personal details
Be alert while sharing your contact details or any personal details online. Usually, when downloading or accessing a few shopping sites you are asked to share your contact information. You should have a second eye for detail whenever you give information about yourself. Excess of sharing about your lifestyle, day-to-day activities, and your photos, can also act as an invitation to the attacker, who will be able to track your socializing pattern and plan a socially engineered attack against you.
There are so many small hacks happening with an average of 44 records stolen per second. 
Social media websites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat face 46% of the higher risk of account takeover and fraud than those who are not active online. 
Your Cyber Hygiene Affects Others
Ever wondered why health officials urge everyone to get a flu shot? This is to stop the spread of an epidemic. In the same way, a cyber attack can also be infectious. Malware in a device can spread to other devices connected to the same network (IoT devices). So, when you practice cyber hygiene, it equally protects other devices in the network. The best example could be bots or zombie networks. Even bad social networking and email accounts can spread a virus.
Stop. Think. Connect
To have a successful implementation of cyber hygiene, follow the three steps –
Stop – Before using the internet or sharing any data, take time to understand the risks involved. Learn how to tackle potential risks.
Think – Watch for warning signs before accessing anything online. Consider the safety of others and analyze the importance of sharing the information.
Connect – Always connect to authorized and safe internet connections.
To be cyber safe and to implement cyber-safety measures, you should be explicitly educated in cybersecurity. EC-Council University offers individual courses in a Non-Degree status for those cybersecurity enthusiasts who do not want to commit themselves for the entire degree program but want to acquire few specific skills. This non-degree status will help you in learning the significance of cyber safety to an individual and to the organization as a whole. Course s ties to certifications will also help in availing EC-Council credentials that can give a boost to your career. At any point of time, you can opt to apply successfully completed courses to the respective degree should you meet admission requirements. For more details, do visit our website. ECCU.edu