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Tips for a cyber secure new year

By Mark Brownlee

Looking to make your new year more cybersecure? Here’s how.

Use a password manager

Passwords are key to securing your online accounts against cyber threats. If you use weak ones, it makes it easier for attackers to gain access to your accounts.

So that’s why you need to create strong passwords that are unique to each account, right?


The problem is, though, that strong passwords are much more difficult to remember.

That’s where a password manager comes in. A password manager can help you create strong passwords and then store them in a single location so you can access them whenever you need.

Update your devices

Cyber attacks are constantly changing.

What worked to stop them today might not work to stop them tomorrow.

That’s why companies like Apple and Google that build our phones, tablets and other devices are constantly releasing software updates—so they can stay one step ahead.

The problem?

Many families don’t download the updates that device manufacturers provide to them. It’s important to actually take the time to download software updates for all your laptops and other devices to keep your information secure.

Not sure where to start?

A good place would be the device you probably use the most: your phone. After that you can add laptops, tablets and any other device that might be in need of an update.

Avoid malicious websites

Lots of cyber attacks start with something most of us do every day: visiting a website.

Attackers frequently use websites to deliver malicious files that infect our devices.

So how do you protect against malicious websites?

A good starting point is education—if you can recognize the signs of a malicious website before you click, you can save yourself a lot of pain later on. These signs can include links that are delivered from a suspicious source (such as a phishing email) and URLs that are misspelled.

The other action you can take is making use of a protective DNS tool. This can help you to block websites before you visit them. Say, for example, that you or a member of your family accidentally clicked on a link you shouldn’t. Protective DNS will use something called a threat feed to identify that the site is malicious and prevent you (or your family) from visiting it.

CIRA offers a free protective DNS tool called Canadian Shield.


Don’t let the new year get away from you.

Following these three simple steps will help you start a new season off right.

Learn more about getting going with Shield.

About the author
Mark Brownlee

Mark Brownlee is a Product Marketing Manager with CIRA Cybersecurity Services. His work, which focuses on the CIRA DNS Firewall and Canadian Shield products, is dedicated to helping protect people and organizations in Canada from cyber threats. His background is in marketing strategy, communications planning and advertising best practices.