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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > February 2017 > New Device? Make Cybersecurity a Top Priority

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New Device? Make Cybersecurity a Top Priority

Did you start out the new year with a new smartphone, tablet, laptop, or even a TV that connects to the internet? The Ohio Attorney General’s Office encourages you to make cybersecurity one of your top priorities as you learn, program, and use your new devices.

Many consumers want to make securing their electronics and personal information a priority, but they may not know where to start. Here are five tips to help stay safe in cyberspace:
  • Use complex, unique passwords: Make your passwords long, hard-to-guess, and unique to each account you set up. Choose a mix of lower case and capital letters, random numbers, and special characters, like an asterisk or question mark. Many experts recommend passwords be at least 8 to 12 characters in length. Also, consider updating your passwords on a regular basis, such as every 60 or 90 days, or right away if you suspect that a password has been compromised.
  • Use strong authentication: While complex passwords are essential, many experts also recommend that you enable “multi-factor” authentication where it is available. This authentication requires you to enter a password and complete at least one other action to prove your identity before gaining access to the account. For example, some websites may require your password and a one-time access code that is sent directly to your smartphone. For more information about multi-factor authentication, visit
  • Secure smart devices: Smart devices are electronic items that are connected to other devices or networks, often through wireless technology such as Bluetooth and WiFi. With the popularity and media attention given to the “internet of Things,” be sure that any internet-enabled appliances, wearable devices, and other smart gadgets are connected to a secure router. Also, be sure to educate yourself about your particular devices, along with any related apps, to keep them secure and understand your security or privacy settings.  
  • Install timely updates: Not only is it important to have strong anti-malware software, but it’s also important to update that software and operating systems as updates become available. Updates may contain recent security patches, the latest malicious software (malware) detection, and malware removal tools. You may want to set your device to automatically update. 
  • Delete, delete, delete: Many times, clicking on suspicious links or attachments can activate malware. Make it a practice to delete anything suspicious, even if it appears to be from a friend. Accounts can be hacked, and viruses sometimes send messages to whole address books or networks of friends. Remember, when in doubt, delete. If you’re really curious, call your friend to ask if he or she sent you the message before you open it. 
  • Be cautious about sharing: Limit the amount of personal information you share online, and be sure to set privacy and security settings on your device and on social media apps. While some programs or apps may claim that information is available only to friends or deleted after a period of time, it is best to operate under the assumption that any posts are permanent and available to a wider audience.
When applied, these tips will help protect you and keep you safe in cyberspace. For more information, download the Ohio Attorney General’s cybersecurity booklet.

To learn more from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office or to schedule a free presentation on the Cybersecurity Help, Information, and Protection Program (CHIPP), visit, or call 800-282-0515.