Combining the essential practices from both sets of advice yields a comprehensive guide tailored for non-technical individuals seeking to enhance their digital security. This unified list offers straightforward yet effective measures to protect against cyber threats:

  1. Use Strong, Unique Passwords for Each Account: Craft strong RANDOM passwords with a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols for each online account. This complexity thwarts hackers’ attempts at guessing your passwords.
    • Minimum suggested length is 16 characters
    • Use a random feature from a password manager to generate your passwords
    • Never use anything related to you in a password
  2. Employ a Password Manager: Simplify password management and bolster security by using a password keeper. This tool securely stores all your passwords, reducing the risk of using simple, repetitive passwords. I personally use Keeper Security.
  3. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Add an extra layer of security with 2FA, requiring a second form of verification beyond your password. This significantly lowers the risk of unauthorized access.
  4. Regularly Update Software and Operating Systems: Stay ahead of cyber threats by keeping all software and operating systems updated. Patches and updates fix vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers.
  5. Be Wary of Phishing Attempts: Educate yourself on how to spot phishing scams, such as suspicious links or emails. Avoid sharing sensitive information based on unsolicited requests.
  6. Implement Firewall and Antivirus Software: Use a firewall to control traffic between your computer and the internet, and antivirus software to detect and remove malicious threats.
  7. Encrypt Sensitive Data: Protect your personal and financial information by encrypting data, making it unreadable to unauthorized users without the correct encryption key.
  8. Secure Your Home Network: Enhance your network’s security by changing the default settings on your router, using strong encryption, and regularly updating firmware.
  9. Use Secure and Private Connections: Avoid public Wi-Fi for sensitive transactions. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt your internet connection when necessary.
  10. Monitor Account Activity: Keep an eye on bank statements and online accounts for unauthorized transactions. Set up alerts for suspicious activity with your financial institutions.
  11. Educate Yourself About Cybersecurity: Stay informed about current cybersecurity threats and protective measures. Continuous education is vital in the fight against cybercrime.
  12. Exercise Caution with Unknown Callers: Do not confirm personal information over the phone to unknown callers. Avoid saying ‘yes’ directly; instead, respond with full sentences.
  13. Be Skeptical of ‘Free’ Offers: Understand that “free” online offers may be scams. Scrutinize such offers carefully to avoid falling prey to phishing or fraud.
  14. Avoid Personal Information in Email Addresses: Do not use personal details like your birthdate and full name together in your email address to prevent giving hackers easy access to your personal information.

By integrating these practices into your digital life, you can significantly enhance your protection against cyber threats with minimal technical expertise required. This list serves as a foundation for building a secure online presence, ensuring you stay one step ahead of potential cyber attacks.