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Think Like an Athlete: The Tailgater’s Guide to Cyber Safety

The Tailgaters guide to cyber safety

It’s almost here! Football season, complete with cooler temperatures, car flags, painted faces, canopies, coolers and grills in the parking lot and that palatable electricity in the air.

Tailgating, in addition to describing the practice of pre-game gatherings, is also a physical security breach – often conducted through social engineering in which an unauthorized person follows an authorized individual to enter a secured premise.

But if we’re talking about the other kind – the parking lot kind – there are other kinds of breaches to keep in mind of the cybersecurity flavor.

Regardless of where you watch games, you’re likely going to rely on some form of technology to enhance your experience. Whether you’re using apps to purchase tickets, posting on social media, or choosing your dream fantasy football team, by following a few best practices, you’ll get the most out of the season.

1. Think like an athlete.

When it comes to cybersecurity, offense is your best defense. Cybercriminals are always looking for holes in your defense, so it’s essential that you be proactive about keeping your security software up to date on all your devices. Register for automatic updates to make sure you stay protected.

2. Use strong passwords for all your accounts and devices.

Strong passwords are at least eight characters, are nonsense words, use special characters and involve a combination of numbers and case-sensitive letters. Rather than try to remember them all, consider using a password manager – many of which are free – such as LastPass, DashLane, or 1Password.

3. Just as person-to-person payment apps like Venmo, Zelle, PayPal, and Square Cash are convenient for you, they make things easy for cyber thieves, too.

Before using any of these apps, be sure to enable two-factor authentication on the bank accounts they connect to. This extra layer of protection makes it much harder for criminals to access and steal your money.

4. Think before you post.

If you travel to an out-of-town game, make sure to post any updates or pictures on social media AFTER you get back home. It’s easy for criminals to find out where you live, and a heads up that you’re out of town makes their work easier.

5. Protect your personal information.

If you are one of the more than 59.3 million people in the US participating in a fantasy football league, never email personally identifiable information (social security numbers, bank accounts, driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers) to the provider. Investigate the data protection policies and practices of the platform you want to use. Just last year, DraftKings was hit by a cyberattack at football season kickoff.

Just like a quarterback before a play, you can’t let your guard down! To stay protected online beyond football season, please explore our many other helpful cybersecurity resources on our website. We also invite you to follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Written by: Sarah Nicholas

Sarah is the Director of Communications for Serendipity Communications. She lives in Plainwell, Michigan with her husband, daughters and stepson, with twin stepdaughters nearby. She is passionate about cyber safety education for children and enjoys ballet dancing, reading and volunteering at her children’s school.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Ameris Bank does not endorse nor is affiliated with the companies listed in this article.