The internet has drastically changed our lives by connecting us with people from all over the world and giving us easy access to information that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. But the internet also contains dangers that can be extremely harmful to your personal, financial, and medical information, as well as to your reputation, such as identity theft and data breaches. And it’s not only companies that are at risk; regular people like you and me are subject to fraud as well. Following tips will save you from upcoming cyber threats
Updating apps and operating systems regularly is a vital part of staying secure online. In fact, updating software is one of those best practices that all security professionals say we should follow—but few of us actually do it regularly. Don’t fall into that trap! It’s easy to set yourself reminders to update, or have them happen automatically via an auto-update feature (if you can find one). Either way, if you do nothing else to improve your security, it’s important to make sure you’re up-to-date on what’s going on with iOS and Windows.
Use two-factor authentication (2FA)
2FA is an additional layer of security for important accounts like email and banking, and it’s a good idea to use it. 2FA can be inconvenient, but it’s a necessary evil. We use two-factor authentication all day long—we just don’t think of our fingerprint sensor as 2FA. Use two-factor authentication if you can on sites like Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other site that offers it. If using 2FA isn’t possible (for example, because some services don’t support it), try using a password manager with built-in auto sign in to make password management more seamless. Passwords are one of many attack vectors online. Using strong passwords for each service and protecting them with 2FA are both essential parts of being safe online.
Encrypt your data
Encrypting data is one of the most basic ways to prevent it from being accessed by a third party. To encrypt files, software scrambles data in such a way that only those who have access to encryption keys can decrypt them. Make sure you’re using good security practices and software to protect yourself online. If there are vulnerabilities in your system, they can be exploited—and encrypted information stolen—even if you use encryption. There’s no guaranteed protection, but it’s still better than nothing!
Learn good password practices
One of the most important steps in safeguarding your information is making sure that you have secure passwords. Experts recommend having long, complex passwords (that aren’t obvious or easy to guess) that include uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. You should change these on a regular basis to keep them current. But don’t go overboard; changing your password multiple times a day can be just as damaging as keeping one you’ve never changed. There are plenty of password managers out there that can help make it easier for you to manage logins.
Keep a strong firewall and antivirus software
There are two things you need to know to keep your computer and data safe. First, get a firewall and antivirus software—ideally, these will be up-to-date. Second, don’t click links on emails or download attachments without making sure they’re from legitimate sources. Hackers rely on social engineering—baiting people with fake information in hopes that they’ll take action that compromises their computer security. If you feel like something is fishy about an email or attachment, don’t open it! Also remember that free antivirus programs are often just as good as paid ones; so if you want to save some money, shop around for free options.
Protect yourself from ransomware
Ransomware is one of many types of malicious software that’s used to infect computers and block users from accessing their files. If a computer is infected with ransomware, it’s nearly impossible to unlock unless you pay a ransom. For example, if your phone or laptop were infected with ransomware, you might not be able to unlock it until you pay someone a few hundred dollars in bitcoin. To keep yourself safe from ransomware, make sure all of your files are backed up so you can restore them if an attack does occur. You should also think about investing in security software for both your phone and computer—it’s not 100% foolproof but it’ll give you a fighting chance against an attack.
If you have any doubt in regards to the importance of cyber security, just remember these words: Our world has never been more connected or more vulnerable. If a cyber attack occurs, it can affect not only companies but entire countries, leaving people without critical services like water and electricity. Cyber security is a topic that isn’t going away; it’s one that business owners should pay attention to and prepare for as much as possible.