The blog mentions some helpful cybersecurity tips which everyone should incorporate in their day-to-day lives to browse the web more securely.
The internet touches almost all aspects of our lives. The simplicity and speed of the current digital technology have made us dependent on it for both our personal and professional lives. Unfortunately, this also means that we carry our most sensitive information at our fingertips, making it easier for data thieves to get access to our confidential data.
Why Do We Need Cyber Security Tips?
While most of us consider ourselves to be tech-savvy and educated enough to not fall into the traps laid by the hackers, what we fail to appreciate is that the techniques that the hackers use are evolving more rapidly to affect more digital devices than ever before.
Keeping up your security game against the best hackers in the world might seem overwhelming. However, all that you have to do is be wary of the risks of the digital world and be proactive about keeping your confidential information from falling into the wrong hands.
Does that mean that to use the third-party services, we should peruse over all the terms and conditions which you tend to blindly agree to?
It all depends on the information that the third-party service collects and how they intend to use that information. If a simple calculator app required permissions to access your contacts, you should probably consider switching over to another application.
This doesn’t seem so difficult. That’s because it is not! You don’t need to be a tech genius to protect yourself like one. Sometimes, ensuring to take the most basic steps helps to safeguard yourself from most of the common security attacks.
Some Useful Cyber Security Tips
It will not be responsible for us to just tell you how the digital world is filled with malicious applications, trojans, viruses, worms, and other scary-sounding words, without informing you about how to proactively protect your personal data.
So, here are the top 10 tips to be more secure in the digital world:
Cyber Security Tip #1: Use Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware Protection & Firewalls
Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware software provides the most relevant solutions to safeguard your digital devices from common security threats since they are able to prevent malicious software from compromising your confidential information to a high degree.
However, only install these programs from known and trusted sources, since some cheap anti-virus/anti-malware software might actually be a trojan horse (malicious software which appears to be a legit software), and keep them up-to-date.
Firewalls help safeguard the network by controlling the traffic that is allowed to enter/leave a digital device. Most Windows and Mac systems come with a pre-installed firewall.
Additionally, you should ensure that your router also has a built-in firewall to reduce exposure to cyber-attacks.
Cyber Security Tip #2: Keep Your Systems Up-To-Date
Programs and operating systems release security patches or software updates to make their systems more secure. Hence, it is a good practice to make sure your programs and OS are up-to-date. An easy way to do this is to turn on automatic updates which update your systems as soon as a new release is pushed.
Alternatively, if you don’t want your systems to update automatically, you can manually update your systems whenever a new release is pushed.
Just keep in mind that the longer you hit the ‘remind me tomorrow’ button, the more vulnerable you are to cybersecurity threats since the longer you work on a particular version, the more time the hacker has to exploit the common security weaknesses.
Cyber Security Tip #3: Secure Your Personal Systems
In addition to security software and firewalls, you should secure your personal WiFi network by turning on all the security settings and password protecting the files.
What this essentially means is that you should change your router’s default password, the WiFi should require a password for connecting and the WiFi network should be encrypted.
Further, you can also use the VPN to secure your connection and encrypt your data, thus savings your files from unauthorized access.
You should also pay focus on the physical security of your devices. Do not leave them open and unattended and lock your screen or shut down the system when you are not using it.
Ensure that the files in your external hard drives or flash drives are locked and encrypted. For mobile devices, ensure that your mobile lock password and application passwords are different.
Cyber Security Tip #4: Don’t Use the Free Public WiFi
We all love free things but not all good things in life are free. You can never be sure of the source of the free WiFi. The service might be provided by cybercriminals who will do anything to entice you to switch to the higher speed WiFi over your cellular data.
In situations when you do have to use the public WiFi, do not carry out financial transactions. Also, for added security, use a VPN to secure the traffic between your device and the VPN server.
Cyber Security Tip #5: Surf Carefully
We cannot stress how much you should be wary of the links you click. Just because you can click doesn’t mean you should!
Avoid visiting unknown websites or downloading softwares from untrusted sources. These sites or softwares, though legit, might not prioritise user security, making your confidential information vulnerable to be leaked.
Moreover, do not open attachments or links in the email which seem suspicious, or share any personal information on messages or emails, since you could become the next victim of a phishing scam.
Look out for fake websites by ensuring the URL you are surfing on is secure.
Secure websites show a padlock security symbol in the address bar of your browser.
Cyber Security Tip #6: Up Your Password Game
Passwords act as the first line of defense against cyber breaches, so obviously you should up your password game, that is, keep strong passwords and update them regularly.
It is very easy to skip the recommended ‘You should keep a password unique to only one sites’ advice to reduce risk exposure in case of a security breach and switch to an easy go-to password, cyber criminals are well aware of this practice.
If they are able to steal a single password, it will be easy for them to cause you a lot of harm.
To strengthen your password, you should ensure that it is long and uses different sets of keys, lower cases, upper cases, special characters, and numbers, making it difficult to steal your password through brute force or trial and error algorithms.
Alternatively, you could probably explore using a passphrase, a multi-worded phrase, in place of passwords.
Choose something that is easy to remember and never leave a password hint public. You should also refresh your passwords to commonly used accounts frequently, probably once in a few months or in a year.
Cyber Security Tip #7: Use Password Management Tools
In order to make it easier to access and manage your passwords, password management tools or password account vaults are gaining much popularity nowadays.
These programs help you manage strong unique passwords for all your accounts, create passwords, enter credentials automatically and send a reminder to periodically update your passwords.
Cyber Security Tip #8: Use Two-Factor or Multi-Factor Authentication
Two-factor or multi-factor authentications are services that add additional layers of security to the single-factor authentication method of using passwords.
Surprisingly, according to NIST, an SMS should not be characterized as an additional layer of authentication since malicious software can attack the mobile phone networks and compromise the data during the process.
Cyber Security Tip #9: Monitoring Your Digital Footprint
Be wary of your digital footprint, that is, your day-to-day online activity, to catch something suspicious at the early stages of the security breach. Review your credit reports for unwanted charges and freeze your accounts to protect them from cybercriminals.
As an additional security precaution, review your browser’s privacy settings and disable third-party cookies to eliminate unwanted web tracking.
Cyber Security Tip #10: Back-Up Your Data Regularly
Regularly back up your data to the cloud or an external hard drive to ensure easy data recovery in an event of a security breach that causes a memory wipeout, crash, or stealing of the digital device.
A common methodology behind data backup is a 3-2-1 rule: Keep three copies of your data on 2 different types of storage media (local and external) and 1 copy in an off-site location (cloud).
Frequently Asked Questions
Though a majority of security breaches are due to hacking, phishing or malware incidents, it is interesting to note that most of these breaches are made possible due to human errors of some sort. Hence, it is a must to surf online safely.
It is a type of attack in which a hacker disguises as a legitimate person to trick you into sharing your confidential information with them or to infect your system with a virus.
Phishing scams can be carried out over a phone, text, social networking sites or emails. Be wary of any suspicious unfamiliar user who asks for your confidential information.
You should remain practice in protecting your confidential information. Although it takes some common sense and awareness, some minor adjustments and a few extra steps of precaution are all that it takes to reduce your chances of personal data breaches. We hope these tips are helpful to you to preserve yourself from a security breach.
By Saarthak Jain