Cyber attacks don’t discriminate between small businesses or multinational corporations. Digital criminals have both defrauded individuals and stolen data from Facebook. However, more than 40% of cyber attacks seem to target small companies. To make matters worse, the FBI has identified a 300% increase in reported digital crimes when the pandemic started. That’s why you need to constantly be on guard while surfing the internet. Here are some suggestions on bolstering personal cybersecurity.
- Don’t click without thinking
Let’s begin with an easy one, shall we? Don’t click a link without considering whether it’s from a trusted source or not. Cybercriminals can lure people with seductive images or links to pornographic material. Control your instincts to open any link that pops up before your eyes. Beware of green buttons that look like valid download options but aren’t. These malicious links can disrupt your device’s performance and steal your information by downloading malware.
- Don’t give away your info too soon
When you’re signing up for a service, don’t provide personal information unnecessarily. And don’t just click “I agree” without actually bothering to read the terms and conditions. Look closely at what sort of information they’re demanding from you. You need to develop awareness regarding what piece of data can be used to trick you. Some people are careless about their phone number when a hacker may use it for “SIM hacking.” So, don’t agree to anything potentially harmful.
- Check your apps’ access
How much access do your apps have? Have you allowed them to use the camera or read your contacts? What type of data can an app legally collect? It’s all there in terms of services. Sadly, more than 90% of consumers don’t invest their time to give that fine print a read. That’s why shady corporations can gather your personal information without your consent or knowledge. So, be vigilant with these mobile applications when they ask you to share your age, location, or phone number.
- Educate yourself
Education always benefits you by making you more attentive to your cyber health. Complement your healthy digital habits with an online cyber security degree for turning your curiosity into a potential career. Such courses serve as a virtual training ground where you can develop your digital protection skills with confidence. There’s no harm in making a ‘modest’ $100,000 every year either!
- Don’t fall for phishing
What’s the most common cybersecurity attack you’re likely to fall for? Well, it involves 3 billion fake emails sent every day! It’s called phishing! A hacker poses as someone you trust to steal your information. So, watch out for signs of an email being a scam. Check for grammar errors in the email or any other noticeable inconsistency. Try hovering your mouse over the link to learn its destination. Also, don’t open documents you receive in a malicious email and install a phishing filter.
- Use social media vigilantly
People have become less careful about sharing personal information online. There’s nothing wrong with keeping your contacts updated about your life. But a hacker may use the information you’ve posted online to scam you. Your digital friends don’t need to know your most private details, including your mom’s middle name, your dead pet’s name, or your home address. Also, refrain from sharing your schedule or information about your work on Facebook and Instagram.
- Protect your mobile
Secure your device in your presence and secure your presence through your device as well. Don’t join a public Wi-Fi connection, remember to turn Bluetooth off, and don’t download from shady websites. Keep your OS and apps updated as their latest updates make you less susceptible to malware. Try encryption software to protect your information from being misused by hackers. It’ll leave you with the only key to decrypt this data, protecting you from financial loss as a result.
- Backup your data
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t back up essential data. You don’t need to store it physically on a separate device. You can always upload it on the cloud to access or recover it in case of theft. Some hackers encrypt your data and blackmail you for the decryption key. Data backup becomes the ultimate recovery option in these situations. Some 65% of consumers reported in 2018 that they’d lost their critical data. So, don’t forget to back up your data regularly every week!
- Create a strong password
Create a unique and robust password that isn’t too complex for you to remember. This password should be a combination of letters and symbols that are distinct. It’s unfortunate to see that “password,” “picture1”, and “123456” remain some of the most popular combinations despite obvious cybersecurity threats. But:
- It would be best if you frequently change your password.
- Use different passwords for different accounts.
- Use a password manager to remember all of them.
- Enter at least a dozen to fourteen characters in your password.
- Don’t share this password with anyone (this one’s a no-brainer)!
- Use two-factor authentication
Hackers have become smarter, and password protection isn’t enough anymore. That’s why you should also focus on SMS-based two-factor authentication (2FA) to bolster your privacy. A code is generated and sent to your mobile device. Thereby, hackers can’t infiltrate your privacy without possessing your smartphone. Biometric authentication has also become popular as a more reliable means of accessing one’s account.
- Install an anti-virus
Your data needs to be protected at all costs, even if that means changing your device from time to time. Fun fact: Elon Musk regularly changes his smartphone once a year. He wipes out data from the old device, restores it on the new piece, and then destroys his previous phone. But you don’t wish to buy a new device every year, do you? As an alternative, you should purchase and install genuine anti-malware software. Invest in a portable hotspot and safeguard your online trafficking with a firewall. Don’t forget to utilize an anti-virus program. And most importantly, don’t pirate a free anti-virus. It’s just as good (or bad) as buying prescription drugs from a guy in the alley.
The internet is riddled with hackers, scammers, and fraudsters. Statistics state that a cyber-attack happens every 39 seconds in the United States. It even takes multinational companies six months to detect just a minor data breach. And how do hackers get this information? Data suggests that 95% of cybersecurity breaches are caused by human folly. If people just become more cautious, there won’t be so many data leakages. So, it would be best if you were careful about protecting your personal information too. Talk to the IT guy at work if you need more help!