Due to the enormous growth of the Internet, it has become a place riddled with viruses, scams, and other shady activities. Data breaches are increasing in frequency, with unsuspecting users being more vulnerable today.
When a single wrong click can lead to thousands of dollars in damages (sometimes millions), it’s important that computer users have some understanding of what they should or shouldn’t be doing while online. Below are 10 important cyber security tips that you’ll want to know about.
- 1 Use Secure Passwords
- 2 Keep Your Softwares Up-To-Date
- 3 Use Two-Factor Authentication
- 4 Watch out For Phishing Scams
- 5 Avoid Public Networks
- 6 Use Mobile App Securely
- 7 Back-Up Your Data
- 8 Implement Antivirus and Firewall Protection
- 9 Track Your Digital Footprint
- 10 Continuously Review Accounts
Use Secure Passwords
Probably the basis of any cyber security strategy is the implementation of strong passwords. The standard for a complex or strong password is one that consists of both lower and upper case letters, along with numbers and special characters, if supported.
If password hints are an option, make sure the hint you go with is only something you can decipher and no one else. Finally, you’ll want to change your password every 3 to 6 months.
Keep Your Softwares Up-To-Date
One of the most common and easiest ways to infiltrate a system is through outdated or redundant software. For this reason, you’ll want to ensure that all programs installed on your system are kept up to date, with the latest patches, as and when they are made available.
Hackers are always on the lookout for security holes, in software, and when these vulnerabilities are discovered, software developers will move quickly to patch them – so the onus is on you to ensure you always have the latest version of whatever program you use.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
Having a strong password is very important, but it’s also equally important to have either two-factor or multi-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication essentially creates two layers of security.
That way, if a hacker were able to acquire your password, there would be another layer of authentication preventing them from accessing your account. The second layers usually involve mobile or email authentication.
Watch out For Phishing Scams
With billions of fake emails sent out every single day, phishing attacks are without a doubt one of the biggest threats online, as many users fall prey to them. Phishing attacks occur in a number of varieties.
One of the more common methods involves the hacker posing as someone you may be familiar with, in order to trick you into clicking on a malicious link, giving them sensitive information, or installing a program that is infected with a Trojan horse.
One of the more effective ways to secure yourself from phishing scams is to avoid opening emails from senders you are unfamiliar with. You’ll want to look out for inconsistencies in the emails you receive.
You should also verify any links before clicking on them, this can be done by simply hovering over them and looking at the destination.
Avoid Public Networks
As a precautionary measure, you may want to consider avoiding the use of any public network or Wi-Fi. But, if you have to use it, then be sure to use it through a VPN, a Virtual private network, as this tool will encrypt any data that is sent to and from your system.
This way, cybercriminals will not be able to intercept and decipher any data that you submit, while surfing the web.
Use Mobile App Securely
Mobile malware has become more and more prevalent over the years, as more people opt to access the internet through their mobile devices. Statistics show that more people visit websites through their mobile devices than desktop machines, so we can assume, that this predicament, with malware, will only get worse.
Below are a number of tips you may want to take into consideration when looking at ways you can protect yourself while mobile surfing:
- Only install apps on your mobile device from trusted sources – you should be able to select this within the options menu.
- Make sure your mobile OS (operating system) is always up-to-date.
- Use a strong mobile password, by avoiding the use of names and dates. Try to mix things up, with letters and numbers.
- Refrain from sharing any personal information over messaging apps.
- Back up the data on your mobile device on a regular basis, you can use the cloud for this, or local storage.
Back-Up Your Data
Today, storage is relatively cheap. For this reason, it makes very little sense for you not to have any backups of your data. You can back up your data on both the cloud and on a physical hard drive.
Remember, that cybercriminals are not always on the hunt for data they can steal, sometimes their primary objective is to erase or encrypt your data. That is why it’s crucial that you have backups of all your data.
Implement Antivirus and Firewall Protection
Antivirus software should be standard by now, as they have proven, time and time again that they are highly effective at removing malicious files from your system. Make sure you go with an antivirus solution from a vendor that is trusted, and always go with a paid license over a free one, as they typically provide more features.
A firewall program is also important, it works somewhat differently from antivirus software but is also something you should invest in. Firewall programs work by controlling the flow of traffic to and from your system.
They are capable of blocking certain applications and tools from accessing the internet. They’re also capable of blocking hackers from accessing your computer.
Track Your Digital Footprint
When monitoring your accounts, it’s possible for you to note any suspicious activity. Do you have a firm grasp of all the different accounts you have online, along with the data stored on them, such as credit card details, delivery addresses, etc?
It’s very important that you’re aware of your digital footprint. This should include social media presence. You’ll want to delete any accounts that are no longer of any use to you while ensuring strong passwords are set for those that are.
Continuously Review Accounts
The last thing you’ll want to do is ensure you are continuously evaluating and monitoring all your accounts. This means updating your passwords on a regular basis and ensuring you log out of any accounts you’re no longer using.
Cybersecurity is very important, as it affects us all, for this reason, you’ll want to ensure you do your utmost to secure your system.
We hope these tips will help you stay safe online.
Uchenna has extensive experience in the computer industry, having worked as both a Computer Engineer & IT manager, spanning a period of 10 years. Currently, he provides solutions to common and uncommon computer issues and errors. You can check out his content at compuchenna.co.uk