As the internet becomes more integral in our day to day lives, the frequency of cyberattacks have increased. Clicking on the wrong link could mean having your identify stolen or the immediate loss of funds. For this reason, it’s very important users have some idea of the various ways they can secure their data. In this article we talk about 5 such tips that should help prevent you from falling victim to these common attacks.
As we spend more and more time browsing the internet, we inevitably spend more time sharing person information about ourselves, which makes us more visible online. If the culmination of this information were to get into the wrong hands, it could lead to a great many things, all of which, are bad for you. It’s very important that all sensitive data is properly protected.
In this article, on the 5 best cyber security tips this year, we will discuss a series of practices that you definitely one to follow. So let’s begin.
1. Log Out Of Public Systems
Many hotels and restaurants nowadays, provide their customers with a very convenient way of getting onto the internet. Oftentimes through their networked systems. But’s in your best interest to be mindful. As it can be difficult to determine how secure everything is. Since anyone can access these systems, there’s a strong chance a hacker may have gotten on to them, and put a keylogger, virus, Trojan or some other malicious file type on it. So, does that mean you shouldn’t use them at all? No, it doesn’t. It’s still fine to use them for casual browsing, but not for anything sensitive, like checking your email account, as this will involve putting in your username and password. After you’ve finished using this public system, it’s very important that you log out of it. As this is the only way you can be sure that none of the things you did on it, will be accessible to the next person.
This is a very sizable topic, so I recommend you delve a little deeper into it. Especially if you travel around and work from your laptop computer.
2. Use a Firewall
Both MacOS and Windows come with their own built-in firewall programs. They are designed to create a layer of security between your system and the greater internet. A firewall program will prevent any unauthorised user from accessing a network, while alerting the network users to his/her attempts.
Before you hop onto the internet, it’s very important you have a firewall program and that it is enabled. There are also hardware firewalls that you can purchase, from companies such as Sophos, Cisco and Fortinet. However, if you have a broadband router, then it probably already has its own built-in firewall, which you can use to protect your network. If it’s for business needs, then you may want to consider purchasing additional firewalls.
3. Use Complex Passwords
When it comes to the various cybersecurity practices, this one has to be well up there. Many people love the convenience of using the same password across multiple platforms, however, doing this puts you at risk. For every account you have, you should have a unique password for it. This way, in the event that one of the companies you have an account with is breached, the hackers would not have access to any of the other accounts you’re signed up with.
Another thing you have to consider, is the strength of the password. You want something that is difficult to guess. If you want to make your password strong, there are certain password policy guidelines that you may want to adhere to. They are as follows:
- Use a password that has no less than 8 characters and a maximum of 64 characters.
- No password should ever be used twice.
- Your password should contain at least one lowercase, one uppercase, a number, symbols and special characters, if supported.
- Use a password that you know you can remember, but be sure not to leave any clues lying around that would make it possible for a hacker to guess.
- Change your password every six months to be safe.
4. Install Internet Security Software
Internet security software in the form of an antivirus scanner is a necessity for all computer systems. There are millions of different viruses and malicious files out there. Antivirus scanners, like Windows Defender, AVG Free, Bitdefender, Avast etc., are capable of protecting your system from the vast majority of these threats. Depending on the virus, its effects on your system may or may not be easy to spot. They could make your system run slow, delete important files or steal information.
Antivirus scanners are capable of protecting your system in real-time, ensuring that any data you access at any time is secure. The vast majority of antivirus scanners today provide automatic updates, which broadens the apps virus definitions, allowing it to track, identify and eliminate the latest threats.
When you download and install your antivirus scanner for the first time, it’s important that you carry out your first scan, then schedule it to run periodic scans. Maybe once a week.
5. Avoid Dodgy Downloads
When it comes to the various methods cybercriminals use to infiltrate your system, dodgy downloads has to be amongst the top. To decrease the chances of your system falling victim to one of these viruses, you should limit the amount of things you download. Only download things you need, which means, stay away from unnecessary browser extensions and shareware apps. If it’s in an organisation, then all users should require some form of authorisation before they can start downloading and installing things.
There are several measures that you can and should take, when it comes to downloading things off the net. The most secure method to adopt entails running a custom install every time, that way, you can carefully go through all the steps, to ensure everything is fine. You also want to avoid any add-ons or extensions which may appear in pop-ups during the installation of an app.
— AUTHOR INFO —
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website https://www.compuchenna.co.uk.