Online security has become more and more risky with a data breach happening every day. You should be aware of the risks that cybercriminals, scammers, and fraudsters pose to you. Right from stealing your personal identifiable information, stealing your bank account information to installing ransomware, cybercriminals leave no stone unturned to mint money from you.
Every computer user needs to know the basic things to keep their device and data secure. Given below are the few tips and habits that can help you:
10. Look Out for Social Engineering Attacks
Social engineering is one of the biggest attack vector. Cyber thieves and hackers smartly gain access to your secure information either through mimicking/cloning websites or phishing. You need to be careful of all the suspicious phone calls, emails, links and other communications that you receive. Awareness is the key, as it may be astonishing to know that even security experts can be easily tricked/manipulated and their accounts can be hacked.
9. Make Your Phone’s Lock Code More Secure
Many of us consider that the default 4-digit PIN is the most secure locking code. However, it is not. It is always better to add an extra digit to make your phone more secure. For iOS and Android, go to settings and add one more digit to make your phone’s lock code more. Further, Android also has lock screen tools that lets you enhance your phone’s security. Lastly, it is recommended to change your PIN from time to time (preferably every week) to make it harder to crack.
8. Always Back Up Your Computer/Smartphone
Ransomware attack can virtually shut down your PC/laptop and even your business. It is vital to frequently backup and make duplicate copies of all your important data to keep it safe. You can use a backup system with CrashPlan, or Windows’ built-in tools or Mac’s Time Machine.
7. Install the Best Antivirus and Anti-Malware Software
To keep viruses and malware at bay, you should use antivirus tool to protect your PC/laptop. Just installing and scanning your computers for virus/trojans/worms won’t do. You have to keep your anti-virus software updated as cybercriminals come up with a new worm or a trojan every second.
6. Lock Down Your Wireless Router
The first line of defense for your home network is your router. A well protect Wi-Fi router can quell many cyber attacks to your PC/laptops. To keep your Wi-Fi secure, you need to change the router’s default administrator login, use WPA2 (AES) encryption, use a difficult to guess password and keep an eye in the setting page for unwanted login attempts.
5. Never Send Sensitive Information Over Email Unless It’s Encrypted
Sensitive information, such as your bank information, social security number, tax returns, or confidential business information, should never be sent over email without being encrypted. Plain text emails are easy to hack and hence risky. Also, you should keep a hard to guess password for your email accounts and avoid using the same password everywhere. If your email provider does not provide encryption services, encrypt your files using online tools before mailing them.
4. Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi Without A VPN
While using public Wi-Fi, it is important to use a network that has security. To stay safe on public Wi-Fi networks, your best defense will be to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). Better still avoid public Wi-Fi networks for doing important tasks like filing returns, making bank transfers etc.
3. Use A Password Manager
It is impossible to remember every password for each and every site and service you use. That’s where password managers come in handy. Remember, security and convenience are the features that you need to look for. Choose the password manager service that has the features you need.
2. Use Two-Factor Verification
Two-factor authentication offers the extra layer of security that protects you in case your password gets stolen. Turn this feature on in all the places where the service provider has this option. Further, if you lose your phone (most often used as the authentication device), you can still get back into your account if you plan ahead.
1. Frequently Review Your App Permissions and Security Settings
Lastly, you still have to be watchful and make sure your software is always up-to-date besides following the above steps. Always remember to update the router firmware or regularly clean up app permissions on websites like Google, Facebook, Twitter. Sometimes service providers like Google offer free storage if you frequently check your security setting and App permissions.
If you follow the above procedures, while you may not be 100 percent secure, but you will be doing your part in keeping your online accounts secure.