With hackers upping their game, cyber security is becoming more important for web browsing than ever before.
We are seeing a rise in cyber exploits from multiple angles: large institutions and corporations, smaller enterprises and regular users such as you and I are all under cyber threat.
If nothing bad has happened to you yet, it doesn’t mean that you’re off the hook! Hackers are always waiting, in the shadows.
Here are 10 valuable tips that can improve your online safety immediately.
1. Update your software regularly
Sure, it can be annoying waiting for Windows to update. You could be in the middle of important work and then comes that update you’ve been avoiding for months.
However, updates are extremely important from a security angle. Hackers are constantly looking for ways to access our data, so regular updates are necessary to patch up any new weaknesses.
This is especially important if you have a website. For example, many website owners on WordPress have many plugins installed. These plugins need to be updated regularly along with installing the latest WordPress and PHP.
The same is true for anti-malware software. These programs get updated to tackle the latest security threats that can invade a computer so if you have good anti-malware installed you can expect very regular updates from their security team.
2. Be aware of phishing scams
Phishing scams have not aged a bit! You know that Nigerian prince email, where a supposed prince asks the email recipient for money because of some large inheritance that he will gladly share later?
There are many variations to this email. But criminals are getting cleverer, pretending to be an aunt, friend, business partner, a trusted company or service provider. They can phish for money or information that can lead to identity theft. If you receive a suspicious email always check the email address and whether it’s right.
If a company has an online presence, you can usually check their website to see if it’s an official email or not. If it’s coming from a private entity, consider using a service like Nuwber which can help you find the identity of the email sender based on the email address, home address, name, phone number or any other relevant piece of information.
3. Maintain your username and password integrity
There are many ways to maximize your login credential safety:
– Use different login credentials every time.
– Create complex passwords using small and large letters, numbers and special characters (i.e. CyberSecurity55&&)
– Don’t share this information with other users. If you have to share an account with someone, have them create a separate user profile if possible.
4. Allow double-authentication
Many online businesses provide double-authentication to minimize the risk of infiltration. When attempting to login, you will need to enter your login credentials and a one-time code sent to a mobile device or email. Sounds annoying? Perhaps, but it creates a lot of extra work for any would-be hacker.
5. Use premium antimalware software
If you want to be extra safe, consider installing premium antimalware which can scan and eliminate any threats discovered on your computer. Here is a list of best antimalware software.
6. Educate your family and employees
Family members, business partners or employees can be security weaknesses if you share accounts or any information online. Any security mistakes committed by these people can have a direct impact on your finances if sensitive information from their accounts or devices gets in the wrong hands.
Sharing an article such as this one is an easy way to improve their cybersecurity knowledge. If you can afford online or offline courses in cybersecurity, even better. HackEDU has some great cybersecurity courses you should check out.
7. Perform sensitive browsing on trusted devices
If you’re doing online banking, shopping or logging into your multi-million dollar website, don’t take chances with public WiFi and devices. Perform these activities on your own device and through a protected network.
8. Improve safety on social media accounts
Public social media accounts can be exploited by hackers in many ways. Identity theft is one of them, but more prevalent crime is home break-ins.
Sharing your vacation photos from Mexico while sipping a cocktail on the beach? This is like saying to a criminal “My home is vacant and my stuff free for taking!” It’s best not to share current location or do so only on private profiles with only a close group of friends.
9. Keep your devices safe
Physical hacking is just as dangerous as cyber. Keep your laptop, phone and other devices with you instead of leaving them in public spaces, regardless of whether it’s a work environment or a coffee shop. Use a screen lock for extra security.
10. Make use of account notifications
Many websites and apps can send an email if someone has logged into an account. In case you haven’t, it will provide you with a chance to prevent any hacking attempt in time. This is especially recommended for online bank accounts, Paypal and online wallets like Payoneer.