Your data is your life. Whether it is your bank account information accessed via an app, social media accessed through a computer, or personal information that could be used against you, hackers are after it. While you cannot necessarily prevent the massive data breaches that include the records of millions, you can take steps to protect yourself. Here are a few tips on how to guard yourself against cyber-attacks.
Software and operating systems are constantly evolving to deal with security holes they found or those they realized the hackers were exploiting. This is why you need to update everything. Update your apps so they can fix security holes. Update the operating systems on your smartphone and computers. And update your antivirus and anti-malware software. The more frequently you run the updates, the safer you are. Letting the software automatically download and install patches when exploits are fixed will minimize the odds of you being hacked. However, all of this is meaningless if you don’t activate your firewall and antivirus software from the get-go.
Learn about the Most Common Scams so You Can Avoid Them
Learn about the most common scams so that you don’t fall prey to them. Most people have heard about things like the Nigerian scam, but they may still fall for scams like fake account cancellation notices intended to scare you into logging in with your credentials on their fake website.
Learn how to verify that emails and attachments are emails are safe since you could install malware on your computer by clicking what looks as benign as a funny video attachment. Others will go as far as making it look like it came from one of your friends.
LoanPigUSA has a great article on online fraud protection techniques like this. We strongly suggest you give it a look if you want to learn how to verify the safety of a website and the legitimacy of an email. You can then teach others around you so that they don’t fall for these mistakes. After all, your kids clicking the fake email link will infect your device just as it would if you made the mistake. Teach them not to install cracked software, too, so they don’t think they’re getting a cool game or app and end up putting malware on your device too.
Lock Things Up
Passwords remain one of the most common and effective ways to protect your data. Long, complex passwords make it hard for hackers to get to your data. The ideal password takes the form of “passphrases” that include unrelated words and special characters.
Don’t use obvious personal information like birth dates and children’s names in passwords. Avoid using the same couple of passwords across all your accounts, so that someone who gets one password/passphrase can’t access the rest of your accounts. And change passwords periodically so that someone who gets the old password can’t hack your account, whether it is a hacker or a former friend.
Protect Public Data
Don’t upload personal data to a file sharing service or public cloud without encrypting it first. This takes a few minutes at most, but it protects your financial file backups and other information from being immediately accessible to anyone who hacks Dropbox or logs into Google Drive as you. Note that you should encrypt your financial data saved on your own devices, too, just in case they’re hacked. And don’t post any sensitive information online, regardless of your privacy settings.
Cybersecurity breaches make the news regularly, and it is an incredible threat to the average person. However, there are steps you can take to make yourself and your data safer.
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