The Internet is a safe place when you’re careful. You can protect yourself by establishing basic cyber defences and make sure that your name doesn’t appear on the growing list of victims. Doing nothing is no longer an option. Online hazards can turn out to be severe expensive, and even tragic. You may unknowingly expose yourself to Internet threats, for instance, by accidentally downloading malware on your computer. This, in turn, gives malicious actors access to your bank account or other sensitive information. It has never been more important to protect yourself from digital attacks.
Internet threats have become so widespread that the Government of the United States has established a research and development department, charged with coming up with a plan to develop technology and create policies that minimize the potential risks in cyberspace. If you don’t feel safe when surfing the Web, don’t fret because there are plenty of ways to protect your identity and personal information. Please continue reading to find out more.
1. Install a firewall for your home network:
Using a firewall is important when it comes down to protecting yourself from cyber-attacks. The firewall monitors ingoing and outgoing traffic, allowing or blocking certain data packages based on specific security rules. To put it simply, the firewall prevents malicious software from accessing your device via the Internet. It’s essential to have at least one type of firewall – hardware or software.
The software firewall makes it possible for you to control network access, so you’ll be alerted if an app on your computer wants to connect to the Internet and Windows and Mac devices come with their own firewalls. If you download the firewall from the Internet, make sure it’s from a reputable source; that is, an established software vendor or service provider. Carefully read and understand the documentation that comes with the firewall to establish if the settings meet your needs. A firewall can protect all of your devices. What is more, it can be used as a cloud-based virtual appliance. You can leverage the scalability of the cloud infrastructure, when necessary.
2. Check the strength of your passwords:
Your passwords may not be that secure. A savvy hacker can easily break into your email account and obtain your address, social security number, and the names of your family. Scary, isn’t it? Your passwords shouldn’t be easily guessed or brute-forced. If you’re worried about password security, don’t waste any more time and check the strength of your passwords. There are several web-based tools that you can resort to check the strength of your login credentials.
Here’s one rule to keep in mind: the longer the password is, the stronger it is. Consider using a sentence that you’re not likely to forget. It’s not a good idea to use passwords that are identical to the username, personal information (family member names, birthdays, etc.), the letters that make up the QWERTY keyboard, and so on. If you want to beat the hackers, select bizarre and uncommon words. Use the names of historical figures; better yet, use words in foreign languages.
For a malicious hacker, it will be challenging to guess what crossed your mind. Use complex passwords and don’t reject the idea of using a password manager. Watch your activity on social media. Malicious actors won’t steer away from checking out your public profile.
3. Learn about phishing attacks:
During a phishing attack, a malicious hacker sends a fraudulent message or email, which is meant to fool the victim to reveal sensitive information. The text message or email looks like it’s sent from a company you know and trust. That’s why you have to look at the sender’s number or address. Unfortunately, many people jump straight to the content. Besides phishing, some of the most common types of Internet threats include spyware, ransomware, malware, and identity theft, just to name a few.
The point is that there are many ways an attacker can infiltrate an IT system. You can be a victim of cybercrime without even knowing it. You can avoid becoming a cybercrime victim by educating yourself about the various scams practised. Phishing text messages and emails will say there’s been suspicious activity on your account or you have to confirm personal information. Equally, you might be notified that you’re eligible to register for a government refund. As a rule, you should never trust requests for personal information via text messages or email. If the unsolicited approach is accompanied by an attachment, don’t open it. Finally, yet importantly, contact the organization that has reached out to you.
4. Don’t save payment information:
Many websites allow you to save credit card information to make future purchases less complicated. It makes it easier for you to shop and spend money. nevertheless, saving payment information is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Why? Because you risk becoming the victim of the next hacking scandal. Data breaches take place all the time. If there’s nothing saved onto the website, there’s nothing to steal.
Entering payment information each time may be a drag, but it’s better than losing all your money. Convenience comes at a cost. It’s better to save your credit card information on browsers such as Chrome, which are safe, rather than on individual websites, which may be more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. When you’re shopping online, it’s imperative to look for HTTPS or a lock icon at the beginning of the site’s URL. You should always assume that your information is in danger. If data relating to national security has found its way online, so can your credit card information. Be a responsible spender.
Last but certainly not least, back up your data on a regular basis. Create a copy of your data that can be recovered in the event of a cyber-attack. Such a move will help you if the unthinkable happens. The backup system should be simple, reliable, and immutable. Later on, you can simply restore your untampered files from the cloud. You’ll be able to get back on your feet in no time.