Cybercriminals use sophisticated tactics to exploit your information and assets, so it’s up to all individuals to fight cybercrime together.
Backing up data can help prevent major disruption and loss of systems caused by cyber attacks. Strong passwords, keeping software current, etc can all also play an integral role.
Change your passwords often
Many cybersecurity experts advise individuals to change their passwords regularly. The logic behind this advice is that frequent changes will make the password harder to crack; while this may be true in certain instances, it’s still wise to consider other measures to safeguard your information.
First and foremost, whenever any service you use discloses a data breach, always change your password immediately as this allows hackers access to your login credentials and thus your account.
Additionally, if you use public or shared computers, as they could be vulnerable to hardware keyloggers – surveillance tools that record keyboard strokes – which could record and steal passwords and sensitive information from these computers. It is vital that when breach occurs or security has been breached that a change be implemented immediately as well as updating software regularly.
Keep your software up to date
Cyberattacks have an enormously negative impact on our daily lives, posing threats to personal information and accounts, financial services, health records and critical infrastructure.
Protecting yourself against cybersecurity threats requires taking several simple steps. Updating software regularly and selecting strong passwords are both key, while regularly creating backups of your data can help restore any possible attacks and reduce their potential damage to your business.
Cyberattacks often arise from outdated hardware and software. An Equifax data breach exposed Social Security numbers, dates of birth and home addresses to hackers via a vulnerability in a web application; when software updates become available that fix these vulnerabilities (commonly referred to as patches), it’s essential that they’re installed immediately as threat actors may already know of these holes and be actively looking for ways to exploit them – it would therefore be wise for users to set their devices or computers up automatically update software when available.
Beware of phishing scams
Phishing scams are one of the most prevalent cyber attacks, used to steal passwords, credit card data and personal details. Furthermore, they may install malware or ransomware onto your device that will hold files hostage until payment has been made (this tactic is known as ransomware).
Phishers tend to target high-level employees in order to gain access to sensitive data. They use public sources of information like social media profiles and Short Message Service (SMS) text messages in order to build up a profile on them in order to craft more convincing phishing emails that appear believable.
Be cautious when clicking links in emails from sources you consider trusted, even if they appear from trusted sources. Phishing emails often contain fake log-in pages designed to harvest credentials or install spyware or ransomware on your device. If unsure, type the URL directly into your browser, or contact the company or individual directly by phone to verify a request for personal data. For added protection use multi-factor authentication which sends out another verification code by text message or app before login.
Don’t use public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi networks can be found almost everywhere from cafes, restaurants and airports to malls and airports. While public networks may seem convenient, they’re often not protected against hackers which expose your devices and could result in identity theft, malware infections and ransomware attacks on your devices.
Hackers can eavesdrop on any public Wi-Fi network and spy on what you are doing online, including viewing passwords and private data such as bank details. This process is known as session hijacking; cybercriminals use it to take control of the connection between your device and whatever website or app you are accessing.
Attackers may use an attack known as man-in-the-middle, in which they create a fake network with names like “free train Wi-Fi” and wait for unsuspecting users to connect voluntarily, hoping they can then steal data or infect devices with malware.
Public Wi-Fi networks can also be used by criminals to spread ransomware – an increasingly serious cyber threat – wherein they will lock your device or files and demand payment in order to unlock them. One effective strategy against this hazard is not using public WiFi services and utilizing file-sharing services like Dropbox as well as setting two-factor authentication whenever possible.
Turn off auto-connect Wi-Fi
To protect from cybercrimes, change passwords frequently to protect yourself. Another easy step you can take to safeguard yourself is disabling auto-connect Wi-Fi, which enables your device to automatically join any available Wi-Fi network when in range, making life more convenient, yet also increasing risks as public networks tend to be less secure, leading to malware downloads or autorun scripts without your knowledge.
Identity theft is one of the most prevalent types of cybercrime and involves hackers gaining access to personal data for financial gain or malicious purposes. This may involve taking your credit card or bank account details, impersonating you online through social media accounts or breaching into your business computer system and deleting files or installing malware.
Becoming more cybersecurity aware is of vital importance to everyone – be it at home, the office or out and about. Take steps to prevent cyberattacks by following best practices, contact IT or contact their helpdesk with any queries. With National Cyber Security Awareness Month happening this October it’s the ideal opportunity to start applying these tips into action!
Use strong passwords
Cybercriminals use weak passwords to gain entry to devices, accounts and data stored on them. Establishing strong passwords is one of the best ways you can protect yourself against potential cyber threats.
Your password should contain at least 15 characters of mixed capitalization letters, numbers and symbols so it becomes increasingly difficult for hackers to guess it and gain entry to your account.
Reusing passwords across different sites is also critical. If you use the same password across different services that contain sensitive personal data such as email, shopping and banking websites, hackers could gain entry to all these accounts simply by breaking one.
Your passwords should also be as unobtrusive and obscure as possible; avoid obvious or predictable choices like your date of birth, name or simply “password.” Additionally, ensure your computer is safe by hiding paperwork, device screens and keypads so criminals cannot obtain your passwords by looking over your shoulder.
Keep your personal information private
Even though it may be tempting to believe your personal information is safe just because you don’t work in a top secret government agency or high-tech company with thousands of customers, hackers and scammers still target people like you. By following some key recommendations and staying abreast of cyber threats, you can protect your identity and ensure its protection.
Staying current with operating system, browser and antivirus software updates is essential to protecting yourself against cyber threats. Be wary of downloading programs from unknown sources without first performing an in-depth security scan before running. Keep an eye out for suspicious emails, text messages and phone calls from individuals purporting to represent the government, bank or even long-lost relatives claiming they come from such entities; research their identity before divulging any personal details.
Scammers and thieves can gain access to your personal data in multiple ways, from phishing attacks and malware that collects it from devices on to dark web marketplaces. Staying aware of cyber threats by regularly changing passwords and employing strong encryption can help protect you against these cyber attacks and reduce the risks.
Use strong encryption
Encryption is an essential component of any cybersecurity plan for both consumers and businesses alike, no matter their industry. By converting your data to something only readable by those with the key, hackers cannot read your sensitive information even if it leaks out accidentally or gets stolen.
Data encryption is required or strongly encouraged by many laws and compliance standards such as HIPAA, PCI DSS and GDPR. At AU’s IT experts advise using public algorithms considered cryptographically strong to encrypt both in transit and at rest (for instance databases) such as data.
Cybercriminals have become more sophisticated, yet the principles of cyber hygiene remain consistent across users. Therefore, it’s essential that everyone recognize the threats they are exposed to and take measures to safeguard themselves – something October marks as National Cyber Security Awareness Month is the perfect opportunity to do just that!