Why consider security
Internet is a network of networks that is not guaranteed for security. By design, it is meant to be open and accessible for every user. Now, what about the case if a user is malicious and wants to leverage the opportunity to carry out illegal activities? What if the victim does not know how to stay secured online?
In another case, we have seen governments launching various schemes of mass surveillance on people for some legitimate reasons. You also need to watch out for attacks from cyber groups, hacktivist, hackers, malware attacks, viruses, ransomware, with crypto jacking a new threat nowadays– if you are a cryptocurrency fan. Data breaches are another epidemic that can be a matter of concern for you regardless of your profession, position or stature.
Use a Password Manager
Passwords are they keys to access your online accounts. These passwords are ultimately stored on the servers online in a hashed database. Having a strong password means to have a combination of symbols, alphanumeric letter etc. The passwords should not be easily guessable. Attackers make use of tools to brute-force login pages to easily find insecure accounts.
So it is highly recommended you use a password manager always to secure your online accounts. A password manager makes your online experience easier. You don’t have have remember your many passwords/logins but the password manager will do that for you and and auto fill your login details in any website or app.
With a password manager your online accounts are safe from brute-force attacks.
Be aware of Spam and Phishing
Email communication is very popular in both business and personal settings. That’s why it is very easy to fall in the trap of spam and phishing emails. Spam is a large bulk of unsolicited emails. Phishing is a malicious email attempt to collect personal and financial information or infect your machine with malware and viruses. Don’t get overwhelmed by any million dollar prize email, whether you were expecting it or not.
Try to go through the email address and search for the company online to know if the email is really legitimate. It is better to ignore these emails and send them to trash. Alternatively, you can apply spam filters or report any email as well. Spamming is easy to generate and its span is large. The attacker aims to trick a small number of people from millions of email. If successful, they get a lot of benefits and in return harm the victim.
Use an Antivirus
Due to the many insecure connections we make on a daily basis, we click on a lot of harmful links that can compromise our devices. You need an antivirus program that will protect your computer in case you click on some malicious links or downloads.
An antivirus (anti malware) will regularly scan and monitor your computer activities to detect any malicious activity, if any malware is found, the antivirus program will immediately remove the malware and keep you secured.
Something similar you need along side an antivirus is a Firewall. Though both are similar the major difference is that an antivirus defends the computer against internal threat while a firewall defends the computer against incoming harmful connections.
Seek Knowledge about cybercrime and the latest threats
Sometimes is it just a matter of knowledge and wisdom that helps you in perilous times. Cyber Crime is increasingly becoming destructive and sophisticated and in a matter of time, you can get in trouble. It is mandatory for online users to learn cyber security basics and keep themselves up to date on the latest mobile threats, web attacks, phishing scams etc. There are various free short courses offered by Google, Udemy, Coursera, Edx, APNIC academy which are focused on end-user awareness on cybersecurity. In addition, various youtube tutorials and blogs are there to guide you about basic security measures which you can take to protect your browsing activity, laptops and smartphones. It just a matter of investing some time to learn about staying protective online and avoid being a victim of any unknown cyberattack.
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While using any application on the smartphone and web, we often neglect what information we are sharing, what information the application has access to, how the sites are using the information from us, is there any consent involve or not. All of these questions are needed to be considered by users. Our social media activity is always being monitored, tracked and being profiled to provide us with feedback. These settings and limits to which the companies hold and use our data can be configured. Check privacy settings of your facebook, google or whichever service you mostly used and know about what data is in use and what third-party apps are making use of that data. This way you can have good control over your data and internet freedom.
Regularly backup your data
Back up of data is often a legal obligation on companies but it is also better for personal security. It is a good solution, in fact sometimes your only solution to disaster recovery. Backups are often helpful to revert to your previous state in case of the data getting destructed through natural risks, a cyber incident or through a ransomware attempt. For a normal users cloud backup like dropbox or google drive is a good solution. It does not only allows you to manage your storage but to mitigate the risk of your data loss if you somehow become prey of ransomware.
Most times the only way to recover your lost or encrypted data is the backup you saved somewhere.
Internet or web lets say, is a big place with not everything good. Follow safe browsing rules. Just like you don’t want to get in the wrong street while you roam around an unknown city. Most sites are not secured and might redirect you to download some malware, or trick you to input your personal information which only you should know like passwords, birth date, social security number, credit card details etc. Make sure your connection is secure with https and the site is legitimate and not a hijacked domain name address.
Different threats are reported each year. To stay secure, we need to maximize our usage with best practices to effectively use the internet and thwart the attacker in succeeding their malicious attempts.
“There are two types of internet users: those who know they have been hacked and those who do not know they have been hacked.”