With so much information about us online, it can be difficult to keep it all safe. As the number of people who have access to the internet increase, so do the cybersecurity threats. Hackers don’t have to go through your trash cans to get information about you. Almost all of it is online and if you don’t put in the necessary safeguards, you could lose important personal data.
Many people don’t take cybersecurity seriously and that can have serious consequences. So, it is important that you don’t give out information unnecessarily. For example, if you want to pay your internet bill, only call the official Cox customer service phone number and abstain from giving personal information to untrusted sources. Even the smallest mistakes like clicking on a fishy link can make you lose important data like credit card information or your social security information.
How Can You Stay Safe Online?
Cybersecurity breaches can be as small as one person’s information getting leaked, or as big as millions of accounts getting compromised. They are getting so common these days that the US Federal Government has a dedicated agency for them. The CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) is responsible to minimize online cyber security risks by creating new policies and technology.
Moreover, social media usage has increased how much personal information people are putting online. All of that information is at risk of a breach from seasoned hackers who always have new tricks up their sleeves. However, a solid cybersecurity plan can help you secure your online identity. Here are a few important pointers to consider.
#1: Use Strong Passwords
Think of your passwords as a security guard outside your main door. A stronger guard with a deadly weapon means that no unauthorized person can get inside. However, if there is no security or the guard can’t fight back, then your prized possessions are at risk of a security lapse. Similarly, you need a strong password for all your accounts. Some of the best practices to follow while setting up a password are:
- Use a combination of upper-case and lower-case letters.
- Add symbols and special characters to your password.
- Make sure the password is at least eight characters long.
- Don’t use the same password for all your accounts.
- Never mention personal details like name, date of birth, etc., in your password.
The correct management of your password is also important. If you can’t remember all of your passwords make sure you use an encrypted digital key for them. Moreover, you should keep changing your password now and then.
#2: Know How to Spot a Phishing Scam
Phishing scams are probably the most common causes of data breaches around the world. This is because they can be extremely sophisticated and hard to spot. Most phishing attacks use social engineering to make the email look authentic. Some things you should look out for in suspicious emails are:
- Check the content for typos and grammatical errors
- Analyze the sender’s email and the domain name
- Look out for any fishy attachments or links in the email body
If the email is from a first-time sender and asks you to perform an action, it can be a phishing scam. If you can’t figure out if the email is authentic, immediately report it to your IT department and delete the email.
#3: Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Many websites like Facebook, iCloud, WhatsApp, etc., offer two-factor authentication options for your account. It is a great way to secure your account from intruders. Even if you have a strong password, hackers can get access to it. It just might take them a little longer to do it. However, 2FA can add another security blanket and make your accounts more secure. Every time you sign in from an unrecognized device, it will ask for a security code. Usually, you receive the code on your phone via SMS and you will need to enter the code to get in.
#4: Look for HTTPS Encryption
Before you enter your financial details online on any website, look for a few signs that point toward the authenticity of the website. There should be “https” written before the website domain main in the address bar. And the address bar should also have a padlock on it. If you don’t see these two things, the website doesn’t have an encryption certificate. So, this means that hackers can access any information you put in. The trusted security lock icon is fairly easy to find and can help you stay safe from dangerous online exploits.
#5: Avoid Public Networks
Free WiFi can be tempting to use, but it is usually unsafe. If you want to keep your accounts and data safe, you shouldn’t use public WiFi networks in places such as a restaurant, coffee places, hotel lobbies, etc. There could be hackers looming in the dark that are connected to the same network and can easily steal your information.