Technology is just a part of the way things are done now. From paying bills and shopping to having meetings with coworkers and getting work done. It provides a lot of opportunities to complete tasks, connect with others, and find entertainment.
But always keep in mind, the internet also brings a lot of inherent risks into people’s intimate personal lives. Unfortunately, the trade-off for all those perks is cyber attacks. But there are ways to minimize the risk.
Cybersecurity has become an important part of life. So here are a few basic cybersecurity rules to keep in mind at all times.
1. Check Those Passwords
This is a common piece of advice, but it is because passwords are so important. People generally know that they should create strong passwords and shouldn’t reuse them across accounts. Yet, it’s still common to see bad password habits.
Besides creating a unique, complicated password for every account, people should also enable two-factor authentication. The latter keeps hackers from getting into the account even if they manage to discover the password.
2. Use a VPN
While there are many important security tools like anti-virus programs and firewalls, most people know about those by now. Virtual private networks (VPNs), however, are still relatively new to the market. They’ve become incredibly important because they prevent hackers from gaining access to people’s private connections. With a VPN installed, a device or network’s internet connection becomes encrypted and rerouted through a VPN server to make it more anonymous.
Security tools like VPNs can even be used for everyday devices that aren’t normally associated with security. For example, people can use a VPN for Firestick to access region-locked content.
3. Delete Old Apps & Accounts
It’s easy to forget about all of the different online accounts that were created over the span of a decade or more. Apps are easier to keep track of since they can be seen right there on the device, but it’s easy to forget about them too. Especially when they’re not in use.
Cybersecurity experts agree that it’s better to delete old accounts and apps that aren’t being used anymore. It’s easy to think that leaving them around is harmless. After all, they aren’t doing anything. But the truth is that they’re a potential entry point or data mine for smart hackers.
Old apps provide a way for hackers to get into the device because they’re usually outdated, either because the developers don’t support them anymore or because the user has stopped updating these apps. Old accounts, meanwhile, still hold a lot of data about a person. They can potentially give hackers access to other accounts as well if that person reuses their passwords.
4. Check Passwords on Household Items
Technology is “invading” almost every part of people’s lives. From the kitchen to the bedroom. The internet of things (IoT) consists of various smart devices, like thermostats, fridges, security cameras, and door locks, among other things. All of these devices are intended to make people’s lives better, but they can end up bringing tears instead.
IoT devices are notoriously risky when it comes to cybersecurity. While things are steadily improving on the manufacturing side, it’s still up to people to protect their privacy. One important thing to check is the passwords on these devices. They often come with standard passwords that are easy to guess, making it laughably easy for hackers to get into the home network.
5. Be Aware of Phishing Attempts
Many people tend to think, “it can’t happen to me,” when the truth is that everyone is a potential victim. Cybercriminals don’t care about who a person is or (generally) what their net worth is. Everyone has something valuable to steal, which is why phishing attacks are so popular.
These attacks are very pervasive and keep evolving, meaning people have to stay aware of them. Keep up with the latest trends and know which signs to look out for. For instance:
- Businesses, like banks, will never ask people for their pins or passwords via email or SMS.
- Emails from strangers asking for money, for whatever reason, are a scam.
- Poor spelling is a red flag.
- Emails from unknown senders with downloads can potentially be dangerous.
- Emails with links that start with “http” instead of “https” are insecure and can be fake or hacked.
- In a URL, the part right before .com is the real website. For instance, “http://amazon.store.com” isn’t Amazon’s website. The website leads to amazon.store, which is a fake website.
While these measures decrease someone’s risk of being targeted, there’s, unfortunately, no way to entirely avoid becoming the victim of cybercrime. When it comes to cybersecurity, constant vigilance and adaptation are important to stay a step ahead of the criminals.