With its multitude of benefits, one can easily forget that the internet also serves as a grooming ground for cybercriminals. With the increased number of users online, cybersecurity threats, data breaching, the spread of malicious links and viruses have become more common now than ever.
Consequently, users should be alert and prepared to deal with such attacks, hackers and viruses by improving their cybersecurity. Here are our most important cybersecurity tips that’ll help you stay safe online.
Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) has access to all of your information and activity, and in some countries, ISPs have the right to sell your data to advertisers for their benefit. So, first and foremost, protect your ISP either by setting up a VPN, keeping data protected through encrypted apps and websites or by using a new ISP.
If you’re inclined towards changing your ISP, then go with Spectrum high-speed internet service with affordable prices, for browsing, for unlimited local and long-distance calls and gaining free access to over 125 HD channels and on-demand content. Using Spectrum as a secure ISP that also includes a free Online Security Suite, for all its users in all of its plans, would be your smartest decision.
Protect Your PII
PII is your Personal Identifiable Information, it includes all your personal information such as name, phone number, location details, mailing address, IP address, social security number and all the other digital identity data. PII is used by cybercriminals to identify an individual and their location. This poses a huge privacy risk and you should be careful with the information you share with the online world. Thus, protect your PII through:
- encrypting your data
- using two-factor or multi-factor authentication
- deleting old PII you no longer need
- reviewing your social media privacy settings
- not oversharing your personal information across social media platforms
Install Antivirus And Firewall Software
Antivirus software and firewall software are two of the major solutions for safeguarding your computer and network. Antivirus software protects your computer by detecting and removing viruses and a wide range of threats and malicious software like Trojan horses, browser hijackers, keyloggers, spyware, adware, ransomware and more.
Firewall software shields your computer against cyber threats that happen over the internet like, unwanted network traffic, hackers and other cyber attackers, malicious software or users trying to obtain access to your computer or network through the internet and so on. Thus, use this software in your computer and router, but make sure you install it from trusted sources only.
Backup Your Data
Not backing up your data frequently could be the laziest way of potentially losing it. Storage these days doesn’t cost much and backing up only takes a little of your time, so you aren’t excused for not acting to safeguard your data. Backing up your data is important so you can retrieve it if hackers encrypt or erase your data.
Store the backed-up data in multiple offline locations or locations inaccessible to unauthorized systems, users or hackers. Also, ensure that your data is backed up accurately and that the data restoration process works smoothly.
Manage Your Digital Footprint
Frequently monitor all your online accounts and the information stored in them like credit card numbers, bank account details, address and email, to inspect any suspicious activity. Keeping a track of your digital footprint also includes checking all your social media accounts, the details and pictures shared on them and deactivating the inactive accounts. Also, it’s recommended to change the passwords of your accounts and computer from time to time and ensuring it’s a strong password.
It’s important to monitor software and security applications to keep them up to date. Software updates are prompted when there’s a likely flaw in the security and if you don’t act upon these software patches, you invite malicious users and unauthorized users access to your system. Being annoyed at software update prompts is the lesser of the two evils when considering the risk of compromising your data if you don’t frequently update all your systems.
Monitor Your Network
It’s important to implement a rigorous action plan to monitor your network periodically. This will detect any unusual activities that could lead to vulnerabilities. It’s best if you utilise a Security Operations Centre to monitor and interpret operations occurring on your computers and networks. Use penetration tests, conduct vulnerability assessments and make use of defensive mechanisms to detect, deflect and counteract invasions or unauthorised access.
Set Strong Passwords
A strong password is critical to your online security and to keep hackers from invading your data. To make your passwords strong and secure:
- Include at least one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, one or two numbers and a few symbols,
- Never set the same password for all your devices.
- Choose a password easy to remember but also keep hints in case you forget and ensure those hints are protected from the public or hackers.
- Change your password once a year and reset it if you forget.
Use And Connect Your Devices Securely
Avoid using other people’s devices as much as possible and, if so, never share your credentials on it. Try to limit other’s access to your computer. This is the most basic security advice that many cannot follow-through. Our mobile phones are a target for many malware incidents if we don’t use and connect them securely. Password-protect all your devices, never connect your device to unsecured networks, keep them updated, install apps from trusted sources, avoid sending PII over a text and perform regular backups.
Develop A Cyber Attack Action Plan
Actively learn from your previous cyber threat experiences and build a strong and resilient cyber-attack action plan. Your action plan must include solutions to problems that haven’t even materialized. Invest in a program or a team that regularly tests your cybersecurity strength, implements actions that strengthen the systems aimed at reducing unwanted threats of cyber attack, and finally, has an effective recovery policy in case of security violations.