8 Simple Ways to Increase Your Cyber Security
- 15th November 2016
- Posted by: Juan van Niekerk
- Category: Security
Cyber security has become a topic of conversation in the daily lives of just about anyone that has a mobile phone, PC, tablet or any device that connects to the internet. It is a very real concern that is, rightfully, taken very seriously as a breach of your device could have detrimental effects, such as your personal information falling into the wrong hands, viruses infecting your device or in extreme cases, even your identity being cloned.
The only way to truly combat cyber attacks effectively is to educate yourself on the risks, preventative measures and counter measures that can be used in order to stay safe. But not everyone has the time or means to study a course such as EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker. So what can you do to prevent your devices from being hacked or infected? Below we will have a look at some simple steps that you can take to ensure that you stay safe online.
1. Password protection
The passwords that you choose for your devices, email accounts, online storage accounts and social network accounts such as Facebook are the first line of defence against cyber attacks. These should never be taken lightly and the proper steps should be taken to ensure that you choose a strong password that will not easily be guessed or cracked. Norton Identity Safe Password Generator will create highly secure passwords.
- Since you will have multiple devices and sites that will require a password for you to log in, make sure that you use a different password for each. A password manager can help you keep track of which password to use where and will ensure that they are kept safe.
- Ensure that, whichever device you may own, it is set to lock after a predetermined idle time. Use an unlock pin that is longer than 4 digits and can not easily be guessed (such as your birthday).
- Using strong passwords to keep your accounts safe is always a good idea, but be sure to change them from time to time.
2. Manage your email accounts
- Check your emails carefully before clicking on links that are included. This pertains especially to emails from your bank or other large institutions. Very often, these are phishing emails that endeavour to gain access to your personal information or to install malware on your device. Contact the institution directly or log into your account on their site if you are unsure whether it is a legitimate email.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Emails that promise prises that have been won (especially those that you haven’t entered for) and promises of large sums of money are a major source of scamming.
- Never give out your personal information to anyone that you don’t fully trust. Always keep in mind that your personal information can be used against you to cause a great deal of damage.
- Gone are the days where email scams are littered with bad grammar and poor spelling. The fact that a mail comes across as professional-sounding and legit doesn’t mean that it is. Always be sceptical when opening and reading your emails.
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Encrypted information can only be read by yourself and the intended recipient. Always check that the URL that you are using starts with https://. This means that it is a secure connection and is often accompanied by a symbol of a padlock. This is especially important when visiting sites where you will be entering sensitive information such as credit card numbers, address details or banking pin numbers.
4. Social media security
- Your social media account can be read like diary. Be sure to review your privacy settings every so often to ensure that only those that you feel comfortable with are able to see what you post.
- Be careful about the information that you share on social networking sites. Unscrupulous individuals could very easily use that information against you (such as when your home will be unattended or when your car has a faulty security system).
- Synchronise your social media account between your devices. This way you will be notified if there is strange activity on your account and corrective measures can be taken.
5. Install an antivirus program
- Download an antivirus software program to keep your computer protected. Once you have done this, make sure that you install any updates that are released.
- Do not install antivirus software from a vendor that you do not know or have not researched thoroughly. Look for well-known names and only download directly from their site.
- If it is too expensive to install a fully licensed version of your antivirus, find a free but trustworthy alternative. Loo for software from companies such as Microsoft. AVG, AVAST and so forth.
6. Stay updated
Software and apps often require updates that either improve their performance or ensure that new security threats are covered. Be aware of the fact that these updates are very important and may be the key to staying safe while utilising these functions. Also ensure that your system updates are installed as often as possible. These updates can occasionally be large and may use a lot of data, but it is well worth it in ensuring that your security is kept to an optimal level.
- Stay very far away from torrent sites where music, movies and the like are available for download for free using a torrent client. It is very often the case that files uploaded to these sites are infected with Trojans, malware or adware that can cause serious damage to your system.
- If you are unsure whether a site is a trustworthy source for downloads, do more research or, if no further information is available, avoid it altogether.
- If your antivirus is not set to do so automatically, scan each file that you have downloaded before opening it. Your antivirus should pick up anything that may seem suspicious and will alert you to that fact. If you suspect that a file may be infected, instruct your antivirus to deal with it accordingly.
8. Stay informed
There are a myriad of websites and publications that focus on cyber security and the risks that may be present at any given time. As cyber attacks become ever more complex and deviant in nature, so do the technologies that combat them. Be aware of any emerging technologies that can help you stay safe online and remember to keep a backup of your system, just in case you fall victim to a successful attack. This way your system can be restored to it’s uninfected state. Keep on top of security news and find a wealth of knowledge at the Kaspersky Lab Daily Blog.
The internet is a massive source of information, entertainment, education and business, but it can also be the source of malicious attacks to those that are unaware of the presence and danger of cyber criminals. Be sure that you understand the steps that need to be taken in order to ensure your safety while online. It is always better to be safe rather than sorry.