With the vast amount of internet fraud, security breaches, and digital crime, the call to fortify your key business data has never been louder!
Well, the world wide web is not what it used to be. As businesses grow globally, and more business infrastructures are connected, cybercriminals have come to realize the importance of the data that organizations are protecting. Also, the recent surge in technological advancement has made everyone from solopreneurs to large scale firms more vulnerable to attacks now more than ever.
There is no denying that the internet has evolved into something more resourceful, providing an abundance of opportunities, uniting borders and has been accessed by a whopping 3.5 billion people. This also creates an opportunity for hackers to break into valuable pieces of information and leverage that for their personal gain.
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It is not that the internet was a safer place 15 years back, but the average user accessing the internet had an easy time staying safe. Things are different now. According to FireEye Complimentary Report, enterprises are hit by cyber attacks on average once every 1.5 seconds — which is double from the year before.
Cyber crooks are constantly improving in knowledge and professionalism, breaches will definitely be bigger! Hackers will begin to operate more professionally, and security teams and budgets won’t seem to keep up with them.
Besides, new business trends such as hybrid computing, IoT revolution, and the emergence of cybercrime products (i.e. sales of malware creation software) have improved how attacks are carried out. In fact, Juniper researchers predict fewer attacks overall, but more successful and business dooming ones.
Below, therefore, are eight basic tips to ensure ultimate security online.
1. Proper Set Up of New Devices
As soon as we unbox our new devices, we want them to be up and running. Whether its a smartphone, laptop, PC, tablet or a smart TV, we just can’t wait for it to start working. It is very important to set up the devices properly by following the device-specific process.
Set up a strong password that is not generic. Also, ensure your wifi router is secured, as that is the first gateway for every bit of information that enters and leaves your house.
Depending on your device, you may have other security options, such as encrypting the entire device, 2FA/MFA, etc.
2. Use a VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a user’s much-valued possession today. Many of the cyber-related problems affecting modern internet users arise from a lack of privacy, which results in insecurity.
Have you ever wondered how identity theft protection actually works? Identity theft protection helps protect potential victims of identity theft. From social media to banking information, identities are more valuable than ever.
While people are getting better at recognizing potential identity theft and minimizing damage, it is better if you can prevent it from happening in the first place.
A VPN shields its users from any onlookers who might cause harm to them or steal their information.
3. Regularly Change Your Passwords
Having a common password or a couple of common passwords for all the devices or websites you use is one of the most common loopholes exploited by hackers for identity theft.
The way hackers leverage your stolen password is by selling it and the ones who buy it would use several common combinations of possible passwords based on your information stolen to access your personal information and financial assets. It’s better to have no-generic passwords for all your devices and websites. It’s even better to change these passwords on a regular basis, preferably every couple of months.
4. Protect Your Passwords
Despite promises from biometrics developers of a future with no more passwords, which may in fact come to pass at one point in the far future, a 2017 report finds that the world will need to cyber protect 300 billion passwords globally by 2020.
Only a superhuman or a memory expert has the capability to remember hundreds of passwords, so you need a way of storing them. There are many good extensions and software applications out there that you can use to protect your passwords. You just need to have one strong single password to access your safe lock.
It is highly recommended to use a random combination of upper and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols. You could also try using “passphrases” instead of passwords, such as your favorite film quote or song lyric — there’s no upper word limit to most site’s passwords now, and this is more secure than a single word.
5. Deploy Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Two-factor authentication would require you to set up two layers of protection unlocked by providing a password and some other information that is personal to you, such as your maiden name or e-signature.
Most of the two-factor authentication processes will send you a one time password on your registered email id or mobile number to complete the authentication process.
6. Regularly Updated Devices
Finding loopholes in software infrastructure takes time and effort; hackers are well aware of that. Meanwhile, operating system developers are also aware of the strategies cyber hackers might use to break into their applications. So periodically, your software provider might recommend specific updates for you.
Keeping your devices and applications/software updated will highly reduce the risk of being hacked. Based on regular testing done by the developers and based on user feedback, the operating system and application developers regularly strengthen their protection protocols, giving another reason for regularly updating your devices.
7. Turn Off Smart Device’s Camera and Microphone
Sometimes even after being hacked, you might not be aware of it. The reason is that the hacker wasn’t able to access information that is sellable. In other words, he/she has got nothing on you yet. But that doesn’t mean the hacker doesn’t have access to primary information like your image and sound, which are constantly being captured by your smart device. Every sensor or apparatus in your smart device that can capture or transmit information is always active in the background.
It is highly recommended to turn off features like Bluetooth, wifi, gyro sensor, camera, and microphones when not in use. For most users, this might not be a very practical solution. But it is highly recommended when you are using an outdated device, or you feel something is not right with your smart gadget.
8. Embrace Secure Cloud Backup
Do you know that a simple drive recovery is arduous, and costs upwards of 7,500 US Dollars? Yet, success is not guaranteed.
Meanwhile, securing and recovering your data from secure cloud storage is very swift and easy.
In addition, with cloud services like Dropbox or Google Drive, the process can be automated to your desired schedule, so that the system captures every of your new or updated data periodically.
There is no doubt that highly skilled cyber crooks are working hard every minute to gain access to your data and valuable possessions on the internet.
The best way to stay protected is by updating your knowledge about the latest technology which can protect you from malicious attempts and seeking professional guidance if need be.