In 2019 in the United States, reported cybercrime resulted in over $3.5 billion in losses. With the pandemic, the world is spending unprecedented time online. This has led to a boom in cybercrime. In light of this, you should take this time to review your internet safety protocols.
The article will help you to be internet safety smart. Please note these five suggestions to ward off cybercrime attacks.
1. Strong Passwords
A weak password is like a flimsy screen door. It may keep out the mosquitos, but you wouldn't expect it to keep out an individual with bad intentions. A strong password is akin to a state-of-the-art lock or bolted solid door. It is your first line of defence.
Use a password with special characters, numbers, and a combination of upper and lower case letters. Consider using a lengthy password that isn't found in the dictionary. The name of your favourite dog who happens to be plastered all over your social media is not your best choice.
If you are concerned with forgetting your password, consider using a password management tool. These can create a strong password for you or safely store your preferred complex password.
Strong passwords are effective, but ultimately they can be hacked. This leads us to the next security tip.
Your second line of defence is a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN encrypts your connection to the internet.
A VPN will conceal your IP address, which is the unique identifier for your device. It creates a tunnel between your device and the internet keeping your information safe from potential threats. If this information is somehow accessed, it is encrypted, so it will not be translatable.
A VPN is a strong component of internet safety. However, something it cannot control is decisions, or mistakes, made by you, the device user.
Phishing is the action of fraudulently obtaining private information. The intent is to mislead you into thinking they are a legitimate institution or perhaps a trusted friend. This can result in access to your credit card or banking information. Ultimately this information could be used to steal your identity, causing untold problems.
Common Phishing Tactics
- These may present as a contest or an offer that seems too good to be true. If you aren't associated with this organization or the contest isn't advertised on their website, hit delete. Do not click on any links provided in the email.
- Social media. Accounts can be hacked. If you receive an unexpected or unusual message from even a trusted friend, be wary. Contact your associate through other means, by phone or text to verify the message. Never click on an attachment or file type unless you have confirmed it's from the intended sender.
4. Antivirus Software
Antivirus software can stop phishing attempts before they even reach you. This software protects the user from a variety of security threats. It is commonly used in protecting, detecting, and removing these menaces from your device.
Set your antivirus program to update automatically as malicious threats are constantly emerging. Daily updates are preferable. If purchasing software is outside your budget, check your computer's operating system, as many include free antivirus software.
5. Regular Backups
Backups are an important aspect of internet safety but one that is often forgotten. The precautions outlined are beneficial and together provide an outstanding level of protection. The fact remains that at times these safety measures may fail, and you may get hacked.
Creating a system and pattern of regular backups is beneficial. Backup your system in different locations, perhaps on the cloud as well as on an external storage device. This creates a fail-safe. If your safety is compromised, you can set your device back to factory standard and restore a backup.
Are You Internet Safety Smart?
Individually, these suggestions stand on their merit. Together they can create a powerful defence system for your internet safety. With this in mind, assess the weaknesses and strengths of your current system. Make a risk assessment and put in place the solutions.