More and more people are gaining access to the internet with every passing day. This rise in the digital crowd also means that hackers and malicious individuals now have a bigger target to aim for.
Given this situation, it is vital that you and your personal information remain secure online.
Globally, around two-thirds of internet users have already fallen victim to some sort of cyber-crimes. These digital criminals are opportunistic and they only attack vulnerable targets. While it is impossible to make yourself impervious to every cyber-attack, there are some very basic steps you can take to strengthen your personal cyber security.
Let’s dive into the topic!
Don’t Share Personal Information
It’s quite hard for anyone to keep their personal information harmless in digital world. Internet users should practice special caution while publishing their full name, home address, email address, contact numbers, and images, as they are straightforwardly accessible by others. Be vigilant, especially with social networking sites and online forums such as Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, and Google Plus, etc….
Beware of Malicious Phishing Links
Most of us get a lot of emails containing links every day. Upon clicking a legitimate-looking link that is secretly suspicious, you will be taken to a website that will automatically start downloading in background or persuade you to download an update or an antivirus or something else that really is malware.
These malicious software are designed to harm your computer. Never click on links in messages and emails from people you don’t know or vaguely know. These phishing emails have links that lead to websites that can lure you into giving personal information.
Say No to Weak Passwords
I’ve seen many internet users signing up for a website using a basic password, thinking there is no way that someone would want to hack their account. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While choosing passwords for online sites and financial accounts like bank accounts, PayPal and alike, make sure you never use the same password for multiple accounts.
Use a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters to try to make it as complex as possible. Read our guide about Creating a Complex Password here.
The harder your password is for you to remember, the more tough it will be for someone else to guess it. Avoid words found in the dictionary.
Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi Networks
Many people don’t see the difference between public Wi-Fi and private networks and are not familiar with the dangers of free public Wi-Fi networks. In a survey by Kaspersky Lab, 70% of tablet owners and 53% of mobile phone owners said that they use public Wi-Fi hotspots. Users don’t even know the fact that these hotspots are in fact trouble spots for them.
It might only be 30 seconds of access to your bank account on that free Wi-Fi at the coffee shop or any other place, but if the network has been compromised, that is more than enough time for a hacker to gather the data he or she needs.
While the convenience factor is there if you must access the accounts, use a VPN to ensure an encrypted connection. You’ll effectively be using a “private tunnel” that encrypts all your data that passes through the network. This can help stop the bad guys lurking on the network. There are various VPN protocols with built-in encryption available to improve your online security and keep you 100% secure from hackers, snoopers, and attackers.
Use Anti-virus Software
Make sure you have anti-virus software installed on your computer and be careful what you download or install on your computer because some threats are so complex that can even bypass security software. Try to get the latest security software and updates, web browser and operating system updates, which is the best defense against viruses, malware, and other cyber security threats.
Knowledge Truly is Power
As previously mentioned, there are threats online that are impossible for security software to detect. Becoming educated about threats and the best practices against them will make it very harder for a cyber-criminal to access your data.
By following the Personal Cyber Security Tips mentioned above you had taken the very first steps towards securing your personal data. Now that you know why personal cyber security is important, please share this guide with your family and friends too.