5 Ways To Protect Yourself Online in 2023
Did you know that cyber attacks, whether they’re on businesses or individuals, occur nearly every single day. Companies and people all over the world are constantly being threatened by various attacks. These can include something as small as fishing or social engineering and be as significant as a data breach or ransomware attack. In some cases, massive ransomware attacks shut down entire pieces of infrastructure. When an attack occurs on an individual, it can be devastating and lead to problems like identity theft or worse. Cyber attacks, a state of constant surveillance, phishing/spear phishing, and malware make it almost essential to have several ways to protect yourself online. Fortunately, you can do a lot to keep yourself (and your family) safe online. Here are five efficient methods for doing exactly that.
Avoiding Public Wi-Fi
Although it might seem like a magnificent, beneficial perk of his visiting your favorite cafe (or restaurant), free public wi-fi comes with a slight downside. One of the biggest problems is that public Wi-Fi networks are often open, unsecured, and can be accessed by anyone. That means an attacker can set up a fake Wi-Fi hotspot that might seem legitimate or bear a similarity to the establishment’s wi-fi network. Users who access it essentially voluntarily allow the hacker to intercept their traffic and steal their sensitive data. This could be login credentials, passwords, financial info, personal data, etc. Public wi-fi also isn’t maintained or monitored as much as a private Network. That makes them a little bit more susceptible to cyber attacks. Vulnerabilities and not closely reading the terms and conditions of signing on to the network (sometimes saying “yes” to a TOS means you’re consenting to data/activity tracking). If you use a public wi-fi network, make sure you use a VPN so your data is encrypted. Otherwise, you might want to skip it all together.
Keeping Software Updated
One surefire way of staying safe is keeping your software and apps updated. Most software has a continuous development cycle where bug fixes, patches, and usability upgrades happen regularly. By ensuring you update your software, you can guard against potential vulnerabilities or security risks related to using the software. But updating your software extends far beyond the security. It has a lot to do with usability as well. Sometimes software can perform poorly, crash, or otherwise not function at all. Updates and patches are designed to fix this for the most part. Because the frequency of software updates can vary, it’s vital to stay on top of it as much as possible. Some software allows you to auto update, saving you time in the long run. Certain internet security software suites also allow you to automatically update software, which can save you time and energy while keeping your apps safe.
Identifying Phishing Attempts
If you’ve been online in the past two decades, you’re already familiar with a number of different scams. Whether it’s the old “Nigerian Prince” scam, someone impersonating a relative, or just a suspicious link in an email, phishing is a significant threat. A large number of emails are phishing attempts in disguise. That’s why it’s so imperative to recognize the telltale signs of fishing. Something seems out of place, doesn’t quite line up, or appears legitimate but isn’t, be suspicious. If you hover over the link in the email and it seems to lead somewhere other than the actual website, then you might be looking at a phishing scam. And it appears to be from somebody you know but is asking for money or credentials, that means that person may have been compromised.
Creating Better Passwords
Cyber security specialists all over the world often pull their hair in frustration over password issues. Password to the bread and butter of every app or service we use. So, why do people fail to create strong ones so frequently? Part of it comes down to forgetfulness. Some of it is complacency. But more often than not, people just don’t think about the importance of making strong passwords and changing them regularly. The best way around this is to create better passwords. Make them long, at least 12 characters. Make them complex. Use a mix of different letters and numbers and some special symbols just for the heck of it. Don’t use personal information like pet or family names. Make your passwords unique and so they won’t be easy to guess. By following a few simple procedures, you can ensure the complexity of your passwords and keep them safe.
Using Security Software
When you get right down to it, the best way to protect yourself is probably using internet security software. There are both free and premium versions available. Different types of software have different levels of protection. Free software usually gets the job done, but can be lacking when new threats emerge. Maximum security software has a few more amenities such as vpns and firewalls, along with automatic updates. These can be useful for a few devices and for general privacy/safety. Premium internet security software solutions take a best-of-both-worlds approach and offer plenty of advanced features, online support, and everything you need to stay safe online—including advanced security software, antivirus, VPNs, and multiple device protection. Consider using one today to address all your at-home cybersecurity needs.