A common cyber-attack comes in the form of emails from unknown senders who are offering money, lottery tickets, or a long-lost inheritance. These emails always include a link that you're supposed to click, until you eventually give away your login information. It's called phishing.
Obviously, none of us want our confidential information like credit card details or passwords to be used by other people, or infect our devices with malware. This article will cover some crucial tips to learn so that you can stay safe online and protect yourself against cyber attacks.
1. Use Strong Passwords
The biggest mistake that people make is setting themselves basic, easy passwords that anyone could guess. It's natural, they want to make sure they can remember them. The problem is that attackers can easily guess them. Instead, set yourself some strong passwords with a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers and characters so hackers have a harder time of it.
A good strategy is to think of a function or logical method for your passwords for each site. Then, you only need to remember the function and use it to think of your password. Otherwise, get a password management app which helps you organize and change passwords. Be sure to always use different ones.
2. Be Smart with Email
As mentioned earlier, emails are an easy way for attackers to send malware, phishing, and other malicious content. Surprisingly, many users unintentionally or accidentally send some important personal and financial information in emails. Emails sent in the past are still problematic because they continue to exist in the cloud. That's why it's important to secure your emails.
To do this, Kenny Doll, a cyber blogger at Brit Student and Assignment Help, explains that you must “modify your settings and so you can control your sent emails or to be notified when someone else accesses your account. There are also online security services for emails to keep your communications secure without looking at your content or accessing it.”
3. Think Before You Click
Don't go near any links that appear suspicious. You shouldn't even hover your mouse pointer over the link for fear of clicking on it accidentally. Attackers are good at making bad links appear legitimate and secure in order to get your personal information like banking information and password.
The way these links are set up, when someone clicks on them, they immediately start running a code to fetch your network information and change the metadata and content when you use it. If a link doesn't look trustworthy, it probably isn't, so don't click on it. Make sure everything you download is exactly the file you were intending. You can get free software to scan link and files to find out if they're malicious.
4. Get Antivirus Software
It's worth getting a reliable software to protect you and your devices against any kind of virus or malicious attacks. Many of these options are free, but you can also pay a bit of money to get a more high-tech service. This makes your devices more secure and lets you download files with peace of mind.
5. Use a VPN
A VPN is a virtual private network, and it hides your network's identity and gives your device extra protection from being accessed by hackers to obtain your private data. This is a great resource to use when you're on an unknown Wi-Fi network like at a coffee shop or hotel. No matter what you're doing online it's smart to turn on the VPN.
When you do so, you can hide the device that you're using's IP address and location and it makes sure your communications are encrypted and everything stays secure through the VPN server.
6. Backup Data
You want to regularly backup your data so if you get a corrupted malware installed on your device or a ransomware attack, you won't suffer any losses. Make sure you're uploading your data to a secured cloud storage or keep it on an external hard drive. Then, if you get cyber attacked, you can simply reset your device and then do a data restore from where you've backed it up.
7. Security Tools
There are many security tools that you can find online and put on your device. These can track your network activity, run data encryption, scan any files you receive for malware, and more. As per Tommy Marconi, a business writer at PhD Kingdom and Next Coursework, “you can even go beyond and use these tools to test your device. Run an attack on your own device and find out what the weaknesses are so you can figure out the best way to secure your device.”
8. Clear Your History and Cache
Browsers will store a lot of your information in order to smooth the process when you're online. This includes saving your details to keep you logged in and more. All of your passwords and login information is located in cookies and web pages are kept as a cache. Browsers use these databases to analyzes your activity and make it quicker in future. You should regularly clear your cache, cookies, and your browsing history so that all this type of information is permanently erased on a frequent basis.
9. Get Account Management Software
Many websites automatically subscribe you to a newsletter or email list when you buy a product or sign up for something. Sometimes you do so just to get to a document or video without even thinking there could be a security risk. To avoid getting spammed by these sites, you can either create an alternate email for unsafe websites and keep it completely separate from all your other IDs and logins. In these cases, you should get an account management software which will let you know which email you used sign up for which site and keep track of your accounts.
10. Multi-Faceted Authentication
Finally, getting multi-factor authentication assures that you go through multiple security steps before accessing an account. This helps keep your information more secure.
Michael Dehoyos, a content marketer and editor with Academic Brits, helps companies and entrepreneurs be more secure in their businesses. He is interested in new cyber attack strategies and cyber defense and he writes numerous articles on the subject for his readers.