The internet is an essential aspect of modern life. For better or worse, the amount we engage with the internet keeps increasing. The technologies offer many benefits to life, but they also present certain risks. Data breaches are a real cause for concern in the digital world.
Individuals and companies must take precautions to protect their data. Luckily, there are many things you can do to achieve this.
Simple Tips to Avoid Personal Data Being Compromised
You are a potential target for thieves, no matter who you are. Protecting your data doesn’t necessarily require you to be a technical wizard. Here are some straightforward steps you can take to improve your safety.
Follow the Basic Password Rules
There is a set of basic best practices for passwords that it is a good idea to follow. It can undermine some of the convenience of less secure password practices, but it is far better for your security. The rules are:
- Always create strong passwords (combining upper and lower case, numbers and characters).
- Use different passwords for each account.
- Implement two-factor authentication whenever possible.
Don’t Save Passwords to Your Browser
It can be very convenient to store your passwords in your apps. But if your device is lost or stolen, the person who finds or steals that device could gain access to your accounts. Disable automatic password storing and delete any passwords you have already saved. Opt instead for a secure password manager to store those passwords safely. Good password managers are cross-device solutions, making your passwords accessible from multiple devices.
Don’t Use Public WiFi
Public WiFi is extremely helpful, but it is almost always unsecured. This means it becomes easy for hackers to access these networks and tap into devices that are connected to them. They will be able to see your activities, accounts, passwords and more, or they could install malware to retain access even after you leave the public WiFi.
Use a VPN to Encrypt Your Data
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, allows you to select a server and location to connect to the internet. This is a tried-and-tested way of accessing high-quality encryption and masking your IP address. These measures make it extremely difficult for hackers to access your network or even identify who you are. It also offers the added benefit of circumventing geo-blocked content.
Don’t Ignore Updates
Software updates are actually more important than you might think. They provide your apps and operating systems with the most up-to-date security patches that target existing threats and secure identified vulnerabilities. Keep automatic updates turned on for your operating system, browsers and apps to maintain your security.
Never Click Unfamiliar Links or Attachments
We are all very well acquainted with checking our emails or DMs on social media. But cybercriminals frequently use these channels to try and steal your data. Phishing scams are the threat, and their common method is to try and trick you into clicking a link or downloading an attachment.
They will disguise themselves as trustworthy senders and try to lead you to unwittingly give away personal details or login credentials. Generally speaking, phishing scams are quite easy to spot. But you should always exercise caution before clicking a link or downloading an attachment.
Avoid Oversharing on Social Media
Always remember that social media interactions are not merely private conversations with friends. You may accidentally give away more information than you think with social media posts. Identity thieves can use data they collect from your social media presence to find your location, answer personal security questions and even find out your birthday, or the birthdays of your family members.
Install Cybersecurity Measures Like Antivirus Software
Individuals and businesses alike have access to high-quality cybersecurity products. These products are designed to monitor and protect your devices and connections in real-time. They can also undertake steps to clean malware and viruses from your device if they find a way in. They will automatically scare USB drives to protect against malware, and will have tools like a firewall and virus scanners to protect your device at the point of contact.
Don’t Leave Your Devices Unattended
Whether desktops, laptops or mobile devices, you should never leave your tech physically unprotected. Leaving them at work or on a table in a café could allow someone else to gain access to them. If you really must leave your device unattended for a short period, make sure it is locked up so no-one else can gain access to it.
Backup Your Data
Modern devices often have tools to wipe everything from their storage remotely. This is very helpful if your device is ever lost or stolen as no-one will be able to access the data that was on them. But it also means that you can’t either if you get the device back. Backing up your data is the solution to this, and the cloud is a great place to do it.
Be Firm With Your Privacy Settings
Have you checked your privacy settings on email and social media accounts recently? It might be a good idea to see how much information is visible to people who might want to steal it. This applies to shopping apps, email services and social media platforms, since their policies change frequently. Few people read privacy policies in full, but you should try to keep your setting up-to-date to avoid sharing information you don’t want to.
Close Your Old Accounts
When you move on from an old account, make sure you delete it. Inactivity makes that account more vulnerable, and it may still contain personal data that thieves could steal. Your password manager can be helpful for this, because you can look at the list of passwords and identify accounts you no longer use. Before eliminating them from the password manager, make sure they are closed to keep your personal details secure.
Cyberattacks and data breaches are alarmingly common and the trend is constantly increasing. In this light, it is important to protect your data by implementing the practices listed above. These will help you browse with peace of mind. Try to keep abreast of new information as cybercriminals are constantly developing new methods of stealing data. By keeping yourself in the loop, you can remain one step ahead of the thieves.
Why choose Eventura for your cybersecurity?
With over 20 years experience in cybersecurity, we know our stuff. Our team of cybersecurity experts and complete a full audit of your business and identify any areas of weakness, which could leave you vulnerable to cyberattacks.
We were even mentioned in the Governments National Cyber Security Centre (NCSN) Annual Review 2020 when we were chosen to test their “Exercise in a Box” designed to help small businesses prepare and respond to cyberthreats. You can read the article here.
There is a common misconception that cyberattacks don’t happen to SMEs but this couldn’t be further from the truth. With our expert knowledge, we can help you protect your business’s future from the ever increasing threat of cybercriminals.
If you would like to speak to one of our cybersecurity experts or request a cybersecurity audit, you can request a free call back here.