As with most people, you probably worry quite a bit about your personal safety. This is why you take precautions such as locking your front door and being careful about the places that you go to. In the digital age, though, there is yet another concern that you have to be aware of: cybersecurity.
On the surface, this may not seem like such a big issue. After all, does it really matter if someone is able to get into your online accounts or to monitor your virtual activity? Well, when you consider that much of your personal and professional time is spent on the internet, you will realize that there is a cause for concern.
What’s more, cybercrime can have a devastating economic impact as well. Did you know that around $600 billion a year is lost to online crime? And, this number is only going to get worse as time goes by. The silver lining here is that you don’t have to be a victim. There are various steps that you can take to minimize the risk of an attack. They are as follows:
Don’t Forget About Physical Security
When you think about digital security, it is easy to only focus on the virtual aspect of it. After all, most people are on the lookout for malware, viruses, and more. However, you shouldn’t forget that one of the first – and best – steps towards protecting your data is to secure your physical device.
If your smartphone, tablet, or laptop were to get into the wrong hands, criminals would be able to easily access sensitive details such as your financial information. What’s more, they can view personal data as well. This is why you need to start by always keeping a close eye on your devices.
Furthermore, you need to make sure that only a select number of people have access to your devices at any time. When you are in a public area, make sure to keep these devices on your person at all times. This can prevent them from being stolen or compromised in some way.
Focus on the Basics
Another thing that most people forget to do is to create strong passwords. This is a shame considering just how important it is to come up with a code that a criminal can’t easily guess or penetrate. Another thing that you may be guilty of is using the same password for multiple accounts.
Well, these are two habits that you need to stop right away. If you want to make sure that your information is well-protected, you need to ensure that the basic security measures are in place. Thus, you will need to figure out an appropriately difficult passcode for each of your accounts.
To begin with, make sure that it is around 12 characters long. Also, don’t settle on a single word – instead opt for a phrase and then try to find a way to mask it. This can be done by using lowercase and uppercase letters randomly. You should also use numbers but not as a substitution of letters. Simply place the numbers at various points.
Now, if you think that there is no way you can remember such a password, let alone many others, don’t fret. Simply download a password manager onto your phone. Then, store all your passcodes here and use one password to lock up the app.
There are now more websites than ever before, making it quite difficult to figure out which ones are legitimate and which aren’t. To make it worse, search engines don’t always do a great job of filtering out the bad sites from your browsing list. Still, there are several precautions that you can take.
One of your best options is to install a web filter software. This will do all of the heavy lifting for you and monitor sites before you enter them. If it appears to be dodgy, the software will prevent you from going to that link. This considerably reduces the risk of you accidentally downloading malware or a virus onto your device.
The other strategy is a lot simpler but still rather important. You should always double-check the URL before you type it into the address bar. Not sure of the address? Then type it into a search engine and get the link verified. If you misspell the URL in any way, you could be led to a compromising website without realizing it.
Stay Up-to-Date on Scams
There is no denying that the internet offers more opportunities for the average person than ever before. Unfortunately, not everyone uses these prospects in a positive manner. There are quite a few people who use the internet to scam people. What’s worse, many of these traps are incredibly sophisticated.
For instance, one of the more common scams involves dating websites where the scam artist gets people to fall in love with them online. They then use false promises or even blackmail to get money from their victims. Now, this is just one of the fraudulent activities taking place on the internet. If you really want to avoid them, you will need to confirm who you are in contact with.
Use sites like https://www.checkpeople.com/arrest-records to run background checks on everyone that you are speaking to. This will give you peace of mind, particularly when interacting with people on more intimate websites.
If you are being completely honest with yourself, you probably don’t monitor your online accounts all that much. You can be forgiven for this considering the sheer number of notifications you get on a regular basis. Still, it is important to keep track of them.
The good news is that this is a lot easier to do since many email accounts have begun to use a two-factor authentication method. So, if someone tries to access one of your accounts, you will be informed of this via text message or email. Rather than ignoring such notifications, though, you should check up on them right away.
In general, though, you should be a bit more aware of your account activity. Take the time to see if any changes have been made without your knowledge. Every little precaution you take now can prevent a crime later on.
These are the top tips that you should practice if you spend a lot of time online. While some of these steps may seem tiresome, they will end up protecting you digitally in the wrong run.