What makes October so special besides Oktoberfest (which usually takes place in September)? This month is European Cyber Security Month and also National Cyber Security Awareness Month in the US. This shows how big the importance of cybersecurity is for all people.
Even though it’s not October right noe, we have to think about being safe online every day. Here are some basic tips for staying safe online.
Be aware of the risks
First of all, we all have to realize that everyone is a potential target. Lots of the things we do every day involve the internet to a certain degree. With that, the digital space is also inhabited by outlaws who don’t miss a chance to steal others’ data, money, or both.
This goes along with the fact that criminals use the most advanced tools to attack victims. The most we can do is to make their “job” more difficult eliminating the vulnerabilities in ourselves, our devices, and software.
Trust is key
Attackers know about our weaknesses. Maybe you’re too open, curious, or ready to help? Or perhaps you tend to panic and making impulsive decisions? These are just some examples of the common traits that are used by phishing campaigns.
They are intended to steal sensitive data, money, or both using malicious websites, emails, or even text messages that often look like official messages from legitimate sources. And, due to their effectiveness, these scams are a constant threat.
The most important thing to avoid here is to trust every message you get. B aware that anything that can be clicked like links and attachments might be dangerous, especially when messages arrive out of the blue. Always check if the message and its author are trustworthy.
Keep it updated
Software is not flawless. But installing updates and patches for the software ASAP is a very simple way to decrease the number of vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can use to put your systems at risk.
In case the software is left unpatched, it can act as an effortless entry inviting criminals to steal your data. The best way to solve the problem is by enabling automatic updates.
What is more, it is necessary to allow for auto-updates for your dedicated security software. A reliable security program uses several layers of defense and detection techniques in order to prevent the complex and constantly developing threats.
Be careful on social
Much of the internet’s appeal has to do with connecting with people, especially those we don’t see often in real life, and complete strangers. Of course, such networking usually involves sharing of seemingly harmless but at the same time rather personal information.
However, the oversharing of some details from your life may well backfire in case the information happens to be seen by the wrong people. Social platforms are full of helpful information for scammers, who use it to orchestrate effective spearphishing campaigns.
In addition, when some of our friends’ accounts are taken over, it can be used to send malicious messages or links to friends or followers.
The key is to be very sensible when it comes to disclosing private information online. Plus, analyze your accounts’ privacy settings regularly and, ideally, prevent randoms from seeing what you’re up to.
Secure your logins
Passwords are often the weak spots used to get access to your online identities. Be sure to choose really strong and unique passwords, particularly for the accounts that have sensitive data about you like email, social media, or banking accounts. Never re-using your password, because this puts your other accounts at risk. If one of your accounts happens to be taken over, unique and elaborate passwords of other accounts seriously reinforce your defense from losing those other accounts. More than 4 out of each 10 login attempts worldwide were recently found to be made by automated tools used to break into accounts.
What is more, an extra authentication factor is very effective. Yes, it’s not a panacea, but two-factor (or multi-factor) authentication can be a great addition to saving your online accounts from criminals.
With the current indispensable role of information technologies in today’s society, living normally without the internet is somewhat unimaginable. This is a big reason to ensure that, just like in other spheres of life, security is your top concern.