Create Strong and Unique Passwords
One of the simplest ways to improve your own cybersecurity is by creating strong, unique, and hard to guess passwords for your online accounts. As such, make sure to use different passwords every time you create a new account, and avoid using information such as birthdays or common phrases. When creating passwords, use a combination of numbers, special characters, and lower/upper-case letters to stay as secure as possible. If you feel you may forget these passwords, consider writing them down on a piece of paper, or, use a password manager such as NordPass or even Google’s Password Manager. You may even consider enabling Multi-Factor authentication, which provides an additional layer of security before you are able to access the account.
Keep Software and Systems Updated
Hardware and Software developers regularly release updates to address bugs and other security vulnerabilities in their products. It’s always a good habit to check for those updates in order to keep your devices secure. Updates to look out for include operating system patches, antivirus, and all of your proprietary applications!
Be Wary of Phishing Scams
Phishing scams are known to be the most common form of cybercrime, which have unfortunately proven to also be the most successful. Phishing happens mostly through instant messaging or emails, and typically involves cyber criminals impersonating a trusted company or person. Cybercriminals will trick recipients into clicking on shady links which might ask you to divulge personal information (such as usernames, passwords, payment information, etc), or even lead you to a webpage that downloads harmful files. Remember to always verify the sender’s identity by checking their email address, and to double-check the URL before clicking on it. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is!
Use Secure Wi-Fi Networks
When you are on the go, public Wi-Fi networks may seem like a convenient option to get connected to the internet fast, but are often unsecured and can pose risks to your data. If you are connected to a public Wi-Fi access point, consider avoiding activities such as online banking or shopping, as your internet traffic could get intercepted by cybercriminals over the network. Cybercriminals can exploit this vulnerability to capture information such as your login credentials, credit cards, and even your personal messages. If you feel that you must do these activities on public Wi-Fi, consider using a VPN (virtual private network) as this will encrypt your internet connection and mask your IP address.
Regularly Back Up Your Data
Data loss can occur for a multitude of reasons, and usually it can be incredibly frustrating when it happens. Whether it be hard-drive failures, cyberattacks, or even human error, it’s always good to regularly back up important files to reduce the impact of data loss incidents. If you have a spare hard drive or secure cloud storage device, consider backing up all of your important files in the event something with your device goes wrong. Another alternative is to use an application such as OneDrive, which is a cloud service that stores and protects all of your files, and allows you to access those files on all of your devices at any time.