Cybersecurity has gone beyond what only financial organizations should worry about. It is now every man’s business. As long as you use the internet and you have one or two social media accounts, then you need to take cybersecurity very seriously. This article talks about the best 10 ways to stay cybersecurity conscious.
Related Article: What makes a password “strong”?
How to stay cybersecurity conscious
1. Use Password Management Tools
One of the worst things you can do is to use your name as password or your date of birth as a security pin. Hackers use an algorithm that makes it easy for them to crack your password if you use your name or date of birth. Your password must be at least 8 characters including numbers and special characters.
In order to avoid using the same password for all of your accounts which is quite dangerous, you can use a password management tool. All you have to do is securely add the sites you use and their individual passwords to your password manager vault on the app. All you need to remember is one strong, long character as the password to the management tool.
Related Articles: A Beginner’s Guide to Using Password Managers
2. Never carry out financial transactions over public internet
Traffic interception is one way attackers gain access to sensitive information. This is very easy for them when you use public wifi. Public Wi-Fi do not have the same security as your private network. It is accessible to everyone and therefore financial transactions should not be carried out when you are connected to public Wi-Fi.
3. Secure your social media accounts
Ever since cyber attacks have been prevalent, social media accounts can now be protected with 2-Factor Authentication. This is an extra layer of security for your accounts where a code is sent to your registered phone number or a code from an authenticator app depending on which one you choose to use.
You need to input this code after you’ve typed in your password before you can have access to your account. So even if an attacker knows your password, he/she cannot have access to your account without knowing the code sent to your phone.
4. Learn about Phishing
Phishing is a method used by attackers to prey on unsuspecting users. It is done electronically, via emails where users are deceived into divulging sensitive information by making the message look like it’s coming from a trusted person. You need to be wary of emails like this, they are mostly too good to be true. Most phishing emails come in the following forms;
- A notice telling you about suspicious activity or login attempts.
- A claim that there is a problem with your account.
- A request for you to confirm some personal information.
- Fake invoice.
- A link asking you to make a payment.
- Free coupons.
5. Don’t Share Everything
As much as social media is a place where you share your live experiences, pictures, and what you get up to every day, it is important that you are careful of what you share. Not all your pictures have to show your real-time location. Also, you also want to ensure that your social media pages (and posts) do not directly state who your family members are. In a situation where your account is hacked, they are the attacker’s 1st target. The attacker can easily send distress messages to them requesting for cash.
6. Keep your software up-to-date
Software developers regularly update their apps software when they discover bugs or vulnerabilities. But guess what, a lot of people do not update their software even when they are prompted to. Software updates are not only done to add new features, they are also designed to keep you safe. Ensure you only run up-to-date software.
7. Backup your data regularly
Taking necessary precautions do not guarantee that your account or device will not be hacked, they only reduce the chances of it happening. To reduce losses if it eventually happens, it is important that you backup your data regularly. Doing this daily is recommended.
8. Beware of social engineering
This is very similar to phishing. Social engineering uses all available methods, unlike phishing that is carried out via email. It manipulates people into divulging sensitive information.
A very good example is a message telling you that your bank account has been blocked and asking you to provide your credit card details for it to be activated for you. Please note that your bank or other financial institution will never ask you to provide such information via call, or message.
9. Keep track of your digital footprint
The internet has grown so much since inception and a lot of people do not know how many accounts they’ve created or how many websites they’ve subscribed to. It is important to know all these in order for you to know how much of your information is on the internet. Ensure you close accounts you no longer use and delete sensitive information such as credit card details.
10. Stick to your own devices
If you can, do not use other people’s devices especially if they cannot be trusted. But if it is necessary that you do, ensure you log out of all your accounts that you access through the device.
Related Article: How to use Google Chrome Browser Password Management feature
Stay Security Conscious
There is no one single way to stay safe on the internet. Cybersecurity requires conscious effort. We hope that you find this article useful enough to be more cybersecurity conscious. Drop questions or recommendations in the comment if you have any.