Security breaches are on the rise and with so much going on in the cybersecurity landscape, it is inevitable to stay informed about the best cybersecurity practices. Unless you act, your personal and professional life could be threatened. Cybercrime is now more organized and sophisticated than it ever was. You may have heard of Government agencies and corporates falling victim to cyberattacks because an employee clicked on a malicious link.
Well, that’s how dangerous the cyber world is because in the present times, breaking into a private network can do more harm than someone breaking into a house. Therefore, we have put together some of the best cybersecurity measures that can help thwart cybercriminals from gaining unauthorized access.
Access secure SSL Encrypted websites
You can check whether a website is encrypted or not by looking at the URL box of your web browser. Unless the website starts with an ‘HTTPS’ and a green padlock, your browser’s communication with the website’s server isn’t secure. Most legitimate websites install an SSL Certificate, which runs the website on HTTPS, which is also recommended under the PCI DSS protocols. Reputed brands in SSL certificates offer different types of SSL certificates including single domain, wildcard SSL certificate, EV SSL, etc. In other words, a website that does not run on HTTPS may end up exposing the credit card details, or passwords that you use or submit on it. Even, browsers throw a warning against such insecure websites.
Be careful about what goes on the cloud
Most of us no longer use internal storage or external storage devices, thanks to cloud technologies. However, there are some serious downsides to using cloud storage because storing data on the cloud isn’t anything like storing it on your server, where you have absolute control over your data. In the case of cloud servers, someone else is in-charge and this lack of direct control poses a potential risk to your privacy.
So, it would be unwise to save sensitive and confidential data such as passwords, bank details, etc.… on the cloud. Also, in case of technical glitches, you are dependent on the cloud service provider for a resolution. This might take time so before using the services of a cloud storage provider, it is recommended that you read through their Service Agreement.
Set a Strong Password
Most cyberattacks are currently launched using sophisticated software that can even guess your password. This form of cyberattack is called the Brute force attack, wherein the cybercriminal deploys software that guesses your password. While there is no definite protection against this form of attack, you can increase the difficulty level by raising the bar and setting a complex password.
Consider an alphanumeric password that uses different cases and special characters. Doing this makes your password stronger and prevents the software from cracking your passwords and stealing your credit card details. Also, avoid using the same passwords for multiple services, as that exposes you to a larger risk. Finally, set a password that you can remember and don’t have to write down.
Trust the Power of 2FA
Activating the 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) can turn out to be your best decision in case of a cyberattack. That’s because most cyberattacks are launched remotely and, in most cases, the cybercriminal won’t have access to your mobile phone, but only the password. As the cybercriminal cannot complete the transaction without the temporary password that you receive on your phone or email, the 2FA can save you some serious money.
Avoid using Public WI-FI to make payments
We all love using the super-fast free Wi-Fi at the airport, cafeteria, or even at work, but here’s a word of caution. Never use public Wi-Fi to make payments or to share sensitive and confidential information that you may not want someone else to access. That’s because you have very little control in the case of public Wi-Fi, but someone else does. Also, the fact that most Public Wi-Fi is unencrypted and unsecured exposes you to the Man-in-the-Middle cyberattack. So, the next time you have access to free public Wi-Fi, stick to watching YouTube videos or doing something that you don’t mind others being aware of.
Use an up-to-date Antivirus and Firewall
Cybersecurity firms identify and document malware and security threats every single day on their database. Therefore, you need to install an antivirus or firewall from a reputed service provider and update it regularly.
Use email encryption tools
Email encryption is an easy defense against the possibility of a cybercriminal intercepting your in-transit emails and doing this is as easy as installing a Chrome extension such as Pretty Good Privacy or FlowCrypt. This is recommended even if you use Gmail, one of the most secure email services that makes use of TLS to encrypt all the emails that come in and go out of your inbox. An extension is necessary because the Gmail encryption only works if both the sender and the recipient use Gmail, which may not always be the case.
Avoid saving credit card details
E-commerce is at its peak and while most of us shop everything from grocery to gadgets through online marketplaces, we tend to save our credit card details for future use. This wrong move made just for the sake of convenience can cost you dearly if your password is compromised. So, besides shopping only from reliable eCommerce websites, also make it a point to avoid saving your credit card details. Make sure to sign out of your account and use website privacy settings carefully. Never save your banking and eCommerce passwords on your browser, and if you share the computer with someone else then make it a point to sign out.
Finally, as mentioned above, never browse through a website that does not run on HTTPS and since most legit websites make use of Wildcard SSL certificate, this shouldn’t be a problem. Also, if you use social media then avoid adding strangers to your list and never click on links and popups that come as emails or messages from unknown sources. Always customize your social media account’s privacy settings to ensure proper control. These simple yet effective cybersecurity measures can go a long way in protecting and safeguarding your personal and financial data.