It’s difficult to remember a time when our daily activities didn’t rely on the use of the internet. Almost everything we do can be done online. From communicating with friends on social media to exchanging sensitive data via online banking or shopping, it’s all done thanks to the internet.
As a user, you should err on the side of caution and implement cyber security tactics to keep your data, safe from malicious online activity.
Find out what you can do to protect yourself online.
Before you even begin browsing online you can start protecting yourself from internet security attacks.
Every computer user should install anti-virus, or anti-malware, software. An anti-virus software is your first line of defense against malicious activity. Hackers may be trying to lock your computer or hold your data for a ransom. They may also be trying to use your computer or the data stored there for their own malicious activities.
Furthermore, you should ensure you are always running the latest, most up to date software. In most cases, when new software updates come out, developers have increased security measures to ensure stronger levels of cyber security. Continuing to use an older version of a software could leave you more susceptible to an online attack. So the next time your computer prompts you to install an update you may reconsider hitting the “install later” option.
Lastly, ensure you are only downloading software from trusted, verified sources.
While browsing online, be mindful of a few things.
Email is one of the most common ways malicious cyber activity occurs. When you get an email from an unknown sender or even known senders, be cautious of opening any links or attachments. Only follow links sent from sources you trust, and don’t download any attachments if you’re unsure of their origin.
If you haven’t already, you should consider installing an ad blocker. This will improve your online experience by removing annoying pop-ups while also securing your online browsing. Often times hackers use popups as a way to get close to your computer, as well as your data.
As mentioned earlier, while you’re online make sure you’re using the latest version of the browser. Internet Explorer is known for being one of the least secure browsers. If this is your current browser you may consider using a different browser; Google Chrome is a popular choice. If you have plugins installed in your browser, stay on top of updates and ensure you are using the latest versions available.
Almost every online service we access online requires a password. Often we use the same password for everything, instead of trying to remember all the different passwords for various accounts.
If a hacker was able to figure out your password for one account, they could potentially hack into every account, if you’ve used the same password. Add layers of security to your online accounts by using different passwords for each login.
It’s best to use complex, difficult to guess passwords. One of the best tips is to create long passwords. Try to avoid using common phrases, or personally meaningful dates, like your birthdate, anniversary, or your child’s birthday. Using a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters along with special characters and numbers will help create a more secure password.
You may be worried about creating passwords you won’t be able to remember. You can download password manager applications that store all your passwords in one place and is protected by one master password. These applications are often encrypted, so no one else is able to see the data you set within the app.
Where possible, it’s best to set up to two-factor authentication. Not all web services or applications offer this option but it’s best to use it where available. By sending a code to your cell phone, or alternative account, your account becomes protected on two layers.
If your password has been hacked, your data will remain secure thanks to the two-factor authentication.
Our computers are not the only devices that are susceptible to cyber security breaches.
While implementing practices to protect yourself online, it’s important to remember your mobile devices! Many smartphones and tablets come with built-in security features, like fingerprint IDs, facial recognition and the ability to set up passcodes. Use these features wherever you can to protect your device, and ultimately your data from malicious activity.
In many cases, online users spend more time on mobile applications than visiting actual websites. It’s likely you have dozens of applications installed on your device. When you do go to download applications, only do so from trusted, reputable sources. Be aware of any third party activity that may come along with the download.
As stated earlier, make sure your mobile device software, and all applications, are kept up to date. Doing so will ensure you are using the highest levels of cyber security provided by the software and application developers.
One of the best ways to protect your mobile devices is to simply never leave them unattended. When you do step away from your device, make sure you lock it, so no one has access to your data.
VPN (Virtual Private Network)
Most businesses protect against cybersecurity attacks using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). A VPN provides an additional barrier between a user and their data and the internet at large.
Although widely used by businesses, individuals can also use VPNs for more secure browsing. Using a VPN encrypts your data and online activity so that no one else can see what you are doing or what data you may be entering or exchanging.
Browse the internet with peace of mind, knowing you have protected yourself against potential cyber security attacks.
Organizations all around the world rely on the strength of their cyber security to confidently push forward their business goals and activities. Internet and cyber security professionals are needed in every filed to secure and protect data.
If you’re ready to launch an in-demand career, consider becoming an internet and network security engineer. In Canada alone it is expected 69,500 jobs for cyber security professionals will be created now through 2024, not to mention the global demand for this versatile skill-set.
Start working towards your career today, at BizTech College! Our Computer Network and Security Engineer diploma program will put you on the right track to earning one of the many in-demand jobs available to IT professionals with a strong cyber security skill-set.