With the increasing number of cybercriminals and cyberattacks, organisations are more challenged today than ever before. Attackers like to go after emerging technologies as they tend to be less equipped to deal with such attacks. The internet today is inundated with viruses, Trojan horses and other malicious files.
The constant need and desire to stay ahead of the game, in touching distance with the new emerging technologies, forces many organisations to make alterations to their IT infrastructure. However, in some cases, this can compromise the security of the organisation, leaving them open and more vulnerable to future attacks. With the increasing number of people and organisations taking to the internet, so has the number of cyberattacks increased to reflect that trend. In the past year alone, studies have shown an increase of around 270% and that’s compared to the year prior.
If you want to keep your network secure, then you must always be ten steps ahead of the attacks. Below you will find 10 important cybersecurity tips that you can and should use to secure your network, organisation or personal system, depending on your predicament.
1. Implement Two-Factor Authentication
Having a password that is strong is very important, however, having two-factor or multi-factor authentication can prove to be even more important. Essentially, two-factor authentication provides an additional layer of security to safeguard you data. So that, in the event that a hacker was/is able to obtain your password, there is still another layer of security they must bypass before they can actually access your account.
2. Utilise Good Password Management
When it comes to creasing and using passwords, many people tend to make the same mistake of reusing the same passwords. When you opt to use a password management tool, it will help you create passwords that are both strong and unique for each and every account you have. These management tools are capable of automatically generating strong passwords, then entering these passwords into the username and password boxes on the website for you. They are also capable of periodically reminding you to update your password.
However, when it comes to manually creating passwords, here are a few things you should live by. First, you should ensure the password is long, that means, no less than 7 characters. You want to use a series of lower and upper case letters, and use special characters if permitted. Every account should have its own unique password, and you should never share it with anyone, and don’t write it down, if you can help it. Always remember to update your passwords, at least 2 to 4 times per year.
3. Avoid Phishing Scams
Phishing scams is one threat that will never go away. Cybercriminals use a serious of ploy, social engineering and other tricks to fool the end user into giving up sensitive information, such as banking and credit card details or account login data, such as username and passwords.
Phishing scams can and do occur through various mediums, such as mobile phones, via text, or through social networks and in many cases through email.
You should always be suspicious of any email, regardless of how authentic it may look, asking you to send them financial or personal information.
4. Never Leave Your Devices Unattended
When it comes to security, the physical security of a device is equally as important, as anything.
If you are forced to leave a device anywhere, ensure it is locked down. If you have confidential data stored away on an external hard drive or USB stick, be sure to lock this data. When it comes to locking data, one of the most effective ways of doing it is simply to encrypt the data.
5. Keep Up With All the Updates
Whenever a security vulnerability is discovered, software developers will usually release a security patch to eliminate it. Despite how annoying these update notifications may be, they are equally as important. If you want your system to be safe from any potential virus infections, then you need to ensure that it has all latest security updates and patches installed on it.
6. Back Up All Your Data
Nowadays, storage space is very cheap. For this reason you have no excuse not to back up at least some of your data. You want to back up your data in at least two places, maybe on a USB stick and the cloud. Remember, not all hackers are out to steal your data, some just want to encrypt it (to hold it ransom) or erase it altogether. So you should have a backup plan in place, in the event that it happens.
7. Be Mindful Of What You Click On
If you can help it, try to avoid unfamiliar websites, and never download software from untrusted sources. Downloading software from bad neighbourhoods will almost always lead to a compromised system.
If you’re sent an attachment or suspicious link in an email, be sure to not click on it.
8. Track Your Own Digital Footprint
When you take the time to monitor your own accounts, it makes it possible for you to catch any suspicious activity. Are you able to keep track of all your online accounts, and the various pieces of data that you have stored on them, such as credit card and banking details?
It’s very important that you are aware of your own digital footprint, including any social network accounts, and erase any accounts that are no longer of any use to you. While, ensuring, of course, you’re using strong passwords for everything.
9. Make Your Connections Secure
When you look at any article about cyber security, you are sure to find secure connections listed upon it. But despite this reality, so many people neglect to follow this advice. You may have or at the very least, been tempted to connect your device to an insecure neighbourhood, but really, when the pros and cons are weighed up, you find that it’s hardly worth it. If possible, try to stick solely to private networks, especially when you know you’ll be handling sensitive data.
10. Be Aware Of Social Engineering
If a hacker is unable to find a security vulnerability, then they’ll look to make their attack through other means. This is where social engineering comes into the equation, which is more about deception. Fooling the user into doing something they otherwise wouldn’t do, if they knew better.
Usually this allows the hackers to gain access to a system or at least its data. And with personal information about people, readily available and accessible on the many social media sites, this makes it easier for cybercriminals to come up with new and creative ways to fool their victims.