Most of us realize that cybersecurity is just as important as securing our homes, and general understanding about online safety and security is certainly a lot higher than it was in the early days of the internet. Far fewer of us routinely use simple passwords like “1234” or fall for email phishing scams, for example. It’s fair to say, then, that most of us understand the basics, but there are still plenty of blind spots when it comes to protecting our personal data from cybercrime. Since hackers and other online fraudsters are continually developing their methods, it’s vital to keep refreshing our knowledge – especially in areas we think we already know well.
Here we take a look at some aspects of cybersecurity you may be overlooking in your day-to-day digital life. Whether you’re a private user or a business owner, these tips will help ensure your cybersecurity and privacy measures are effective and up to date.
The importance of setting strong passwords for your online accounts is common knowledge, yet many still opt for predictable passwords, which are extremely insecure. The reason for this is simple: secure passwords are difficult to remember, especially when most people have dozens of accounts online. Therefore it’s tempting to keep a record of all your complicated passwords – written down, in an Excel file, or in cloud storage. Avoid doing this! This method poses a serious security risk, since criminals need to only access one file in order to access your entire online life. Instead, if you struggle to memorize passwords, try using a password manager. With this type of service, all you need to do is memorize one secure master password and the password manager will generate unique passwords for all your online profiles and accounts.
When combined with improving your password security, implementing 2-factor authentication significantly improves the security of your online accounts. The concept is simple: in order to access your account, such as your email or bank account, 2-factor authentication requires a password plus one other form of identity verification. This extra layer can come in different forms, but is most commonly a PIN number sent to your cell phone, which you then enter during the login process. While this option isn’t yet available across the board, many key online services such as Google already provide it. We strongly recommend you set it up as soon as possible!
These days, software updates are commonplace and, sure, constantly being prompted to update your computer programs and mobile apps can be annoying, but it’s for a good reason. Reason being: updates aren’t just for introducing new features; they also often contain crucial security patches and fixes. Developers are constantly on the lookout for potential and emerging cybersecurity threats to their software, which they then roll out in updates. Always download and install these software updates as soon as you can – even if you’re happy with the way the software currently performs – in order to help ensure you’re protected.