Below you will find a series of cyber security tips that you should keep in mind when considering the various methods available to you to protect yourself from cyber threats. These tips include general recommendations for businesses, as well as advice that you can and should use personally.
However, one thing to keep in mind is that these tips alone, will not be sufficient in keeping either you or your business free from cyber-attacks completely. But, they will provide you with a baseline that you can use, and should expand upon, if you ever hope to keep your data completely secure.
1. Use Anti-Virus Scanner and Firewall Programs
Antivirus tools are one of the most well known and most effective methods of fighting malicious attacks on your system. These internet security tools are designed to block malware and other malicious file types from infiltrating your system and corrupting personal data. You want to use one from a reputable developer, and only run one such tool on your system, at any one time.
Having a firewall program is also important, as it also protects your computer from malicious attacks. A firewall program is designed to block hackers, viruses, and other malicious activity that typically occurs over the internet. It does this by determining which traffic should be allowed into your system, and which should not. Both Mac and Windows-based systems have their own built-in firewall tools, both aptly named Windows Firewall and Mac Firewall. You should also have a firewall built into your router to prevent hackers from accessing it.
2. Backup Your Data Regularly
You want to have your own backup regime, which when put to use, will ensure you never lose data, in the event of an attack. This is especially important today, given the rise in the number of ransomware attacks. You want to back up your data on a regular basis, and store it on different mediums, preferable online and offline, where infected systems or hackers cannot access it. You also want to ensure such backup data is accessible, so you will need to run tests. Make sure your backups are being done on schedule and that they work.
3. Keep Your Software Up to Date
In the past couple of years, we’ve witnessed a rapid increase in the number of ransomware attacks for both the end-user and the business. One of the most effective ways of countering these kinds of attacks is by ensuring all the software on your system is up-to-date. This way you can ensure known vulnerabilities are patched, the moment they are made known to the public.
Here are some tips that you can use to get started:
- Make sure automatic updates are turned on for your device.
- Regularly do research on patch management for best practice purposes.
- Make sure all your browser plugins are up-to-date.
- Enable automatic security updates for your web browser.
4. Track You Own Digital Footprint
When monitoring all your accounts, makes it easier for you to catch any suspicious activity. Are you able to recall all of your various online accounts, and the different things you may have stored on them, whether it’s credit card numbers for quick payments? It’s very important that you track your own digital footprint, this will include social media accounts, to erase accounts that you no longer need or use, while ensuring all account passwords are strong and changed on a regular basis.
5. Be Mindful When Using Removable Media
Malware is readily spread through external storage devices, such as external hard drives, flash drives, and also mobile phones. You want to have your own policy in place, which ensures controlled access to these removable media devices, ensuring such devices are regularly scanned before they are hooked up to a computer. On the most sensitive systems, it’s probably best that you disable removable devices altogether.
6. Secure Your Mobile Device
Security is holistic, which means, it doesn’t simply start and end with your desktop computer. It’s important that you consider the security needs of your mobile device also. Make sure you’re using biometric fingerprinting and strong passwords, make sure Bluetooth is turned off and that you’re not configured to automatically connect to random Wi-Fi networks.
7. Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi
If you must use a public Wi-Fi network, then you shouldn’t do it without a virtual private network (VPN). When you use a VPN, the traffic that is transferred between your device and the VPN service is encrypted. This makes it increasingly difficult for hackers to access and read the data being sent to and from your device. If you don’t have a VPN, then you should prioritize cell networks, as your only line of security.