8 Cyber Security Tips For Scam + Hacker Protection
The rise of the digital landscape has equally prompted the rise of digital crime. Every other day there are news stories about hackers and scammers, compromising information and spreading malware. The complexity of this new environment provides endless opportunities for exploitation, with scams becoming more convincing than the real world could ever imagine.
Luckily, as the web widens – so do our abilities to protect ourselves. When these best practices are followed, we can ease our digital anxiety. Below are our top recommendations for protecting your personal information.
TURN ON THE TWO FACTOR AUTHENTICATION (2FA)
Sure. It’s tempting to skip past this step on your next login, but this small verification set-up could be the difference between a hacked account or a foiled attempt. Levels of security make the likelihood of a false login significantly less. Plus, they can notify you of any password breaches. These options are offered where you need them most, think emails, banking and sharing platforms.
INVEST IN A PASSWORD MANAGER
Long gone are the days of using one password for everything. One low security sign-up and your entire online identity could be compromised. So then what? Submit yourself to resetting your password once a week because you can’t recall the incredibly safe (but gibberish) array of passwords you set last week?
This is where password managers come in. These high-security browser add-ons will store your complex passwords for you. Generally, with a password-generating function that keeps hackers challenged. On your side of things, you’ll only need to remember one password – this must be kept to yourself, and used in no other instance where it could be compromised.
Our password manager of choice is 1Password, largely for its great team syncing features. LastPass is another popular option.
LOOK FOR SSL
Looking up the abbreviation for SSL isn’t going to give you more clarity about what we’re talking about. Basically, an SSL certificate is a cryptographic key that can be wound into any website’s database – ensuring that unknown devices can’t access your, or their, information. For you, this shows up in the form of a grey lock in the address bar of your chrome browser. An information (i) or warning symbol, signifies the opposite. Most browsers will give you a warning when you click on these sites, still, it’s best to be aware of them.
DON’T KEEP YOUR HEAD (OR PASSWORD) IN THE CLOUD
Cloud-based systems are great for storage, but they’re not a locked safe. It is easy, but not best practice, to store high value information like passwords, ID and business operations in these online storage systems.
WE DON’T NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BIRTHDAY
If you can, don’t put your birth date anywhere online. This piece of information is an incredibly common identity verification question. This is particularly common in high-concern situations with the government, as well as banking institutions.
DON’T TAKE THE UNSOLICITED SHORTCUT
Scam emails used to be obvious – royalty from a foreign country, an unpurchased winning lottery ticket. Now they’re posing as your internet provider, or even your local post office. It is becoming increasingly harder to tell which links are safe or faked.
An easy way to avoid trouble? Don’t take the provided shortcut. Look up the website yourself, log in as usual and do the rest from there. If you don’t have an account to log into, call customer service and follow it up. If there’s no notification or record of an outreach, you’ve likely avoided a scam.
GET A VPN
VPN has been around for a while now, but no more solely by advanced users. As well as bouncing your location around the globe, VPN acts as an encryptor for all information shared between you and external traffic. In simplest terms, your particular internet traffic is routed through a 3rd party, sometimes even overseas. It is the ultimate tool for sensitive activity protection, as well as for hiding your identity and residence.
PUBLIC WIFI IS NOT PRIVATE
Everyone loves free WiFi, including hackers. Next time you’re at the airport or library, think before you connect to the complimentary service. This is particularly true of any WiFi without an authentication page. Hackers can easily use an unsecured connection to view information sent between you and your browser. That quick log-in into your banking? Straight to their screens. Similarly, public networks can be used to spread malware.
A hacker will always go for the most obvious targets. Take yourself off that list by making it complicated. These simple precautions will reduce your risk of a cyber attack, and enhance your cyber security defence.