5 Tips On How To Protect Yourself Against Cybercrime
A Guide To Keeping Your Family, Business, And Your Money Safe Online
Taking care of your cyber security may never be more important – as governments all over the world have issued warnings preparing businesses and individuals for attacks from teams based in Russia.
The good news is that there are a lot of small changes that you can make that will help to keep you safer online. Most of these steps take less than 10 minutes to implement and will make a huge difference.
And we are going to talk you through 5 of those small steps today.
#1 – Use A VPN When You Log Onto A Public Network
Anyone who has done any cyber security awareness training will know how dangerous it is to log onto a public network.
Most of the hosts of public networks don’t spend the money on them to make them safe, so they become an easy hunting ground for hackers. They are best avoided.
If you have no choice but to occasionally use public networks, then you should log on using a VPN. The VPN will act as a buffer between your computer and anyone trying to access it via the public network.
You can get access to free VPNs online. Many firewall companies now offer a free or low-cost VPN extension as part of their service.
Logging on using a VPN will make you a lot less vulnerable to attacks and data leaks.
#2 – Use Complex Passwords
We all know the importance of complex passwords, but not many of us actually use them on a regular basis.
We understand that the idea of having to have a different password for every account you log onto seems like a lot of effort. However, it can be the difference between only your Reddit account being hacked and you losing your email account, your cloud account, your Facebook account, and even credit card details.
Not only should you keep a separate password for each of your accounts – especially the ones that are connected to your credit card – but you should also make sure that you have a complicated password for each of these accounts.
Every company defines a complex password in a different way. There are some things you should definitely avoid – short passwords, just numbers, just letters, your name, your kids’ names, your birthday, and the name of the website you are logging into.
New advice suggests that using three random words with two numbers on the end is enough complexity to prevent hacks.
For example, dogbeachlord15.
Google suggests that you use a random mixture of letters and numbers as your password. But using the initials of a phrase or song lyric you like with some numbers mixed in could always work.
If you are going to keep note of your passwords the best way to do it is in a physical notebook or to use a website like LastPass that will protect your list for you.
The good news is that once you have set this up, you won’t have to worry about it more than once a year.
#3 – Keep Your Software And Your Firewall Updated
The next thing that you can do to protect yourself against cybercrime is to make sure that you keep your computer software up to date – most importantly, you should be keeping your operating system up to date.
Every time Chrome, Windows, or any other software puts out a big update, it usually follows the update a few days later with a set of patches. It is very important that you update your software with the latest updates when prompted to.
Well, the bigger updates always have problems that the developers only find out about when people start using the software. So, once they have discovered any problems – like a bug that deletes files or a weakness in the security system – they put out a set of patches that fix these issues.
If you do not install the patches then you are leaving your system vulnerable to hackers and other people trying to get into your computer. One of the best ways to protect your computer is to keep it up to date.
You should also make sure that your firewall and computer security systems are kept up to date.
You could set everything to automatically update, but if you are worried this will affect how you work, set aside some time each week for any of the updates that have come up that week.
#4 – Don’t Click On Suspicious Links
We all know that we shouldn’t click on any links that have been emailed to us. However, many people still click on suspicious links that they are sent over Facebook, or they purchase from a company that doesn’t exist using the site.
When you are scrolling through social media and you see an advertisement for a product that seems too good to be true, or a product being sold at a heavy discount – be very careful about engaging with the post. It is most likely that the deal is too good to be true.
Facebook does not vet its advertisers very well, so it is possible that scammers can make a fake website, advertise it on Facebook, and sell people products that don’t exist.
Before you buy anything on Facebook – make sure that the product is being sold by a verified page. Or if it is a small brand, go onto Google and look them up. Make sure that they have good reviews on Trustpilot and that other people aren’t complaining about them being scam artists.
You should make sure that if someone sends you a link on Facebook Messenger that you don’t click on it if you don’t know what it is. Many phishers will send out mass links and messages in the hope someone clicks on them and they can gain access to their account.
To be safe, if someone sends you a link, ask them what it is before you click on it.
#5 – Talk To The People In Your Life About Cyber Security
You will be safest online when the people around you are safe too.
So, we recommend taking the time to educate yourself about cyber security, but also to help the other people in your life do the same.
This means talking to the older people in your life who do not fully understand how the internet works. Make sure that they have firewalls fully set up, they understand not to click on suspicious links, and that they keep their computer up to date.
You should also take the time to talk to any children that you have about how to stay safe online.
Children have a lot to learn about this topic, and they do get taught a lot of it at school – but it won’t harm them at all to get more lessons from you.
The sad thing is that many people will target children online because they are easier to fool than adults are. So, taking the time to explain internet safety to them is really important.
While you should be talking to them about not communicating with strangers and not sharing personal information. You should also cover the other stuff on this list with them. As well as asking them to run all apps and websites they use by you first.