With the heightened Cybercrime what are the essential tips for personal cybersecurity?

Do you recall how our greatest concern was that our computer would become infected with a virus? Now fast forward ten years, and it is the least of our worries. Today, there are trillions of cybercriminals with the ability to bring entire sectors to a halt.

Because a lot of vital information is stored online, fraudsters can do a lot of damage. And that is the case. That isn’t even the most dangerous threat; cyberterrorism is. By stealing vital data, criminals can now wreak massive damage to states, communities, and enterprises.

According to Whoa Networks the following are the five causes of data breaches: –

  1. Old, Unpatched Security Vulnerabilities.
  2. Human error
  3. Malware
  4. Insider misuse
  5. Physical Theft of a Data-Carrying Device

It goes without saying, passwords are critical for online security. This is the only way to keep hackers from accessing your personal data. So, what should you considered when setting up a password?

  • A Minimum of 8 characters comprising of Uppercase, lowercase, a number and special characters (! @#).
  • Do not reuse your password a across different sites or on the same site.
  • Choose something easy to remember i.e., Use a phase to come up with your password i.e. I like watching football >> !l!k3w@tch!ngf00tb@ll.
  • Change your passwords regularly.
  • Secure your devices with a pin, passwords, and/or biometric access.
  • Where you need to remember your passwords, consider using a password manager like, LastPass, Dashlane etc.

Two-factor/multi-factor authentication is a service that adds additional layers of security to the standard password method while authenticating. It is recommended to always enable multi-factor authentication for all your accounts if the feature is available.

The Different types of 2FA include;

  • Use of email
  • Use of phone number
  • Use of applications such as Google authenticator

Malware take advantage of applications/software weaknesses hence companies frequently release security patches to ensure the weakness on your application/software are eliminated. Time is of essence, to enable this;

  • Turn on automatic system/applications updates for your devices (Personal laptop, mobile devices)
  • Make sure your web browsers use automatic security updates
  • Keep your web browser extensions like Flash, Java, etc. updated

Avoid posting personally Identifiable information online such as your ID number, Date of Birth, educational background, relatives’ information etc. The first stop for every hacker when conducting a reconnaissance is your personal social sites. You will always be targeted because you have access to information the attacker requires. To ensure safety;

  • Avoid posting every move/event on social media.
  • Restrict people who can access your PII data.

What happens when we lose our devices? Are we able to replace it and easily recover our data?

  • Utilize available free cloud storage platforms i.e., Dropbox, google cloud, Microsoft OneDrive.
  • Back-up your phone contacts (google contacts)
  • Back-up your files (google drive, drop box, OneDrive)
  • Ensure auto sync has been configured to automatically back-up specific files/folders.

Anti-Virus software, blocks malware and other malicious viruses from entering your devices and compromising your data. Use anti-virus software from trusted vendors and only run one Anti-Virus tool on your device.

  • Consider use of a mobile phone firewall such as NetGuard to filter traffic and set rules on network access for each application.
  • On windows, ensure the Windows Defender is enabled.
  • On Linux boxes, conduct Linux hardening

With the advancement in technology, online shopping has become part and parcel of our lives. We order and pay online. As you navigate your way online consider the following;

  • Always ensure you use a specific credit card for your online transactions where you only load cash when purchasing a product.
  • Avoid using your primary bank card to make payments.
  • While making online payments, ensure you are on a private network. (Avoid free, public open Wireless connections)
  • Tether internet connection from your phone.
  • Consider using Virtual Private Networks (VPN) to secure communication online.

Having home fiber internet is not enough to justify security. Take extra measures to ensure security. Ensure that;

  • Default router passwords are changed.
  • Regularly changer the Wi-Fi password from time to time
  • Configure extra security options such as changing the private IP range, Hide the network, filter unsecure websites, create a guest network separate from the primary network.
  • Disable remote router management.
  • Enable router/Access point updates.
  • Turn off the network when not in use.
  • Ensure your devices are disconnected from the network over the night.
  • Avoid open home shared networks.
  • Avoid opening unsecured sites. (Https:)
  • Avoid clicking on ads to prevent Adware.
  • Avoid downloading pirated media and software
  • Avoid use of torrents sites.

Follow these essential tips to help protect your personal information from Cyber threats and criminals.

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