The world has become increasingly tech-savvy. Simple tasks like ordering food online, signing up for an educational course, or even watching a tutorial on how to cook a basic meal have all shifted online.
While this has made managing your lifestyle and handling your routine much easier, it has also made you increasingly vulnerable. According to Zippia, cyberattacks happen once every 39 seconds. You may be familiar with some attacks, such as phishing, malware, and ransomware. In extreme cases, your data may get stolen and sold ahead.
So, how do you prevent your security and privacy online? After all, no one wants to jeopardize their online reputation. And so, to save you from becoming a victim of any cyberattack, here are some tips to enhance your security and privacy:
Dive into the World of Cybersecurity
If you’re enthusiastic about cybersecurity and want to do more than the bare minimum in protecting your data and security, why not try your hand at transforming cybersecurity into a career? Cybersecurity is an immensely rewarding field. Not only do you become an expert in keeping yourself safe online, but you’re an asset to many leading companies and businesses. In 2020 alone, there were roughly 700,000 cyberattacks against small businesses, which resulted in more than $2.8 billion in damage.
To get to this level, you must first secure a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity or any related field. This will lead you through concepts like data management and digital forensics. From there, you should get a master’s degree; nothing prepares you for the industry more than an advanced qualification. While there are many ways to acquire a master’s, the best option is to for a master’s in cybersecurity online that allows you to pick up lucrative concepts in a self-paced manner. By finishing your degree, you will be fluent in cybersecurity and know what measures to implement to protect sensitive data.
How Can You Protect Yourself Online?
You can get tracked and hacked in numerous ways when you’re online. Therefore, to ensure you’re safely browsing online, the following can help you:
Become elusive on social media
Social media is both an asset and a liability. While it has made connecting with friends and family easier, it has also exposed you online. If you are tempted to share your information online to make it easier to find you, it is best you don’t do this. Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram know no bounds regarding data privacy. They can share confidential information like your address and phone number and sometimes link your bank account to your main profile. If you’re not careful, details like your pinned location and Zip code can also be readily available to the public.
Consequently, if a cybercriminal comes across your profile with malicious intent, they can easily misuse your information and access financial records, which they can steal. For this reason, try sharing your information online to a minimum; you don’t need to link your website or bank account to your main profile, and reduce the details you mention about your life.
Create stronger passwords
According to statistics, two-thirds of Americans use the same passwords for different accounts. In practice, having the same password makes it convenient for you to log into any account you want, but realistically, you have unknowingly made yourself vulnerable to a cyberattack.
Most cybercriminals know users prefer keeping the same password for most accounts. They are also aware common passwords include birthdays, anniversary dates, pet names, and the town the person grew up in.
If you want to save yourself from a potential attack, get into the habit of using unique passwords. You should use numbers, special symbols, uppercase, and lowercase letters to create a password that is challenging to guess. If you’re unsure how to do this, you can use a random password generator and make a unique password. You should also try to create longer passwords; these are much stronger than shorter ones.
Use a VPN
Virtual private networks (VPNs) are a great way to protect your connection against malevolent online activity. A VPN encrypts your data and provides you with an additional layer of security. This network also hides your IP address, making you virtually untraceable. So, if you enjoy using public Wi-Fi or plan on checking confidential data, it’s best to do with a VPN.
The only drawback of having a VPN is that you have to pay for these services. While most are affordable, specific VPNs may be too pricey to add to your budget. Some VPNs also reduce your browser performance, which means the search engine may take longer to load, and you may not connect to a server immediately.
Update your antivirus software
Having antivirus software is an integral part of owning a smart device. This software protects your device, like your laptop, against all types of viruses that can impact your system and corrupt your data. Therefore, if you get notifications to update your antivirus software, don’t ignore these messages and immediately go for an update. The latest software fixes your bugs and repairs all openings in your operating system.
According to Techopedia, 83% of companies experience a yearly phishing attack. Phishing is a scam in which a hacker emails or messages you while pretending to be a reputable company. This fraudulent activity aims to get you to enter your personal details, like credit card numbers. This is why if you receive a suspicious-looking email, even though it may claim to be from your bank, don’t click on any links in the body.
Cybercriminals will email you links to websites that will redirect you to a duplicate website where, once you enter your information, there’s a high chance it will get recorded and stolen. That’s why verify any link sent to you; for instance, if the scammer is pretending to be from your bank, you should contact your bank with a verified number and confirm if they sent it to you. Some of these links may have mistakes in the URL, such as typos or a misspelling, that can inform you that you may be dealing with a fraudulent link. Therefore, practice caution and be vigilant about the messages you receive.
Going online has many advantages but also carries substantial risks. Digitization has made life easier but also has a series of threats that can compromise your data. This is because when you shift online, you inadvertently expose yourself to a world of cybercrime. Cybercriminals are always lurking on the World Wide Web for many reasons, one of which is to misuse your data potentially and make money off it. So, while this may sound like a threatening notion, you shouldn’t be afraid. You can protect your data and save it from numerous malicious attacks in many ways. This involves being vigilant about your passwords, using VPN, and choosing not to post as openly on social media. The small measures you take today will pay off in the long run.