The internet is a part of our every day lives, and we don't realise how much we rely on it until it is gone. But with this increased dependence and use, also comes danger. Cyber threats have become a normal topic of everyday conversation; you can not read a tech blog without coming across some sort of cybersecurity blog post.
1. Create complex and unique passwords.
Using strong, complex, and unique passwords for all of your most important accounts is one of the best and simplest way you can enhance your online security. However, people can find the idea of creating and keeping track of so many different passwords extremely daunting, resulting in them simply ignoring this idea altogether. Instead, Password Managers have become a great way for you to enhance your online security as they can automatically create and store strong and unique passwords for every account needed. If you are wanting to add even more layers of security, you can consider 2FA/MFA (Two-Factor-Authentication or Multi-Factor-Authentication), so your permission is needed to be granted through putting a code in after the first login page, essentially to confirm your identity.
2. Make your network secure.
Whether you're at work or at home, it is most likely that you are connected to a secure network that is password controlled and encrypted, but this is not always the case. There are many times throughout the day or week where we find ourselves traveling or in public areas, tempted to join public WiFi to preserve our data usage. Trying to avoid doing so is the best idea because joining public WiFi can leave you in a very vulnerable position where hackers can tap into your network in an attempt to steal your private information. A good way to avoid this is through investing in a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which essentially creates a firewall around your network.
3. Speaking of Firewalls.
Firewalls are an "electronic barrier that blocks unauthorised access to your computers and devices", and they are often included in comprehensive security software. The great thing about them is that every single device that is connected to your network are secure, including IoT items that you might find in smart homes, leaving no loose ends.
4. Be smart and think before clicking links.
Careless clicking is one of the biggest causes of hacks, especially for companies, so don't invite danger and think before you click. One of the most prevalent and successful hacker tools at the moment is 'phishing', which is where suspicious links are sent through equally suspicious emails, and once clicked, can infect, take over, or delete your entire system. So, always be wary, especially of offers that sound too good to be true.
5. Be selective when sharing your life online.
With social media, we now have the ability to share every little detail of our lives, but that one innocent photo in front of your house, or that one selfie with your credit card laying in the background could leave you in a seriously dangerous position. Hackers can snoop through your social media, searching for important and private information, to essentially impersonate you and steal anything they can. So, be selective, and be careful not to accidentally share important/private information online.
6. Protect your smartphone.
The more and more we rely on our mobile phones to help our daily lives function, the more and more risks that arise as a result. There are numerous risky apps or dangerous links sent by SMS that threaten millions every day. The bottom line is, only download apps from official app stores, and don't respond to strangers or click on suspicious links.
7. Keep your software up-to-date.
Those updates are there for a reason! So, don't keep putting them off, and instead of 'Automatic Updates' switched on. The updates repair any problems and security patches, so keeping your apps and software up-to-date is a great way to avoid any future problems.
8. Update your knowledge.
With the internet, there is no end to the amount of information you can take in, so make use of this tool and keep your cybersecurity knowledge up-to-date. Online threats are the biggest news in the tech world, so there is no end to the number of blogs that cover all sorts of cyber security techniques, as well as the latest ransomware threats etc. Having this knowledge will help in knowing what to look out for if you are under threat.
9. Keep your guard up:
This point really is just common sense, but when browsing the internet, we can sometimes lose some common sense and fall for the simplest of scams. So, always be cautious when you are browsing the internet, such as the sites you visit, and again, what you share online. Make sure you are using comprehensive security software, and regularly back up your data.
We hope that these tips have helped in bringing some clarity to staying safe online and that you are not so daunted by the aspect. Cyber Essentials also offer some great tips to do with cybersecurity, along with how to become Cyber Essentials Certified.