Online threats are at an all-time high, making healthy cybersecurity habits more important than ever. According to a report by Risk Based Security, there were 28,695 vulnerabilities disclosed in 2021. They noted that even with resource prioritization, patching all those in one year is unrealistic.
Not only are vulnerabilities more frequent, but APWG’s Q4 report showed that phishing attacks have tripled compared to early 2020. Threats can come from a variety of directions, making defense a difficult task when only using a single strategy. There are several things a user can do to help counter these hazards.
1. Avoid Clicking Unknown Links
Whether it’s an unexpected email, an internet pop-up, or a random link in chat, be careful clicking anything out of the ordinary. Some links may lead you to rogue downloads. Others may copy real websites and prompt you for your login details to steal them.
While there are many ways for your devices to get attacked, emails are a common entry point. Round Robin suggested over 75% of cyber-attacks start with an email. Never install something unplanned. And with phishing links, you may not even know your information was stolen until the damage is already done. For important accounts, log in from the website directly. Don’t follow a link to it from elsewhere.
2. Keep Your Antivirus up to Date
Even if you’re careful with the links you click, it’s important to keep your antivirus updated. This allows it to do its job better by knowing the latest threats. To make this easier, most antivirus software has the option to update in the background.
3. Make Sure Your Wi-Fi Is Secure
Make sure your wi-fi network has WPA2 or WPA3 encryption enabled. Setting strong wi-fi and network admin passwords is important too because the default ones are commonly easy to guess. Don’t access accounts with sensitive data on unsecured public wi-fi, as it’s vulnerable to hackers.
With the surge in the at-home workforce over the past few years, home wi-fi has become a notable factor in cybersecurity. If you’re having trouble checking or improving your wi-fi network security, managed service providers like ITonDemand can help.
4. Always Use a Firewall
Modern computers will often communicate when there’s a firewall issue, making it easy to take for granted. They’re vital to your computer’s security by filtering out a variety of threat sources. Make sure it’s active before doing anything while you’re connected to the internet.
5. Maintain Backups of Your Data
Lost data can be severely damaging, but redundancy will lessen the impact of unexpected events. It’s beneficial to have multiple types of backups, including one that ransomware can’t access. Keep backups as secure as the rest of your data.
6. Protect Your Accounts
7. Be Careful Sending Text Messages
Not all phones or messaging apps are secure. SMS texts are not end-to-end encrypted, meaning your cellular provider can view the contents. Some apps may similarly view and store private messages. iPhones have encrypted text messaging, but their iCloud backups aren’t and are viewable by anyone with access to your account.
8. Limit Personal Details on Social Media
Social media is a great way to interact with others online, but it’s also viewable by those with malicious intent. Things like name, phone number, address, place of work, and other data may be searchable. Because of this, limit how many personal details you share. This data is often used to guess the security questions that help protect your accounts.
9. Don’t Leave Devices Unattended
When out in public, be careful about leaving your devices alone. While most cybersecurity threats are virtual, a stolen device gives a thief unique physical access. If you lose one, report it and log out of all active account sessions from a different device. Some services allow you to mark it as missing to help with this.
Not all threats can be easily discovered or addressed. With technology advancing, everything from appliances to smartwatches may connect to the internet. A Kaspersky report detected 1.5 billion Internet of Things (IoT) attacks in the first half of 2021. These target a wide array of internet-capable devices. Poor cybersecurity habits can contribute to this risk.
According to a 2019 Harris Poll coordinated with Google, only 37% of people use two-factor authentication. 66% of the surveyed group use the same password for more than one account, and just 45% would change their password after a data breach. ITonDemand can help provide protection, but good individual habits will further boost your security.