Cybersecurity and privacy measures are increasingly becoming the top priorities for many organizations. Companies are working hard to protect their customers’ data and improve their cybersecurity measures. Employers help their workers understand the threats against personal security online and ways to improve their overall security. While brands and organizations do all they can to ensure their end users’ data protection from their own standpoint, we too can do our part to safeguard our personal cybersecurity.
6 Essential Habits to Improve Personal Cybersecurity
So here we give you 6 of the most essential tried and trusted methods followed by industry experts to minimize online risks.
Close Your Unused Accounts
With so many ways to stay connected on the internet, you might be in the habit of using multiple social media accounts. And with time, you might have forgotten about a few of your old accounts. Remember the then popular MySpace? If you had used it, just make sure if your account is inactive.
Or, your last Yahoo login was several years ago, but your account might be still alive and running, even if you are not using it. But if you are using the same username and passwords for other sites or services, then any data leak in your unused accounts could be harmful. These forgotten accounts, known as “zombie” accounts, have to be put to rest once and for all. Otherwise, your current credentials or personal data will make its way into the dark web.
Shawn Henry, CSO- CrowdStrike, goes a step further and says that remote access technology can be used to breach your information, and hence he turns off Bluetooth and WiFi while he is away. You need to consider the digital threat along with the physical security of your devices when you are staying at a hotel, for instance.
Justin Somaini, SAP, is also of the opinion that you also need to shut off all your devices if you travel quite often. He says that using remote settings for monitoring your network traffic and going minimalistic is also highly advisable, like loading only the basic information or messages.
Create Passwords That You Can Remember
Most people rarely change their passwords from time to time, which is a must for good security. However, recent popular secure password practices suggest that by using complex passwords with a combination of random letters, numbers, and symbols, you can keep your login data secure. The problem with this method is that you cannot memorize all the passwords you use for the 100-odd accounts that you use frequently.
Although these may be hard to crack by hacking agents or a computer, it defeats the purpose when you cannot make head and tail of your own credentials and you get locked out. So, experts advise that instead of trying to create a long string of random characters, stick to using letters whenever you can. Just make sure that you arrange them in unusual combinations. Try words that mean something to you and you can easily remember.
Terence Spies, CTO– Data Security at HP says that he writes down his passwords and stores them in a secure place. This is among the topmost things that we are told not to do. He says that if he had to create an easy-to-memorize password, he would have to go with a default one and use it for all his accounts. Rather, he chooses to come up with creative and unique passwords and a mnemonic way to memorize them. The human brain is not built to remember random information.
Use Multi-Factor Authentication
If you make financial transactions online, then you are already aware of how multi-factor authentication works. Even though you log in with your credentials, in order to authenticate the transaction you are about to make, you need to enter a code that your bank sends you. The same can be seen when you try to login into an email service or social networking site from a new device. You can receive a notification about this event for the sake of your security.
Making this stronger, many online services offer two-factor authentication and you can use this in day-to-day life like email or accounts that deal with sensitive data. Google and other companies offer standalone Authentication apps to their users’ personal cybersecurity risk.
Rishi Bhargava, VP- Demisto, stresses the importance of not using the same login credentials for more than one site, even for a random website. This also keeps your data unbreachable and you can have added protection with two-factor authentication.
Update Your Software And Hardware
Installing anti-malware software apps ensures that you stay safe whenever you are connected. This is imperative as even the top-rated firewall used for your corporate suite might get sidelined by a dangerous phishing attack or an employee might unknowingly install a corrupted file from an untrusted source and infect all your data.
Malware and ransomware lurk in all sorts of places on the web. The least you could do is to follow stringent practices to protect yourself. Keep your anti-malware programs updated on all your devices to stop hackers from accessing your secure data. Similarly, upgrading to the latest and most secure devices or updating your hardware is also crucial for data safety.
Justin Fier of Darktrace (Director- Intelligence) says that being an intelligence contractor himself, the best recommendation he can make is that you need to keep updating your software and maintaining good password hygiene.
Secure Data With Biometric Authentication
All the above practices can help you a great deal but are not exactly foolproof. That’s because your data may slip out of your hands if you lose your device or someone hacks your account. But when you use biometric authentication, you can be sure of keeping your devices and data safe. Only you will be able to access your data, in your physical presence and there is not a chance of remotely gaining access. This removes 81 percent chances of data breaches.
As more manufacturers provide biometric authentication technology on their apps and devices, your data protection gets a significant upgrade. Additionally, you can even track any failed authentication attempts and detect who is trying to access your accounts or devices.
Tom Corn, SVP- VMware says that spotting a breach in time can make a huge difference. When the web is full of potential threats, you need as many monitoring systems as you can use. With biometric authentication, you have the means to detect a possible breach by a sophisticated attacker beforehand, you can prevent compromising your system.
Use a VPN
A VPN is the ultimate internet security tool. This robust software encrypts all your data and reroutes your traffic through a secure server in a selected country. When that occurs, your public IP will be cloaked and you end up obtaining one to match the location of the server you chose. By doing so, you’ll guard your device against any possible hacking attempt. Not only that but with a hidden IP address, you’ll surf the web without being spied on. Not even your ISP can keep tags on what you do online. Here’s what you need to do in order to increase your security with a VPN:
- First, sign up with a credible VPN service provider. I highly recommend ExpressVPN as it’s one of the tops in the industry.
- Download and install their VPN application on your device. You’ll find clients on major operating systems including Android, iOS, PC, and Mac.
- Sign in with your account and head over to the server list.
- Pick any server you see fit and hit connect.
- Wait for the connection to take place and use this IP verifier to confirm that your IP has changed.
- You’re now browsing the web anonymously and safely.
Picking a good VPN can be daunting due to the fact that there are dozens of VPN providers on the market. In case you’re confused, here’s a table that highlights the best VPN services out there. Check it out and pick one according to your needs.
- Best for streaming and privacy
- High speed servers in 160 VPN locations
- Works for Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu
- 24/7/ live chat support
- 3 extra months free on annual plan
- UltraHD streaming
- Free Smart DNS proxy
- Unblocks all major streaming services
- Limited Time 72% Discount
- Unlimited VPN connections
- Over 1000 servers
- Ad-blocking feature available
- User-friendly application
- Exclusive Smart VPN feature
- Standalone Smart DNS subscription available
In matters of cybersecurity, it is very difficult to differentiate between being paranoid or being cautious. But in this risky climate of potential privacy violations, practicing even the tiniest cybersecurity measures is vital.