Reduce your risk with a few simple steps
Personal data is valuable to cybercriminals. Did you know that hackers can sell Netflix passwords for $3 each? Financial data is even MORE valuable than credit card numbers, and hackers can get up to $2,000 for selling financial data.
Data theft has become more common and more sophisticated, which means that it’s important for companies to be aware of the threats and take steps to protect their data. Techniques include malware, social engineering, phishing, and SMSing. Here are some things you can do to reduce your risk.
Protecting your devices
Desktops, laptops, phones, and tablets are primary targets of malware. Malware is a piece of malicious code that infects a device and can spread to different files and programs. Depending on the purpose of the virus, the malicious code can use your device’s computing power to conduct broader cyberattacks, delete important files, or spread to other devices.
Malware is becoming more sophisticated. There are many different types. You’ve probably heard of ransomware, a type of malicious software that locks you out of accessing your computer until you pay a ransom fee. Keystroke logging viruses or spyware can record your typing in online forms, including bank account login details, and send that information back to a criminal.
Here’s how you should protect your devices from malware:
- Install an anti-virus program on all the computers and mobile devices you use, including smartphones and tablets. Make sure to keep it up to date.
- Use a firewall to limit which programs have access to your network connection. Your firewall can prevent malware from broadcasting your sensitive data to other computers.
- You can avoid malicious websites by installing a browser extension that scans the pages you visit for malicious content.
- Make sure your home Wi-Fi is secure by using a strong password.
- Use only encrypted connections when accessing the Internet. Don’t use Public Wi-Fi networks to shop online or to log into your online banking accounts.
- Be wary of emails with attached files and links. Don’t open files or click on links from unknown senders. The same rule applies to links you see on social media.
- Malware can be downloaded from online sources. Malware can be downloaded from illegal downloading websites or bundled with software downloads that appear to be legitimate.
- Storing backups on your web server is also a major security risk.
- Don’t let any malicious attacks go under the red carpet. You should be aware of any suspicious activities.
- Recording IP addresses and all activity history will be helpful in forensic analysis later.
- Install A Web Application Firewall – A web application firewall (WAF) can be based on either software or hardware and it sits between your website server and the data connection itself.
- Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available.
- Most types of anti-virus software can be set up to make automatic updates.
- An SSL certificate is necessary because it ensures the secure transfer of information, such as credit card numbers, personal data, and contacts.
Phishing and SMiShing are especially prevalent
Phishing and SMSiShing use email and text messages that trick people into clicking on malicious links, respectively.
It’s important that people be aware of common phishing techniques since more than 90% of cyberattacks start with a phishing email
Most phishing and social media scams are fairly easy to spot if you know what to watch out for.
- Messages often convey a sense of urgency, but not always. They may claim that you need to pay attention to your online banking account or that you have to confirm your login information.
- Some phishing emails may contain spelling mistakes and bad grammar.
- The message will likely come from an unknown sender, but the email address may resemble one from a legitimate company.
- More sophisticated phishing attempts can imitate or masquerade themselves as legitimate addresses or come from the email addresses or phone numbers of contacts whose devices have been compromised.
- You might receive messages or comments with links to malicious websites from fake social media accounts, or even from friends whose social media accounts were hacked.
Reduce risks by following a few simple rules
You can reduce your risks of having your information stolen if you always think before sharing something online. Ask yourself whether a link or email is safe to open, and consider whether you’re using a safety device and network for certain online activities such as shopping or accessing an online banking portal.
Don’t respond to unsolicited emails, texts, or phone messages directing you to websites or requesting confidential information like passwords or social security numbers. Instead of contacting your bank, social media sites, etc., by phone number or link you know to be good, verify whether the information is actually required.
Strong passwords are an important way of protecting your devices, online accounts, and personal information. Use long passwords, don’t use common phrases, and change them frequently. If two-factor authentication is available, enable it.
Another rule to follow when using social media is to avoid sharing too much personal information. It’s very easy for someone to reveal your location on Facebook or share information that could be used to open an account, including your birthday or answer to security questions such as your pet’s name or a high school you attended. Keep your social media accounts private and avoid sharing any personal details.
Make sure to follow these online safety tips to protect yourself from malware and phishing scams.
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