With the plethora of devices that we're using on a daily basis, it's not unusual that we'd leave private, sensitive information on some or all of them. It doesn't matter if you're using your device for work or leisure, the risks are still real, especially since you're using passwords to log in to your accounts and user profiles across devices and platforms. As the digital world is now an integral part of daily life, from the time we wake up in the morning until we get some rest at the end of the day, digital and cybersecurity become a pressing concern.
Our 10 most important cybersecurity tips will prove helpful to keep you and your devices safe from cyber threats. It's a good idea to try to turn these into habits so that they become second-nature while using digital devices.
We're All Targets
Hackers look for soft targets first. Most threats, both in the digital and real-world tend to do so. The worst thing that you can do is convince yourself that hackers won't bother attempting to hack any of your devices or accounts. Always be on the alert and never believe that it won't ever happen to you. It's that kind of attitude that will leave you vulnerable from not taking the necessary, basic precautions to keep your devices safe.
Phishing Scams Can Sound Very Convincing
Always be on the alert about phishing scams. This ranges from suspicious emails, flyers, and even phone calls. As more and more people are becoming more aware that no one has really picked them to win a million dollars, phishing scams are getting more creative and more devious. It's no surprise that the threat will evolve as users do. As a basic rule, don't open emails from people you don't know and don't agree to any deals or transactions from unknown numbers on the other end of the phone line. If you need to be sure about unknown callers and you need to find out more, plugging the number into Nuwber can help you out by providing more information about the person you spoke to. It's a good idea to inspect links before you click them, too, making sure that they don't take you to a URL that appears suspicious. Even people you know can send you malicious links – they might not even be aware that they've done so!
Be Aware of How You Manage Your Passwords
Good password management is essential! You've got many accounts and you've got a lot of passwords – it's just something we can't get away from in the world we live in today! Try not to take shortcuts, though – using the same password for every social account or video streaming account can be detrimental. If one of your accounts has been hacked, it becomes a lot easier for a hacker to get into any of your other accounts. Use a password management program and keep your passwords long, using a mix of characters. It goes without saying that you shouldn't share your password, either!
Bank and Shop Online Only on Secure Networks
The reality of the situation is that public WiFi networks are not as safe as you might think. With anyone able to use the same network that you connect to, make sure that you keep your browsing light – don't do anything like online banking and online shopping on a WiFi network that you don't trust! It's really easy for your banking login details or credit card details to be copied while you're connected to a network that's not secure.
Unfriendly Friend Requests
It's becoming increasingly important to stay aware on social media. Do you know who follows you? Do you know who has seen where you've just checked into or when you're on holiday? Receiving friend or follow requests can be exciting, but you've got to be on alert, especially if you're not familiar with the person or the account. Check up on who your mutual friends are to give you an idea of who the request is from. Suspicious accounts often come with suspicious intentions. As a rule, don't trust any Facebook friend of Instagram follower unless you know them in person.
Stay Safe with an Antivirus
Do your research into what's best for you and your devices needs and use antivirus software across your devices. Yes, even your mobile phone and tablets. Usually, a paid antivirus is better than a free one and many subscriptions allow you to keep multiple devices protected.
Update Your System Software
Sometimes you're just lazy or sometimes you think that your computer, tablet, or phone are working fine so you neglect to update their software. The fact that they're working smoothly does not mean that they're at lower risk of attack from hackers or malware. The older your system software, the more vulnerable your device is. That system update will patch weak spots on your device.
Keep Your Laptop Physically Safe
It's not only the digital and software side of safety that you need to look out for! Keep in mind that anyone can use your phone, laptop, or tablet if you just leave it lying around – especially if it's not password protected. We usually keep logged into our accounts on our mobile phones, for example, so allowing anyone accesses into your phone is unwise. To point out another obvious fact, keeping your devices safe can prevent them from being stolen. Keep it tight!
Tidy Up Your Device
Just like you'd do with your room (we hope), clean up your mobile phone and tablet! Check regularly on the apps that you've downloaded and are still on your phone. If you haven't opened or used an app in the last 6 months, hit the delete button. It keeps your phone running better and leaves you less vulnerable, as older apps make easier targets for hackers.
Stay Paranoid – Within Limit
A level of paranoia is healthy in the cyber, or digital, world. Staying in the know with regards to online (and offline) threats will keep you on your toes. It fortifies your mindset in dealing with other individuals online and allows you to stay ahead of the game. Stay away from anything that looks or sounds fishy (or phishy) and keep your private details and data to yourself.