What comes to your mind when you hear the word “cybersecurity”?
Well if you are like me then ‘hacking’ is the word and who wants to be hacked? NOT ME! And I can bet you wouldn’t either.
Cyber security is like the lock we need to lock our house from any unwanted guests. Cybersecurity deals with the security needed to safeguard everything which is connected to the internet this includes Data, Hardware, and Software.
Hardware can be your phone, your laptop, your smartwatch, your dongle etc, Software is instructions, data or programs which carry out specific instructions on a computer, it tells the hardware what to do and Data is information you are sharing or receiving.
A cybersecurity threat is a malicious act that seeks to damage data, steal our data, or even disrupt digital life. It is very important to safeguard your data, you might ask why should I well would you be okay with a stranger having access to your credit card details, a stranger knowing everything about your life, who you are talking to, what time you are having meetings, etc if your answer is NO that’s great because you and I can do something to protect ourselves from data breaches here are 6 Good cyber practices every individual should do. Look at this as you locking your house and carrying the keys with you.
6 Cyber Security Best Practices For An Individual
- Avoid Connecting To A Public Wi-Fi
Many of us get excited when we find free Wi-fi right, it’s convenient and keeps us connected. Unfortunately, free Wi-fi is not secure, hackers have taken advantage of unsuspecting individuals by injecting their devices with malware or a virus. A hacker can position themselves between you and the connection point. So instead of you communicating directly with the hotspot, you’re sending your information to the hacker, who then relays it to the man in the middle. Hackers can also fake their identity let’s say you are at a cafe and you want to connect to the Wi-Fi, a hacker can spoof the hotspot by having a hotspot name after that cafe. It’s difficult to pay attention to typos hence we normally just connect to what seems to be the right one. By virtue of your connecting to this wrong hotspot, you may have given the hacker access to your information.
2) Use A Strong Password
Remembering passwords can be daunting and frustrating especially if you have many accounts but that should never cause you to choose a weak password or the same password for all accounts you have. Avoid using common words, Avoid using dictionary words, Avoid using your name and please avoid using short passwords.
An example of a strong password is a password with over 8 characters but less than 14, a password with special characters such as *&%^, A-Z/a-z combinations, and the use of passphrases.
3) Do Not Click Unverified Links
Scammers are preying on people’s longing for extra income so they use links promising to make money easily. They try to trick the user into clicking on the link and visiting the malicious site. With just a click of a button, attackers can use different tools to send phishing emails and spam SMS messages these can contain different types of malware.
4) Always Keep Your Software Updated
Software updates help keep one’s device up-to-date with the latest software patches this reduces the risk of being hacked because the software providers would have patched up known loopholes. If a hacker gets access to your personal information through a loophole in the software, they can sell that information to parties interested or even use it themselves to gain an advantage. Updating software improves our data security.
5) Don’t Use Websites Without HTTPS.
HTTPS stands for ‘hypertext transfer protocol secure’. It uses encryption to offer a secure connection, unlike HTTP which isn’t secure. HTTP doesn’t use encryption hence leaving data vulnerable. When you click a link for example https://www.freecodecamp.org this is a secure link because of the presence of the s in HTTPS, but if you find a website like HTTP://www.rontzlove.org this is not a secure website, meaning information that is being transferred between the source and the destination can easily be accessed by unauthorized person’s.
6) Always Switch Off Your Bluetooth
Leaving your Bluetooth on means someone can mask themselves by faking their identity with one of your previous connections leading to your data and theirs being vulnerable, leaving your Bluetooth on can also leave it vulnerable to attackers who might install malware for different reasons one being to monitor other devices activities hence acting like a spy or surveillance.
With technology evolving at a very fast pace we need to not slag behind, and be very informed.
Being cyber smart is not a job for tech people alone, it also begins with you.