With a rise in the digital footprint of today’s era, several data compliance laws have been created, such as CCPA and GDPR. They give a legal right to data subjects to know and control their personal data, which is stored and processed by the entities. That’s why most companies use robust tools to ensure efficient data compliance and execute a data erasure request in a cinch. Moreover, privacy engineering has also become an integral part of the system to protect their customers’ confidential data.
However, this doesn’t mean that you are free to compromise your online presence by being irresponsible, as it can have an adverse impact on you personally and financially. It’s imperative to acknowledge the fact that being cautious in the online world can help keep you safe.
Therefore, this article will explain the basics of cybersecurity and its importance and some tips to keep you safe on the internet. Read below!
What Is Cybersecurity and Why Is It Important?
Cybersecurity, in simple terms, is internet safety, prevents your online data from being misused, and also restricts unauthorized access to it.
Now, to keep your personal and financial information safe on the internet, you can use tools and software and implement basic everyday practices and tips.
Internet safety is important because your confidential personal and financial data can end up in the hands of cybercriminals who can misuse it to their own advantage and at your loss.
They can also gain unauthorized access to your device and even damage your system. The most prevalent cyber threats are:
- Online scams
- Inappropriate content
- Identity theft
7 Tips to Stay Safe Online
Now that you’re aware of the cyber risks and the importance of staying safe on the internet, here are some essential tips to protect you from falling victim to online scams, viruses, and threats.
#1. Be Cautious With the Use of Public Wi-Fi
Although public Wi-Fi brings quite a convenience to you, it’s imperative that you remain cautious while using it.
Public internet connections are open to anyone (of course, including the hackers). You shouldn’t make an online payment or engage in any other activity that requires you to input your personal or financial information.
This will pave the way for cybercriminals to get hold of your confidential data, and they can easily misuse it.
Therefore, if it’s extremely important and urgent for you to engage in such activity with a public internet connection, you must use a VPN (Virtual Private Network).
A VPN will mask your IP address, and you will be able to use the public internet just like a private one.
#2. Create Strong and Unique Passwords
Many people are “sluggish” to create complex and unique passwords. However, it comes at the expense of your sensitive personal information.
It’s pretty easy to crack a password that contains less than 10 characters, and this can be usually done by hackers within an hour.
On the other hand, creating a strong password that contains at least 12 characters makes it extremely hard for them to gain access to your accounts.
That’s why it’s vital that you set passwords with a mix of lower-case and upper-case letters, special characters, and numbers.
Keeping the same password across all your accounts will be like hitting a jackpot for cyber perpetrators. With just one password, they can access all your accounts.
Assuming you certainly don’t want that, you should create a unique password for all your accounts, and it must not be easy to guess like your date of birth, name, hometown, etc.
#3. Don’t Click on Suspicious Links
Whether it’s a suspicious email attachment, a link from an unknown sender with an offer that looks too good to be true, or a website link from your friend for rewards, you must be able to recognize that it’s malware, and you shouldn’t click (or download) it.
Clicking on these links will install the virus on your computer, destroy your crucial data, and even steal information.
In case you click on such links or download a malicious app, you should immediately delete it, disconnect your device, and change your credentials for safety purposes.
#4. Automate Your Software Updates
Most of us are guilty of ignoring software update notifications as if they don’t even exist. While we put off these important software updates, cyber intruders are getting one step closer to gaining unauthorized access to our personal data.
Developers work on these updates to detect and fix bugs or errors in the software. Whether it’s your computer or smartphone, make sure you immediately update the software for better performance and security of your devices.
Also, you can always allow your electronic devices to automatically update.
#5. Install an Antivirus Software
You can easily get your hands on antivirus software and install it on your computer to keep your online presence safe and sound.
Most antivirus software provides efficient solutions like cloud backup, firewall protection, dark web monitoring, etc. All of this helps you in defending your personal information on your device.
Remember that it’s equally important not to ignore the antivirus software updates for optimum performance.
#6. Assess a Website’s Reliability
As online shopping is becoming widespread, it’s easy to fall prey to online scams as well. Some unauthorized websites may gain access to your debit or card/cards along with personal information while you may think you’re confirming your order.
However, you can stay safe by confirming the authenticity of the website you’re about to shop from. You should only shop from a website that contains a padlock on the left side of the website address, or when the website address contains HTTPS at the start.
#7. Use Two-Factor Authentication
Let’s say, even if a hacker gets access to the main password of your account, having two-factor authentication enabled will work as an additional layer of protection.
A passcode will be sent to your smartphone that the hacker would have to enter, and they won’t be able to log into your account.
However, you will get notified that someone is trying to get into your account, so you can quickly change your passwords.
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