Cybercrime can strike any time and any place online. From cyber-stalking, to security breaches, to identity theft, there are a variety of threats you need to protect against. Here are some precautions to help keep cyber-criminals at bay.
Keep Your Software Updated
Out-of-date software is highly vulnerable to data breaches. Cybercriminals will always try to gain access to your system by using known flaws in your software. The longer an app goes without an update, the longer a hacker has to figure out a way in. Computer and software companies often update to protect against these cyberattacks, but in order to ensure those updates apply to your apps and operating systems you’ll need to activate “automatic updates” or schedule a periodic check to see if there are any recent revisions. Make sure you also scan your system for viruses and malware with your internet security software to stay current on your protection.
Lock Down Your Social Media Settings
Cybercriminals will try and find a way to access your accounts by browsing your personal information. The less information you share about yourself publicly, the harder it is for a hacker to find a way to infiltrate your life.
When using social media consider:
Your Privacy Settings: The default privacy settings on many social media websites may distribute information to more people than you want. Always check the default privacy settings and make sure to modify them to keep information private.
Your Biography: It’s a good idea to limit the information you make available to other social media users. Customize your privacy settings to minimize the amount of biographical information visible to the public.
Your Friends and Contacts: Use discretion when adding friends or contacts on a social media site. Deny membership requests from most service providers to prevent them from acquiring more information about you and disseminating it to a wider audience.
Use Internet Security for Your Computer
A digital security service can provide real-time protection against hackers looking to infect your computer and spy on you. Spyware, malware and other malicious programs can steal your personal information, such as passwords, credit card numbers, addresses, and social security numbers. Good internet security has the ability to safeguard your identity by preventing current and emerging malware and viruses.
Secure Your Accounts with Strong Passwords
To properly secure your login information for websites, you’ll need to use unique passwords for each site. Yes, it’s a pain to try and remember all your passwords, but getting hacked would definitely be a lot more painful. Add numbers, punctuation or symbols to make your passwords more complex. The longer your password the harder it is to steal, so consider something in the 10-14 character range. Always change any default passwords that come with your WiFi router or with any online accounts you create. If you have a hard time remembering passwords, try downloading a password management program to help you create secure logins and remember them.
Back Up and Encrypt Your Important Data
Encrypting any important data that’s stored on your computer or smartphone, such as medical records, photos and tax information, to make it harder for hackers to access. Encryption simply involves installing software or changing system settings. Having a backup of your files is also a good idea to prevent their loss. Invest in an external hard drive and/or a cloud storage system to make copies of all your electronic files you need.