Our TOP Tips to Keep your Information Safe

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June 10, 2020

When you hear the word “cybersecurity”, what comes to your mind? You would think of a hacker stealing someone else’s information and using it to get into their bank account, or a company or organization’s computer being rendered unusable by malicious software, or you may think of an IT department at a bank trying to keep personal information safe from people who would steal it.

The risk and importance of cybersecurity is on the rise now than ever, since our society is getting more and more technologically reliant. Personal information that can be used by hackers and lead to identity theft is now posted on social media accounts, and some of us even keep sensitive information like social security numbers, credit card information, and bank account details in cloud storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive. The truth is whether you’re an individual, small business or a large company, you rely on computer systems every day. 

Cyber attacks can damage you and your business in a lot of ways:

  • Theft of intellectual property and corporate information leading to disruption in trading and other business transactions.
  • The high cost of repairing damaged systems caused by the cyber attack.
  • Use of personal information, identity theft, and use of it for illegal transactions or money laundering.
  • Damage to you and your business reputation leading to loss of customer trust, loss of sales, loss of current and future customers, and loss of profit.
  • Damage to investor and supplier relations.
  • Also, your business or organization could suffer from regulatory fines or sanctions as a result of cybercrimes.

Here are 13 tips that can surely help you and your business fight against cybersecurity:

1. Don’t click on suspicious links

A spam email can be a harmless ad, but it can also be a dangerous link. You might receive an email saying you won a prize and to claim it you need to click on a link. That link may contain malware that could wreak all kinds of lasting havoc on your computer. Be cautious and think before you click. If in doubt, don’t click. 

2. Don’t underestimate the risks

The cybersecurity landscape is continually changing. What was low-risk today could be high-risk tomorrow? Always update your risk security assessments and stay updated on any emerging threats.

3. Patching

Always keep your devices updated to the latest version of the software available. Remember, the majority of updates are security patches. If you are familiar with the infamous “WannaCry” malware, it spread due to devices not being patched.

4. Avoid reusing your passwords

To avoid the need to memorize dozens of passwords, many people resort to reusing the same password on their various accounts. This should be avoided. If a hacker figures out one of your passwords, password reuse will allow them to guess the rest of your passwords.

5. Set your router up securely

For your home and a small office Internet connection, your router is the heart of your network, all of your devices are linked to it. Most people just go through the bare necessities when installing their router or they would keep the default settings pre-configured by the equipment vendor. You should avoid doing this, take the time to set your router up securely, and change all default passwords to unique and complex ones to lessen the chances of getting hacked.

6. Use Two-factor authentication or 2FA

Two-factor authentication (2FA), sometimes known as multi factor authentication (MFA), is a simple way to add an extra layer of security to your accounts. The most common 2FA method used by popular online services is a text message with an authentication code sent to your phone. It is one of the most basic methods. 

7. Be cautious in using public Wi-Fi

Most establishments like bars, cafes, restaurants, and shops offer complimentary Wi-Fi connections. As convenient as this may be, you should be cautious in doing so. An unsecured public Wi-Fi can lead to your private data being stolen or your device being hacked. Using a VPN is a good way to secure your data over these networks.

8. Use a Virtual Private Network or VPN

You can use VPNs to access your home network remotely, limit your ISP from seeing what you are doing, and to browse safely on public Wi-Fi. Depending on what you want to do, there are various types of VPNs you can choose from to protect your communication.

9. Don’t neglect security software

Choose to use reputable security software to protect your data. Firewall and anti-malware programs should be installed as a minimum. 

10. Backup and encryption

Always backup your sensitive data and things you have been working on recently. So that if something happens, you can continue unhindered by the unfortunate loss of your device. The same goes for encryption. Never underestimate the value of having your data encrypted: if you get hacked, the attacker will have a tough time getting to your data. If your device gets stolen, you have an extra layer of security in place before you can remotely wipe it.

For your business or organization make sure to:

  1. Educate all levels of your organization about the risks of social engineering and common social engineering scams like phishing emails and typosquatting.
  2. Invest in tools that limit information loss, monitor your third-party risk and fourth-party vendor risk and continuously scan for data exposure and leak credentials
  3. Use technology to reduce costs like automatically sending out vendor assessment questionnaires as part of an overall cybersecurity risk assessment strategy

 

If you’re not sure how your personal or business cyber security tactics measure up in today’s world, contact us for a free consultation to learn about how you can best protect your systems and information.

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