The rise of internet usage has resulted in millions of interconnected devices with billions of data available on the web. This invariably means those dubious elements such as internet fraudsters and cyber-criminals have been on the rise in recent years. Therefore, to answer the question posed by the topic simply; YES, cyber-security is becoming a problem.
A few months ago, the results of a major survey about cyber-crimes showed that over 70% of top firms have suffered at least two cyber attacks in the past 12 months. Antivirus and internet security companies continually need to upgrade their database with the rates of malware and ransomware increasing exponentially. It is therefore important that we are aware of the risks and implement good practices to improve cybersecurity domestically. This is the focus of this article; if you are ready, here we go.
How to identity Cybersecurity risks
With the ever-evolving nature of cyber-crimes, identifying cybersecurity risks is a major challenge. However, it is essential for you to distinguish between the major forms of cyberattacks. We have compiled some of the most common cyber-attacks that could occur to you online.
- Computer virus attack: This is an attack that involves a virus being sent to your system to steal or destroy your data. There are different forms in which this attack can be sent with the most common one being via email or through downloading a cracked software. In such a case, malware is written within the software and it can cause damage when the program is installed on a system. A hacker can use this medium to steal personal information which can be used to perpetrate identity theft.
- Phishing attacks. This involves the use of an email or a fraudulent website to collect an individual’s information. Cybercriminals clone legitimate websites like Banks or financial institution to make gullible users to input their personal and financial data.
- Phishing emails are also sent randomly with malicious links which lead to fraudulent websites where users data are collected. Sometimes these emails will inform unsuspecting users to download applications infected with malware.
- Ransomware: This is a form of malware that has become popular in recent years with an exponential rise in cases. Ransomware locks infected devices screens and encrypt important data within the device. To recover confidential information, you would be required to pay a ransom usually in cryptocurrencies. This has made Ransomware a major way cybercriminals use in ripping unsuspecting computer users of their hard-earned money.
- Identity theft: This is where hackers use your information for different purposes. Identity theft is a major issue as several people have been duped by people claiming to be family members requesting money.
Cybercriminals can also use such information to conduct money laundering which could implicate the owner of the identity. The risk associated with cybercrime means that you have to regard this with the utmost importance. You need to pay greater attention to how you surf the web and adopt the right tools to improve your security online.
Best Practices to increase cybersecurity
Now that we have identified the major types of cyber-crimes, we have compiled some of the best practices to strengthen your online security.
- Choose strong passwords
You need strong passwords that no one will be able to guess. Even if they try to guess, you will be rest assured that they will always guess wrong. Therefore, make sure your password does not contain your name, birth dates, or popular information about you. Also, you need to ensure that your password is a mix of numbers, symbols, lowercase and uppercase.
- Be careful with the information you share on your social networks
Configure the privacy of each of your accounts so that your information cannot be seen by anyone. Never publish data or images of the area you live, address, and telephone.
- Provide personal data only on trusted sites
It has become a usual practice for many sites to request for people’s information. Before you release any information to any platform, always double-check to ensure that the platform is a trusted one. In addition, you need to understand that websites whose URLs start with HTTP without S are not secure websites. Do not provide your information to such websites at all. And for those that start with HTTPS, you still need to double-check to know the authenticity of the platform.
- Download files only from recognized sites
There are free download websites for programs that deceive users, and when the application is downloaded, malicious content is secretly executed, which destroys or appropriates the stored data. To avoid this situation, browse and only download content from trusted sites.
- Read Privacy Policies
- Don’t trust strangers
One of the main forms of data theft is the sending of files, forms and contact requests through false profiles and accounts. Therefore, it is recommended not to open files with suspicious or unknown origin. Also, you should not accept unknown persons who send you requests on social networks.
- Avoid connecting to public networks
Many hackers use public Wi-Fi as an avenue to perpetrate cyber-crimes and fraud. They basically snoop on unsuspecting users and steal vital information. If you connect to a public network, never enter private data, or access banking services, email, and social networks.
- Close all your sessions and clean the browser
When you finish using your browser, always remember to close your session from email, social networks, messaging, etc. You should also delete recent web pages you and browsing history to prevent others from seeing it.
- Install and update your antivirus
Protect your computer with antivirus programs and firewalls and configure them to update frequently. You can also combine an antivirus with a VPN (Virtual Private Network). That way, you will have an added layer of security on your internet devices.
With the practices listed above, you will be able to achieve optimal results with regard to cybersecurity.