How to Prevent Cyber Attacks: 7 Ways to Protect Yourself
You might think that cybercrime will never happen to you. But you can never be too careful in today’s world.
There were 4.5 billion records stolen in the first six months of 2018. Nobody is immune to having their data compromised.
Do you want to learn more about how to prevent cyber attacks? Keep reading to learn seven ways you can keep yourself safe online.
1. Run Antivirus on Your Computer
Your computer is one of the most vulnerable pieces of hardware you have in your home. Every unknown site you visit has the potential to be run by shady people who try to install virus software on your computer. You need a way to watch for these files and protect yourself.
Anti-virus and anti-malware software will do this for you. Once you install this software on your computer, it will monitor every file on it and every file you download. If it sees anything suspicious, it will quarantine it and let you know there was a problem.
You can go through your quarantine when this happens to decide what to do. You can delete the file or restore it to your computer.
2. Keep Your Software Updated
Even if the software you use is secure now, that doesn’t mean it will stay secure in the future. Businesses find new security issues all the time. There isn’t one piece of software that’s immune to being compromised.
The good news is that software companies put a lot of work into monitoring for security issues and fixing them when they come up. When a company discovers a new security vulnerability, it usually only takes a few days for a new update to come out that fixes it.
But that also means you need to keep watch for software updates. Make sure that you never ignore an update message that pops up on your screen. Update your software as soon as you see that message.
3. Use Strong Passwords
Your password is the gateway to your life online. You do yourself a disservice when you use one that is easy to guess.
Your password should have a minimum of eight characters, one capital letter, one lower-case letter, and one special character. Ideally, it should be random. If you use a word that is relevant to your life, it makes it easier to guess.
The next thing to watch for is reusing passwords. If one of your passwords does get compromised, every account associated with that password is at risk.
If you don’t want to remember a password for each of your accounts, download a password manager. It will generate secure passwords for your accounts and save them for you. When you go to log into a site, it will automatically fill in the login form, so you don’t have to.
4. Enable Two-Factor Authentication
A hacker can still compromise your account when you use a strong password. This is where two-factor authentication comes into play.
Two-factor authentication provides you a secondary code to enter after authenticating your password. You can get this code by email, text message, or an authenticator application on your phone.
Even if someone manages to steal your password, they won’t be able to access your accounts without the device you use to receive your authentication code.
5. Be Careful on Public Wi-Fi
The internet is available almost everywhere. All you need to do is go into a public store and connect to their Wi-Fi. But this can get you into trouble if you don’t watch what you connect to.
Many attackers use a man-in-the-middle-attack. These attacks work by disguising a Wi-Fi access point to appear like a store’s Wi-Fi. When you connect to these networks, an attacker will be able to monitor all your internet traffic.
To counter this, use a VPN when connecting to public Wi-Fi. A VPN will encrypt all your internet traffic. Even if someone is snooping, they won’t be able to decrypt your internet traffic.
6. Be Careful Who You Give Information To
Even the best protection from cybersecurity threats can’t always protect you from yourself. Unfortunately, many people fall victim to cybercrime because they gave information to someone they shouldn’t have.
Make sure to be careful if you get a call from someone claiming to represent a company you have accounts with. If they want you to give sensitive information to them, hang up. You can call back on the main company line.
They can tell you if someone from their company did call you. If they didn’t, you just avoided having your identity compromised.
The same thing applies to emails. Many hackers will disguise their emails to make it look like they are from a real company. When you click on a link to fill out a form, you’ll land on their web server. Anything information you enter on their server will be stolen.
If an email wants you to reset your password or provide any other information, go to the site in question directly to do what needs to be done.
7. Monitor Your Credit Report
Even with the best security in the world won’t be able to stop all cyber attacks. In cases like these, it pays to monitor the parts of your life that are affected by identity theft.
The biggest one for individuals is their credit report. With this, you’ll be able to see any new accounts that are opened in your name. If you see something suspicious, you can call the credit agencies and request a freeze on new accounts.
Doing this will give you time to figure out what happened and close the accounts that the hacker opened. Make sure not to take too long to get things fixed. Your credit can take a hit if an attacker is reckless with your identity.
Now You Know How to Prevent Cyber Attacks
You should have a better idea now about how to prevent cyber attacks. But the prevention tips above are only the start. Make sure you keep up with the news so you can stay aware of the new threats that are happening every day.
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