Important Tips for Cyber Security and Online Protection. Consumers, companies and even governments have been combatting increasingly brazen and sophisticated cyber attacks. Many of the attacks have involved sabotaging systems and stealing data, including personal identity theft. With computer hacking incidents increasing, cybersecurity has become a top concern and among the leading growth areas in technology. You’ve probably heard the adage “information is power, ” and that is certainly true when it comes to cybercrime. Access to your personal information is what gives hackers the power to tap into your accounts and steal your money or your identity. But the right information can also empower you to protect yourself from being caught up in the thriving industry that is cybercrime. With that in mind, here are some steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime.
Important Tips – Social Media Behavior
Consider your social media behavior carefully. Scam artists are more adept at using personal information on social media to crack your security codes and gain access to other accounts. Breaches from social media have soared over the past few years. To ensure your social media accounts don’t become a goldmine for hackers, limit access to an inner circle of family and friends, never share personal information with people you meet online and don’t include birth dates, e-mail addresses, pet names that double as passwords or other details hackers might find useful. Watch what you’re sharing on social networks. Criminals can befriend you and easily gain access to a shocking amount of information ̶ where you go to school, where you work, when you’re on vacation ̶ that could help them gain access to more valuable data.
Important Tips – Emails & the Web
Never click on e-mail requests to update personal information. Institutions typically initiate such requests after you log into your account, not through e-mail. In e-mails and on the Web, look closely at URLs, even if they contain names of reputable financial institutions you do business with. A common trick is combining the name of a legitimate Web site with a fake one (often in a pattern such as legitimate.ourfakewebsite.com). These URLs lead to a copycat site-often one that looks legit but that identity thieves control. Or, the address is real, but when you click on the link, it brings you to a different site. Beef-up passwords. Don’t use the same password for different accounts. Choose passwords with unusual characters, numbers and spaces. As an added precaution, fill in security questions with fictional, easy-to-remember answers, rather than facts that could reveal your digital identity.
Never leave your devices unattended. Take your tablet or phone with you. If you need to leave your computer for any length of time – no matter how short – lock it up so no one can use it while you’re gone. If you keep sensitive information on a flash drive or external hard drive, make sure to lock it up as well. Sensitive browsing, such as banking or shopping, should be done only on a device that belongs to you, on a network that you trust. Whether it’s a friend’s phone, a public computer or a cafe’s free WiFi – your data could be copied or stolen. Realize that you are an attractive target to hackers. Don’t ever say “it won’t happen to me.”