Protecting your data from cybersecurity threats

Evan Crosby

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Securing your digital data is now more important than ever before, as cybersecurity threats like data breaches, identity theft crimes, ransomware attacks, and malware and virus infections are on the rise. Unfortunately, victims of data loss and identity theft can spend a great deal of time and money trying to recover their lost data and stolen identity. Remember, any device (computer/laptop/tablet/smartphone) is vulnerable to a potential cyberattack.

Therefore, you must take proactive steps to secure your data and identity before you become the victim of a costly cyberattack.

Step 1: Install internet security software on all of your devices

In order to protect yourself from the latest cybersecurity threats, all of your computing devices should have the most advanced and up-to-date internet security software that should include the following:

  • Antivirus and malware protection
  • Email scanning
  • Safe web browsing functions
  • File scanning
  • Firewall

You don’t want to cut corners when it comes to internet security software. Make sure that you have a program that includes all of these critical cybersecurity features. Furthermore, you need to run updates daily to ensure that you have the latest antivirus protection. You should also run a scan each day before shutting off your device(s). Make sure that your smartphone has cybersecurity software installed on it as well. If it doesn’t, download a mobile internet security app or contact your cellular provider about getting cybersecurity protection.  

Step 2. Secure your online accounts to prevent unauthorized access

Password management is another important step in protecting yourself online. You need to take the time to create strong passwords for your online accounts. Never use the same password for more than one online account. Also, you should make it a practice to change your passwords every so often. If your online accounts offer two-factor  authentication, you should definitely use it. Two-factor authentication works by texting or emailing you a code to enter upon successfully entering your password. Basically, it’s a second layer of defense to prevent unauthorized access to your account. That way, if hackers get your password, they will be unable to get access to your account without the security code. Many financial institutions use multi-factor authentication for online accounts. While it might feel like a pain to use, it can help safeguard your data.

Step 3. Maintain vigilance when using social media

Social media accounts have become another opportunity for data theft. Hackers often create fake social media posts which contain links that can steal your login data or even contain viruses. Sometimes hackers can steal your account passwords and start sending your friends/followers spam messages. Do not click on posts that contain (likely) spam content. If you notice anything unusual about your account or you believe that someone else might have gained access to it, change your password immediately

Step 4. Secure your wireless network connections

Be careful when using wireless internet connections. Hackers can easily steal data that travels over a wireless network. That means your payment information could be stolen as well as login information for online accounts. Only use websites that have HTTPS and SSL (security protocols), so your data will stay secure between your device and the web server. Also, if you must use a public wireless internet connection, look into purchasing a VPN to encrypt your web data. Remember, smartphones are vulnerable to hacking as well. Therefore, you should research information about keeping your smartphone secure too.

Step 5. Always use good common sense online

Finally, one of the best ways to protect your digital data is to use common sense. For example, never open an email from a stranger, because it could be a phishing scam. Instead, mark the email as spam and hit the delete button. Most internet security programs will alert you if a website you land on looks vulnerable. Take these warnings seriously and leave the website immediately. You should scan files and email attachments with your antivirus software before downloading them. Be sure to keep your antivirus software updated, and install the latest Windows security patches to protect you from the latest threats.

In short, protecting your digital data is crucial. Stolen data, identity theft, ransom attacks, and virus and malware infections are costly. However, you can protect your data and identity by installing the latest internet security software on all of your devices. Furthermore, you should secure your online accounts to prevent unauthorized access by creating strong passwords, as well as enabling two-factor authentication whenever it’s available. If you are one of the billions of social media users, then you need to be vigilant against cybersecurity threats that you can encounter on social media platforms. You can also secure your wireless network(s) by encrypting your web data with a VPN. Above all, use common sense when using the internet.

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