Forbes estimated that 4.1 billion records were exposed as a result of data breaches in the first half of 2019 alone. About 62% of business owners reported that they have experienced security attacks. The risk is so high that the World Economic Forum listed cyber-attacks among the top five risks to global stability. From a business point of view, security breaches can wreak havoc to its reputation, besides the financial damages and loss of sensitive data. Whether you are just a normal user browsing the web or a company doing business online, protecting your online privacy should be among the top concerns. Here we will look at 7 practical steps you can take to secure your system against cyber hackers.
1. Use Secure Passwords
Many people use the same password across multiple sites. That makes them extremely vulnerable to cyber hackers. The hackers don’t need to directly attack the person to gain access to his account. They may hack into one of his social network sites, extract data from the database and get his login details. Once they have that, they will try that login with multiple sites. If a user uses the same password for multiple sites, he will get all his online accounts exposed.
To protect yourself against this type of data breach, use a smart password management tool to manage all your passwords. You should be using a different, hard-to-guess password for each site.
2. Apply Any Available Updates
Outdated operating systems and apps are the most vulnerable attack points. Secure your system by keeping your OS updated with the latest security patches and installing the latest versions of any apps you are using. Hackers will have a harder time getting to you if you take your IT security seriously.
3. Use Antivirus Software
Many people have an antivirus installed on their computers but not their phones. This is a mistake when it comes to online privacy. It’s estimated that about 62% access the internet using their phone. Data protection involves implementing adequate security measures for all of your devices.
4. Protect Your Sensitive Data
Social security numbers, dates of birth, mother’s maiden names, and bank account details are some of the most sensitive pieces of information that you shouldn’t give away to untrusted websites. If we are talking about a business, protecting company data is critical to that business’s long-term success. Consumers will stop trusting a business once a security breach occurs, so don’t put your company’s reputation at risk by neglecting important security measures.
5. Use a VPN to Protect Your Online Privacy
Your IP address online is the equivalent of your physical home address in the real world. Hackers can specifically target you once they know your IP. To protect your privacy, consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). All the connections to and from your device will be routed through a secure, encrypted tunnel that makes it extremely difficult for a third party to infiltrate to access the data.
6. Use HTTPS Links for Extra IT Security
Not many years ago, most websites still used HTTP as a standard protocol for transmitting data. However, the problem with HTTP is that it’s an open, unsecured protocol where attackers can easily eavesdrop on the connection and extract sensitive information by intercepting it. Due to this weakness, HTTP has been gradually replaced by HTTPS which is a secured, encrypted protocol that protects you from the aforementioned risk. Even if the website doesn’t have an HTTPS protocol, you can install HTTPS everywhere, a browser extension, to protect your online privacy.
7. Beware of Phishing Attacks
Avanan estimated that 1 in every 99 emails is a phishing attack. The attacker tricks the user into clicking on some normal-looking links that in fact, contain malicious code that steals your personal information or surreptitiously installs malware on your system. Fraudulent emails are becoming more and more difficult to spot. Protect yourself by installing state-of-the-art cybersecurity software that is capable of scanning your emails. Inspect emails coming from unknown sources carefully before clicking on any links.
IT security should be among your top concerns, whether you are a normal user or a business. Now that you know the necessary information, we hope you’ll take the advice to better protect your online privacy. If you’d like to consult an IT expert about your company security, contact us to set up a call with our team.