Whether you’re running a business or just trying to have a normal life in 2023, you need to understand cybersecurity concerns. After all, you’re putting your personal information online and using tools susceptible to flaws, mistakes, data loss, and worse. While the platforms in question are doing their best to protect you, your safety is, at the of the day, your responsibility. Here are the top eight such concerns, as well as a few tips on how to handle them
The most common online thread is phishing attacks. This type of online scam gives you a scenario where a scammer impersonates someone you should trust. They make a website and a link that looks genuine and send you a genuine-looking email.
The problem is that most people automatically assume that this is as subtle as the “Nigerian Prince” scam, which couldn’t be further from the truth. These often look so authentic that even someone experienced would be tricked.
To avoid it, you should:
- Read more on the subject matter
- Use antivirus (it can block a phishing attack when it recognizes one)
- Carefully read the link before clicking on it
- Don’t click on the links in unsolicited emails
- Go directly to the site instead of following the link you’ve received in an email
These few methods will make you much more resilient to phishing attacks.
The last thing you want is for people online to figure out your IP since this way, they can figure out your real-life address. This is problematic for many reasons. First, you don’t want some online psycho to know where you live. After all, people have been assaulted and swatted over online arguments.
The simplest way to avoid this would be to start using VPN. There are a lot of amazing free VPNs out there, but if you’re spending a lot of time online, working online, and generally have a reason to fear for your safety, even paying for a premium VPN service is not that bad of an idea.
Remember that VPNs can be used for more than hiding your location. Avoiding geo-restrictions can be just as useful.
Now, losing your devices is horrible, especially since you have so much personal data. Chances are that if someone steals your device and figures out your unlocking pattern (which is not that hard for most people), they can just hijack most of your apps.
You’re probably already logged into your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., while your gallery and other platforms are unlocked by default. In other words, your entire life and privacy are exposed to someone you don’t know.
Every phone has a tracking feature via your account, but if you’re going to an area renowned for pickpocketing (like Barcelona), it might be better to take an extra step. You want to install a GPS tracking platform on your phone. Tracking a device via this software can help you find it more easily.
Malware is malicious software that infiltrates your device, compromises your security, occupies your computing power, steals your data and personal info, and causes a wide array of trouble. The best way to stay safe from malware is to educate yourself on the subject matter and start using antivirus.
Just be suspicious of unsolicited links and think twice every time you’re about to download something you’re unsure of its origin. Also, if your software is not updated, you’re more at risk than if it were. You must schedule your updates regularly and let the software update.
When making downloads, make sure that the sources are official. This is relatively easy to check, and double-checking won’t take more than a few seconds.
If you have a weak password, it’s easy for anyone to infiltrate your accounts. What is a weak password? Well, there are a few things that categorize a weak password, and here are some of them:
- Generic password: You would be surprised how many people use passwords like “Password1” or something similar. This gets cracked so easily.
- Something meaningful: Picking your anniversary or your pet’s name for your password is something that anyone with access to the internet will be able to figure out.
- Lack of numbers, capitalizations, and symbols: You want a password containing as many symbols as possible. Numbers, capitalization, and randomization, in general, are advised.
- Keyboard sequences: Some people use keyboard sequences (qwerty, asdfg, etc.) out of laziness. This is one of the first things that hackers will try.
You need to learn how to make a stronger password even when this is not required.
In an era where we’re keeping all the sensitive information on the cloud, keeping track of proper cloud security is getting harder and harder. Sure, you think your boss is on your back now, but what will happen when you lose a sensitive document because of compromised cloud security?
The solution to this problem starts with choosing a trusted cloud provider. These providers have a reputation, which is the first thing you should check.
Then, make sure you develop a strong password (something we’ve already covered) and also pick the option of MFA (multi-factor authentication). This way, you get an extra layer of protection beyond a password and a chance to stop a fairly successful breach.
Also, keep in mind that it’s not always the cloud. If the network and the device you’re using are compromised, there won’t be much you can do about it.
Don’t give anyone your device! This is a huge mistake that you could be making. All it takes is for someone to install a keylogger on your device. This means they’ll see everything you type, including passwords and messages.
For the same reason, you want to avoid using other people’s devices. They may have a keylogger on their device and then politely lend you their phone so that you can log into your email (so that you can check it for work).
Using another person’s phone is saying your password aloud in a crowd. Does it have to end in a disaster? Of course not. Still, there’s a possibility of things escalating in this direction.
A data breach will cause you both professional and personal harm. This is the most important reason you must avoid it like the plague. Namely, stolen information can come in many shapes and forms. Stealing your name and address is bad, but it’s not nearly as bad as someone getting a hold of your SSN or financial details. These are the scenarios where they could either rob you blind or commit fraud in your name.
You must be ready to respond quickly whenever you suspect a data breach. Your immediate response should be one of containment and isolation. You must also alert authorities, commit an investigation, and contact the authorities (be it the police or your credit card company).
When you consider the amount of trouble that you could land in when someone figures out how to infiltrate your accounts (or take them over), it’s clear that, in 2023, staying safe is a survival skill. Since there’s no going back and you’re not going offline, mastering some of these skills is probably the most responsible thing you can do.