Whether you own a small business, work for a large corporation, or simply keep digital records at home, your computer is a crucial place for storing data you need. Unfortunately, this information isn’t always safe from prying eyes, even tucked away inside your password-protected hard drive.
In fact, over the past five years, the number of reported security breaches have increased by a staggering 67 percent. With ransomware attacks occurring every 14 seconds in 2019 and doing billions of dollars worth of damage, it’s time to tighten security. Follow these cybersecurity tips to keep your computer safe and secure against the rising world of cybercrime in 2020.
Manage Your Passwords Wisely
Using a weak password is like handing your banking security information straight over to those trying to steal from you. Creating a strong, hard-to-crack password that’s memorable can be a challenge, but it’s quite possibly easier than you think. You don’t need a wild, random assortment of numbers, letters, and symbols to keep the hackers at bay — just a few tips:
- Use a password that you’ll remember, the more characters the more secure
- Don’t use predictable keyboard paths (such as “qwerty” or “12345”)
- Use a variety of character types, including at least one lowercase letter, one uppercase letter, a number and special characters.
Furthermore, you’ll never want to use a password anywhere twice, and you’ll want to change your passwords at least once per 90 days.
Learn About Phishing Scams and How to Avoid Them
Phishing scams are so successful that people reported losing up to 30 million dollars to these crimes in a single year. This is because they can be hard to spot, especially for those who don’t know what to look for. In light of their success in recent years, these crimes are becoming more elaborate, and learning to identify them is more important than ever — especially since cybercriminals can now mimic the look and tone of emails from actual companies you’re familiar with. Here are some ways you can protect yourself:
- Never click on a suspicious link
- Do not open an email from a sender you do not know
- Always inspect emails — keep an eye out for spelling errors and blatant typos
- Continue to inspect links, even those sent by friends — they can be hacked too
Keep in mind that these threats don’t only come in the form of email, either. They can come as calls and flyers, and all of them are aimed at gathering your personal information for malicious purposes.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi hotspots are yet another space where cybercriminals reign supreme. These networks tend to be un-secure, and those with the know-how can view any information you’re dealing with while connected. If you must use public Wi-Fi, always use either a VPN or, if that’s not possible, use the data on your mobile device to access the information you need.
Keep Your Mobile Devices Secure
Just like computers, mobile devices have their vulnerabilities, and hackers are learning how to exploit those weaknesses with each passing day. However, using your device responsibly can keep it more secure. Here are some ways to do that:
- Use a secure password or PIN
- Install new updates ASAP
- Only use apps from trusted developers
- Keep personal information out of text messages