Cyber security is not a joke. In today’s day and age we rely heavily on the use of mobile devices, social media platforms, and technology that requires internet connections. Of all places in the world, North America is a huge target for cyber criminals. Specifically within the United States, cyber attackers have caused more than $100 million dollars’ worth of damage and theft. The worst part of cyber-attacks is that approximately 68% of damages can never be recovered.
It is important to understand that cyber criminals do not discriminate. If there is an opportunity to hijack your information, they will do it. Large corporations usually have dedicated support staff to deflect cyber-attacks and defend company systems, but, normal everyday people don’t have these resources, which make them easy prey. Below are four simple steps to help protect you from cyber threats!
Keep Software Updated
Keeping up with software and system updates is probably one of the easiest, free, and most important things you can do to help keep cyber threats at bay. When your computer or mobile device lets you know that a system update is available, don’t click IGNORE. These updates are usually packed with new security features that correspond with current day threats.
Practice Good Password management
Between all of our devices and social media accounts, password management has become increasingly difficult to deal with. People will usually pick one password to use across all platforms and devices. This is what NOT to do.
Here are some general password tips to keep in mind:
- Use a mix of characters
- Do not share your password or save it on the cloud
- Use longer passwords between 10 and 20 characters
- If you need to write your passwords down, do so and store it with your important documents (passport, birth certificate, SIN etc.)
Back Your Data Up
In the event of a cyber breach, the only sure way to rid your device of any further threats is to wipe it clean. This means formatting all drives and restoring the device to its factory setting. Keep in mind, doing this will result in the loss of all data on the affected device.
We recommend that you regularly back-up your devices.
This may range from every week to every 6 months. The back-up of your data really depends on the type of information you are storing and its value to you.
Don’t Trust All Public Networks
Public internet can be found in almost all public places such as airports, coffee shops, restaurants, and hotels. Before connecting to such networks, many of us do not think of the security threats that may be looming in the background.
Public Wi-Fi connections are a hotspot for cyber threats, as the security on these networks is often non-existent. When surfing the internet or keeping up with social media on a public network, you are susceptible to the following threats:
- Man in the middle attacks
- Malware distribution
- Snooping and sniffing attacks
- Malicious hotspots (fake Wi-Fi hotspots)
The best way to stay safe on a public Wi-Fi network is to use a VPN (virtual private network). A VPN protects user’s information and re-routs your IP through an array of different servers around the world. This ultimately masks who you are and makes it difficult for attackers to gain access to your information.
When connected to a public Wi-Fi network you should also:
- Disable file sharing
- Only visit sites that have HTTPS
- Limit online purchases; and
- Do not login or download applications that require you to input sensitive information
“Cyber security is not a joke.”
In today’s day and age we rely heavily on the use of mobile devices, social media platforms, and technology that requires internet connections. If you value your online security, then following some of the tip above will help protect you from simple, yet ever so common cyber security threats.