The chances are you, your family, and your employer all use the internet or online connectivity for just about everything. From conference calls to simple browsing and shopping, the internet has a strong presence in most of our lives. We’re living in an exciting future that Asimov, Bradbury, and Roddenberry predicted. Unfortunately, despite the exciting technological innovations and advances, we benefit from every day, many threats are still lurking in the shadows. Cyber threats at home and in corporations are beginning to rear their ugly heads en masse, especially as more home devices connect to home networks and cyber attacks grow increasingly sophisticated. In 2022, things are only growing more dangerous. Here’s how to protect yourself online this year and beyond.
Understanding Basic Threats
Part of keeping yourself online protection comes down to education. Understanding the nature of primary online threats is crucial. Take the concept of phishing, for example. In this scenario, attackers can compromise your information by convincing you that a message or email is legitimate. They’re also websites that deliver surreptitious drive-by downloads containing malware. You can also get malware from various downloads online or even have your browser hijacked if you’re not careful. That’s why using security software is vital and should be a regular part of your cybersecurity routine.
In addition to educating yourself about the extant threats permeating the cyber world today, you should also take basic precautions like using encryption for online protection. That could be as simple as implementing a virtual private network that automatically encrypts your data or utilizing encryption services provided by third-party companies and security software suites. In encryption, your data gets scrambled and becomes unreadable. Other users who somehow access or see the data cannot access it or use it because they cannot read it. Encryption can keep you safe and private online, but hackers can also use it to their advantage. One of the most prevalent threats today, ransomware, uses encryption to hold users’ data for ransom and offers a decryption key to access the data once the ransom gets paid. Encrypting your files can protect you against malware like ransomware and keep you safe while online.
Two Factor Authentication
Two Factor and multi-factor authentication are both essential safeguards for working online. In two-factor authentication, users input their password and log in to whatever service/app they try to get into. Then, a text message or email will be sent to them with a unique code prompting them to insert the code into the authentication portal for their app. That serves to add a layer of protection two logging into various sites. Two-factor authentication essentially protects the user’s credentials and limits the ability of hackers to access or compromise them. Multi-factor authentication works the same way, offering the ability to use email, a specialized app, phone calls, and other methods to engage in protective authentication.
Everyone knows the pain of dealing with long, complex, and annoying passwords. They’re necessary for protecting private data, yet they can be challenging to remember. Unfortunately, passwords are one of the most commonly cracked and stolen pieces of data. As a result, people generally don’t use strong passwords. It would help if you had a robust mix of capital, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols for the best passwords. Passphrases are also quite valid to ward off potential attackers, at least according to the FBI.
Whatever you do, please don’t write your passwords down in a place where somebody else can access them. Taking the time to ensure your passwords are strong, complicated, and complex enough that nobody can crack them goes a long way to work providing you online protection. It’s also a good idea to consider using a password manager or security software that handles password management for you. Most security/antivirus suites will offer password managers, but plenty of a la carte options, like LastPass, suit any user’s needs.
Speaking of a robust set of utilities that can handle passwords, antivirus scanning, and many other security needs, getting some full strong security software for your home/office is a good idea. Look for a software suite with various utilities you can use to protect yourself online. That can include family protection, virus scans, malware protection, alerts to possible ransomware, web threat detection, and more. The best software can be used across multiple devices and will come at a reasonable cost. Taking cybersecurity into your own hands can’t be understated and is extremely important when protecting yourself (and your family online).