The Importance of Protecting Yourself from Cyber-Attacks
A cyber-attack is an unwelcomed attempt to access a computer system and steal, expose, alter, disable or disrupt private information. Cybercriminals use multiple methods to initiate an attack. If given the opportunity, a cybercriminal will hack your network and steal every bit of valuable data they can find, including financial data.
That’s why cybersecurity is important, as it helps protect important data and information against cyber-attacks or unauthorized access. Below are a few tips and tricks for making sure your private information stays private.
Use strong passwords
Your passwords are the main barrier keeping your accounts safe from cyber-attacks. If you use the same password on all your accounts, a cybercriminal may have access to everything. Therefore, you should make sure that you don’t repeat passwords on different sites and change your passwords regularly. It is recommended to use a combination of at least 12 characters, both upper and lower case, numbers and special symbols. If you’re worried about remembering all your passwords, a password management application can help you keep track of them all. Below you’ll find a list of highly rated Password Manager programs that you can review. Compare and find which one works best for storing your login credentials.
For more information on password managers, check out 10 Best Password Managers (2022): Safe, Easy to Use + Cheap.
Keep your software updated
It’s easy for a cybercriminal to access a system that is not updated. Software updates not only fix issues, but also make sure you have the latest security features. As technology advances, cybercriminals must find new ways to access your information. By keeping up to date on your software, you’re staying ahead of cybercriminals.
Think before you click
It can happen to anyone, even yourself. Make sure to stay on the lookout for these common techniques used by cybercriminals:
- Phishing: These messages are disguised as either a well-known company (Amazon, Netflix, etc.) or someone you know and trust. In most cases, the message tries to trick you into clicking a link or opening an attachment that will take you to a fake site. As always, err on the side of caution and never click links within an email or text from someone you don’t know or trust.
- Malware: A malicious software designed to harm or exploit information.
- Social Engineering: Like Phishing, cybercriminals will attempt to get victims to give up their own information rather than directly stealing it. If you receive a suspicious email, website link, or even a phone call from an individual or organization, trust your instincts and confirm the information first before acting on it.
- Man-in-the-Middle (MITM): A cybercriminal can eavesdrop and alter communication between two parties who believe they are communicating on a direct and secure network. Be careful when discussing personal identifiable information with others. Confirm communication networks are secure with the party you may have shared this information with.
For more commonly used techniques check out Top 14 Most Common Cyber Attacks Today | CrowdStrike.
If you believe that you have been a victim of a cybercrime, no matter the size of the crime, you can file a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center. Also, let your financial institutions know so that they can take the proper actions to ensure your account is protected. If you still have access to your accounts, change your passwords and make sure to take additional defensive measures to ensure your private information stays protected.
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