As cyber attacks become more common and widespread, you need to stay informed in order to protect yourself from this ever evolving threat.
You often hear about the big data breaches on the news: Equifax, Arby’s, and Saks Fifth Avenue were a few in 2017. What you don’t hear about are the little guys: individuals and small businesses, who are targeted far more often.
While cyber security can be a complex topic with a lot of tech jargon, there are a few simple steps anyone can take that will greatly reduce the odds of an attack.
Install updates ASAP
One of the most effective things you can do to protect yourself is to keep your software and hardware up-to-date. These updates often patch security gaps and vulnerabilities. While it can be annoying to keep up with, doing so helps safeguard your computer.
Be careful with email
Phishing scams and viruses are most commonly spread through email. NEVER open an email or especially an attachment unless you know the sender. Even then, be wary of forwarded emails from people you do know.
Common red flags include messages titled “sir/madame,” misspellings and grammatical errors.
Turn off your computer
If you have an active internet connection, your computer is vulnerable to attack any time the power is on. By shutting down, the source of any potential attack is eliminated.
You may be required to leave your computer at work on at all times, so be sure to check protocol with IT personnel.
Add firewall protection
A firewall is a network device that blocks certain types of traffic. You should choose software that has an interface that allows you to make decisions about which types of traffic to block or allow.
Windows Defender (which comes installed on Windows 8, 10) is an antivirus, not a firewall.
Use a password management tool
Your password is often the last line of defense between a hacker and your data. Unfortunately, many of us use passwords that aren’t very effective. What’s worse, we often use that same weak password for everything. It’s an easy trap to fall into.
Password management tools generate secure, completely random passwords and act as a storage vault to keep them safe. Most will even sync across your devices for easy access.