How safe are you online? Although you may be practicing the best security measures, are they enough to protect your data online? The latest cases of ransomware attacks show that even the big names in the IT world are not able to protect their data privacy online. Lack of proper security mechanisms within the firms is the main reason for the increase in cybersecurity threats. You will be surprised to know that even today, many firms don’t have a security mechanism in place. And, we are not only talking about small firms, but many large scale organizations are also guilty of not giving importance to security measures as much as it deserves.
In the present tech world, hackers and cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated and use the latest technology to gain access to the firm’s critical data. Trust us; hackers are even capable of breaching your data on devices like smartphones, PCs, laptops, and tablets. This shows digital threats are becoming more widespread than ever. But, the question is are the users educated enough to identify and protect their data from the online digital threats. There is plenty of uncertainty in the early days of 2020 only, but one thing is certain. In the coming months keeping your data safe and secure will be the biggest challenge for the private users as well as large firms. What we can learn from the previous years is that millions of consumer information came under the attack of cyber threats. From Marriott hotel chains to tech giants like Facebook and Google also came under the attack. This means firms should develop innovative ways to reduce the chances of data breaches.
What are the dangers of leaving your data vulnerable?
One thing firms and private technology users must understand is that they need to protect their data from the threats surrounding the digital landscape. The security of your data determines whether you will be able to protect your data from malicious data threats. Going by the statistics in 2019, the ransomware damages in the US alone contributed to over 7.5 billion dollars. So, what are the dangers that are going to affect your data in 2020. And, more important, how can you protect yourself against the data security threats?
Not taking enough measures to protect your data can lead to the loss of millions of dollars. Malware is responsible for the loss of key passwords through keylogging, documents, and even monitoring user activity through webcam. But, do you know data security is not limited to password leak only. It goes beyond it as hackers are now using innovative techniques. Once hackers get access to personal information, they can harm users in many ways like:
- They can access your email to use personal information
- Break into your bank account to steal information
- Hackers can use your social security number to commit identity theft.
Hackers may even use social engineering, email, and text phishing to gain access to the firm’s critical data.
Protect your data with right practices
If you follow the proper security measures, your data will be safe, and chances of data security breaches will decrease. Here are some ways you can protect your data from the online threats.
Update your device frequently: One of the easiest ways to protect your data is to keep your software up to date. Updates help manufacturers to patch the security vulnerabilities. Every now and then, companies introduce new updates to fix the bugs and security loopholes in the system. For instance, Apple released a patch for a bug that solves the issue of eavesdropping on Facetime conversations. Also, after you install the update, your job is not over. You have to double-check the digital privacy settings to make sure you didn’t change anything during the update process. To do so, you can check the setting or system preferences on most of the digital devices. When it comes to software updates, phone and computer manufacturers inform users frequently about the updates and offer a chance to update your device automatically. But, this is not the same case with other devices like routers, security cameras, and baby monitors. In the case of such devices, you have to take extra efforts to check for firmware and software updates.
Go for the two-factor authentication: Do you wish to make your password all but useless to hackers? To turn this dream into reality, you have to use two-factor authentication. For two-factor authentication, users require an additional level of proof of ID for extra security. Trust us; you can’t rely solely on strong passwords to protect your critical information from getting in the wrong hands. For this reason, you need two-factor authentication. But, the question is how two-factor authentication works? In two factor authentication, when users log into an account on a new laptop or smartphone, they will have to give their passwords. After entering the password, users will not gain access to the account. Instead, users will have to use one time code send to their phone. Now comes the second factor, i.e., your phone. Without the phone password, you will be denied access. At present, almost all the major online service providers offer factor authentication to add that extra layer of security. From Amazon, Gmail, Apple, and significant world banks offer two-factor authentications to users.
Defend your device: We all store sensitive and critical information on our mobile phones. From private contacts to online banking data, your phone is a storehouse of essential data. We all use our phones as mobile wallets; hence it’s vital to protect the data from getting in the wrong hands. Even though there is plenty of information that hackers can steal from your phone, a survey revealed that only 33 % of users use a pin to lock their device. And, even fewer users make use of mobile security apps. This means a lot of sensitive data is at risk of getting stolen. But, with smart mobile security apps now protecting your sensitive data will become easier than ever.
Be careful when using social media: Do you know social media platforms are the most feasible that hackers use to intrude into your privacy. Hence users need to take extra precautions while sharing any information. Make use of the privacy setting offered by the social media platforms to make sure only selected people gain access to any information you share. Another advice from tech experts is to avoid posting every single detail, achievements, or whereabouts on the social portals.
Always stay private on Wi-Fi networks: One thing users need to understand is that public Wi-Fi networks don’t encrypt traffic. This means any person can snoop on your data traffic. To avoid such situations, users should never transmit sensitive data like logins, passwords, and credit card data over public networks. If you are using a public network, use a VPN to encrypt data and protect it from hackers.
Make use of strong passwords: Whenever you create an online account, you have to create a unique password. To add a layer of security to your data, you must use strong passwords. Many people are guilty of making the mistake of using simple passwords that are easy to crack like 1234, or their name. Don’t be lazy when setting your password or even your PIN. It would help if you always chose a password that is unique, long, and strong. Also, never share your password with other people. If you want help in creating a strong password, you can make use of a password manager like iCloud Keychain.
Use an ad blocker: If you are not using an ad blocker, trust us, you are doing it all wrong. Ad blockers have become extremely popular these days as an estimated 41 % of people are using adblocker to enhance their online security. There are many plugins available in the markets that allow users to block ads, trackers, and malware sites. Firefox allows users to install extensions that help in eliminating ads on the go.
Make use of privacy plugins: In addition to using an ad blocker, there are many other plugins that help users to eliminate unwanted tracking online. The plugins help in blocking trackers that can spy on your network thanks to the content delivery platforms.
Make use of virus protection software: Do you know hackers also use virus to steal your personal information. Therefore it’s in the best interest of users to install antivirus protection software. The reliable virus protection software ads an additional layer of security.
Now, as you are aware of the basics of how to protect your data from online threats, its time to start adopting these steps. These simple steps will help you in reducing or even eliminating the data breach cases. In addition to these steps, create an effective security mechanism to prevent business-critical data from going in the wrong hands.