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The truth is that anyone can fall victim to a cyberattack, from an inexperienced internet user to a seasoned software engineer. While more and more dedicated software development teams work remotely, engineers may use the same device for both professional and personal purposes. This requires an even sturdier approach to cyber security in your personal life. The same applies to any other company: Employees should be aware of cyber attacks and follow the rules on how to protect their digital assets—and as a result, the company—from information leaks, database hacking, etc.

Aside from adhering to cybersecurity tips at the workplace, it’s essential to maintain personal cyber hygiene. When purchasing products or services, visiting social media sites, and simply surfing the internet, paying attention to your environment and recognizing the signs of malware is integral. Experiencing security breaches may not only jeopardize your data but also put the entire company operations at risk.

How can you protect your sensitive data and ensure the safety of your mobile and web development services? In this article, we will explore the importance of personal cyber security posture and learn expert tips for cyber security. 

What is Cyber Security?

Cyber security is a discipline aimed at protecting computer systems, devices, and networks against various types of attacks. The term is quite broad and includes a variety of contexts, from business and personal to application and network. Cyber security involves risk assessment, classification, and actions to mitigate or minimize the threat.

Criminals constantly develop more sophisticated ways of accessing users’ data to steal their information and finances. With the rise of web and mobile app development services, people are becoming more and more dependent on technology in their personal and professional lives. A constant on the list of web development trends, cybersecurity is not something to be overlooked. 

Why Cyber Security?

Statistics show that an attack occurs every 39 seconds, accumulating to 800,000 hacker security events per year. Businesses lose $4.45 million on a single data breach, including legal and reputational costs. Online security is not an afterthought but a vital part of every household and business across the world. While people may think it’s not going to happen to them, the chances of an attack increase every year, and hacking methods grow and evolve. Let’s discuss next how cyber security best practices can help you in your everyday life. 

Data Protection

Your personal data is a highly valuable commodity that deserves to be protected. Cyber security tips will help you understand how to safeguard your information from external threats, including phishing attacks, malware, ransomware, and more.

Improved Data Management

Following cybersecurity best practices allows you to better organize your information, safely store it, and prepare regular backups to prevent any data loss or damage. 

Self-education

Knowing the enemy is the only way to win the battle. Cybersecurity tips help users learn about various types of attacks to run a risk assessment to recognize and avoid them. 

Common Types of Cyber Threats

Although there is a plethora of different ways to gain access to your data, the most widespread types of cyber attacks include: 

Cyber Security Tips
  • Phishing attacks work by tricking the user into opening a malicious link or attachment in order to collect sensitive information like passwords and financial data. 
  • Malware attacks infect the device with a virus and cause damage to the device itself, the server, or the network aimed at stealing data or launching attacks on other systems. 
  • Denial-of-service attacks (DDoS) prevent users from accessing a certain system or service by following it with false traffic. 
  • Ransomware attacks encrypt systems and keep them locked until the user pays a ransom to regain access to their information. 
  • Man-in-the-middle attacks (MitM) intercept the communication between two parties, tricking them into relaying sensitive information. 
  • SQL Injection exploits vulnerabilities in applications and injects malicious code into the database. 

Everyday Use Cases of Cyber Security

Even outside of the business data environment, people encounter the applications of cyber security everywhere. From banking transactions and social media to email security, we deal with potentially dangerous situations all the time. Let’s investigate how we face the need for cyber security tips on a daily basis.

Cyber Security Tips

Financial Transactions

While most of us manage our finances, make purchases, and access our bank accounts online, we rely on effective and robust cyber security measures. Banking institutions adopt a wealth of tools and practices to keep our data safe and protected. From encryption and two-factor authentication to secure communication protocols, fintech is the industry that puts a lot of value into cyber security.

Email Communication

Both in personal and professional lives, people use email every day. Knowing this, email providers implement security measures to protect our data from hackers. Your spam folder filters out suspicious emails while authentication protocols shield us from phishing scams and malicious attachments.

Social Media

Social media platforms offer an array of features aimed at protecting our identity and information. By tweaking settings, users can block certain users, hide their accounts, and report suspicious behavior.

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been gaining more and more traction in recent years resulting in the growing popularity of smart devices. In order to protect our shared and stored data, these solutions enable regular updates and provide robust security configurations.

Mobile Devices

Our smartphones and tablets store an immense amount of personal information that requires protection from security breaches. Strong passwords, face recognition features, and app permission management allow us to keep our data safe and prevent unauthorized access.

Important Cyber Security Tips

In this section, we’ll focus on expert cybersecurity tips that will help you identify and avoid cyber attacks to keep your data intact. 

Beware of Clickjacking

Clickjacking is a form of cyberattack that tricks the user into following a link to gain access to their information. Hackers use spoofed websites to lure you into a sense of safety to encourage you to click a certain link and steal your data. Refrain from opening unknown attachments or links received through emails and text messages to avoid falling victim to scammers. 

For example, hackers can fake an email from your bank, PayPal account, or another platform that contains your sensitive information. You then click the link to reset your password or update personal data and end up on a third-party website. From there, your information gets collected by an attacker and then used to access your accounts and steal credentials. 

Consider installing NoScript or Click-to-Play browser extensions that prevent the download of potentially malicious content. These services can be used on most browsers and help users avoid exploitations of existing security vulnerabilities on their devices. 

Set Up Strong Passcodes

Even though it sounds like an obvious bad practice, nearly 60% of Americans incorporate their names and birthdays into passwords while a quarter use one of the most common credentials such as “123456” or “Qwerty.” Hackers can use brute-force types of attacks by simply going through the list of the most ubiquitous passcodes until one works.

Furthermore, two-thirds of Americans use the same password on multiple online accounts. Other bad practices include sharing credentials with other people and writing down passwords in unsecured locations. 

All of these habits make you highly vulnerable to cyber attacks. Below are some cybersecurity tips that will help you safeguard your data. 

Cyber Security Tips

Choose Long Passcodes

Set up a passcode with at least eleven or twelve characters to extend the time it takes to crack your account. To illustrate, a hacker will require only eight hours to figure out an eight-character password, while a passcode that contains eleven characters will take 40 to 400 years to crack. 

Combine Different Characters and Symbols

You can complicate the hacker’s password selection by adding rare characters like question marks, dashes, ampersands (&), parentheses, and others. Although some systems do not allow usage of some symbols, attempt to incorporate them if possible. 

Diversify Passwords across Accounts

Even if you create a strong password, your data can still be leaked and shared on hacker databases for other people to utilize. Don’t settle for the same password across all your accounts to prevent devastating data breaches.

By accessing one account, hackers will be able to get all your sensitive data, including banking, social media, and emails. Diversify your password portfolio and create robust credentials for each account, especially the ones containing financial or health data. 

Regularly Update your Credentials

Set up an alarm to reset passwords across all your different accounts every four to eight weeks. Especially after working on someone else’s computer or laptop, make a habit of updating your passwords. Such cyber security tips offer an additional protection layer for your data and prevent further data exploitation. 

Cost-effective and Secure Infrastructure for Cybersecurity Company

Consider Getting a Password Manager

Cybersecurity best practices dictate that a user should have unique and strong passwords for each account. But how does one remember all these credentials? Password managers are software solutions that help you safely store all your passwords in a single location. This strategy requires you to remember only one password, also known as the master key password, instead of dozens of them. 

A password manager is not only for safekeeping your credentials, it can also help you generate foolproof phrases to ensure the utmost safety of your data. The most popular services are KeePass, 1Password, and Dashlane, which range in price and use case. 

Enable Multi-factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA), or two-factor authentication, is one of the most commonplace cyber security best practices that offers an extra layer of data protection. In addition to traditional passwords, you can set up a one-time verification token, received via text message, phone call, and third-party services like Google Authenticator and FreeOTP. Most smartphones already rely on MFA by enabling fingerprints and face recognition features that protect device users. 

While cybercriminals can gain access to even your strong passwords, intercepting tokens will pose an additional challenge. Some hackers already know how to duplicate your SIM card information to receive a text message, which is why using MFA services is among cybersecurity best practices. 

Check Cybersecurity Updates from Reputable Institutions

Organizations like CERT-EU, Enisa, CERT-In, and many others diligently publish updated guidelines and tips for cybersecurity to alert internet users of threats and help them protect themselves. As new technologies emerge, so do new ways of scamming people and stealing their data. Various institutions provide actionable advice on how to minimize the chances of an attack and safeguard your information amidst ever-growing risks. 

Execute Automatic Security Updates

Regular system updates are also among the best practices in cyber security. Running manual updates can be tedious, so it’s recommended to enable automatic ones to ensure that your software, browsers, and operating system are up-to-date.

Without continuous audits, the systems may become susceptible to attacks. The longer the configurations remain untouched, the more time cyber criminals have to identify vulnerabilities and exploit them for financial gain. 

Install Firewalls and Antivirus Software

Although not completely bulletproof, antiviruses and firewalls do shield the majority of cyber attacks, thus offering a great level of protection. Anti-virus software like McAfee and Norton in conjunction with advanced firewalls can significantly limit hacking activities and help users defend their systems against the most common attacks. Don’t forget to also regularly update these services to improve their functionality and patch any vulnerabilities.

Opt Out of Using Debit Cards Online

Another tip on the list of cyber security best practices is abstaining from purchasing products and services online using your debit card. Instead, it’s recommended to use credit card information or payment services like PayPal to finish your purchases. Methods that are directly connected to your bank account are more likely to be hijacked and accessed by a cyber attacker. 

Additionally, routinely check your banking statements against suspicious charges to timely catch an unauthorized transaction and cancel it. In case you detect malicious activity, immediately contact the bank to report the security incident.

Educate Yourself about Phishing

One of the most important cyber security tips is to learn about different types of attacks to be able to recognize them. For example, 1.2% of all emails are phishing attacks, which makes them one of the most common methods of gaining access to user private information.

In phishing cyber attacks, criminals create a false identity to trick you into disclosing your credentials. This can be, for example, a fake password recovery email that will actually take you to a spoofed website. Here are some tips for cyber security to avoid falling prey to phishing scams: 

  • Only open emails from trusted sources and persons
  • Hover over the link to see the address and check whether it’s a real business or a fake one
  • Check email content for obvious grammatical errors and common sense

Learn the Signs of Malware

Some telltale signs of possible threats can help you protect yourself from the vast majority of security breaches. For example, never ignore spam warnings and pay attention to system popups. Sometimes, you will see a warning telling you that the website you’re visiting can be potentially dangerous. Consider closing the tab and investigating the trustworthiness of the webpage before visiting it again. 

One of the most common cyber security tips is to look at the communication protocol to discern an unsecured connection. Sites that use HTTP are not necessarily malicious but do pose far more danger compared to HTTPS. The latter is essentially HTTP but with encryption and verification, making it substantially safer. 

Finally, beware of automatic redirects that take you to an unsafe website. Hackers embed malicious code onto a webpage to instantly redirect you to a third-party site and potentially access your data. 

Stay away from Suspicious Websites

Before visiting an unfamiliar and suspicious-looking webpage, do some research to find out its trustworthiness and safety. Sometimes, users don’t have to enter any information to expose their data. Attackers can inject malware the moment you open the website and gain access to your systems. Even if the link was sent to you by your friends or family, be cautious when visiting new sites. 

Limit Your Downloads

Refrain from downloading unnecessary software and files that you don’t absolutely require. One of the oldest tricks in the book, downloads are often used to connect to your systems and networks. When downloading something, opt for a custom installation process to manually check the files that are being set up on your device. 

Look Out for Social Engineering Tricks

Social media and other public platforms are often employed to gain personal information and use it to trick you into giving away sensitive data. Make sure you’re not giving away too many details about yourself on social media to protect your data. Additionally, don’t immediately trust anyone online even if they seem to know specifics about your life. 

Run Regular Data Backups 

No matter how diligently you try to safeguard your information, data loss or damage may occur. Part of a comprehensive cybersecurity risk management strategy, having a backup will save you a lot of work and effort to restore lost data. Consider running regular file backups to guarantee the integrity of your information even if the worst happens. 

Avoid Public Wi-Fi Networks

Using a public Wi-Fi network exposes you to a slew of potential vulnerabilities. If you have to use public Wi-Fi, enable a reliable Virtual Private Network (VPN) service to protect your mobile devices. By encrypting the traffic between you and the server, a VPN makes it more difficult for a hacker to access your data. 

Final Thoughts

Cyber security is an essential part of everyone who uses the internet on a regular basis. Unfortunately, people with bad intentions will continue to develop new ways of stealing personal data for financial gain. The only way to protect yourself is through knowledge and foresight. Learn about cyber security best practices to apply them in your life and safeguard your files and devices from malicious attacks.

If you need support in this challenging undertaking, NIX can be your trusted partner. We are a team of software engineers, providing software product development services, creating tech solutions with fortified cybersecurity. Check our portfolio of cybersecurity cases to read our success stories and reach out to learn more about how to protect your data.

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