The internet is an essential platform for businesses today, but it comes with the risk of your sensitive data being vulnerable to online threats and scams. To help protect against cyber attacks from hackers and malware, and to safeguard your online identity, robust security measures are vital. Here are 8 tips to ensure your safety online.
Password management is one of the most important ways to protect against theft of your data and online identity. Your passwords should be complex, using both upper and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols. While this might make them difficult to remember, an enterprise-level password manager tool can make this task easier. 2 factor authentication (2FA), which requires additional verification, goes even further to protect your information.
Before you enter sensitive credentials into any website, you should first check to see that it’s secured with a security certificate. Good antivirus software should flag up sites without a valid security certificate automatically. In Google Chrome, you can check this by looking for the green padlock icon next to the URL in the address bar. In general, if you see a website with ‘https’ at the beginning of the URL, it’s probably secure, but it’s still sometimes best to check.
Hackers and scammers favour using email in their cons. Spam emails may include links that trick people into downloading malware. To protect your data and online identity, don’t take emails from unknown senders at face value. You can check email authenticity by hovering over the link to see where it goes, before you actually download a file or go to a website. Always be cautious when clicking links in emails from unknown senders.
While a spam filter can keep some phishing emails at bay, others will undoubtedly still make it through. Phishing is a way to trick users into handing over important credentials or sensitive data. Fake emails, purporting to be from a trusted source, such as your bank, are cleverly designed to extort information from you. Look for spelling errors or inconsistencies if you receive messages from unsolicited sources, and never let your guard down. Cross-check the email addresses or phone numbers that you have on file to ensure that the sender is legit.
Online “freeware” and smartphone apps often comes bundled with unwanted programs, like adware or browser add-ons. These add-ons can be malicious, so always pay attention to end-user license agreements and permissions. You need to know what you are agreeing to.
Never disable firewalls or antivirus programs, for any reason. It only takes a small window for malicious software to make it through your computer’s defenses. It may sometimes seem convenient, if your AV program is blocking access to a site (perhaps because the security certificate is out of date), but even pausing your AV protection briefly can be dangerous.
Content filtering isn’t just about making sure the kids don’t get onto websites with adult content. It’s also useful for safety online in other ways. Content filtering can be used to block access to undesirable or fake websites, but it’s also a second line of defense against malware and email spam, or even incoming stuff that’s just plain annoying and a waste of time.
People develop a sense of what’s authentic and what’s not online, but scammers can be ingenious. Common sense applies. If it seems to be too good to be true it probably is, so beware of amazing offers that draw you in. Alarm bells should ring if you’re asked to input personal data or sensitive information, unless you’re 100% sure the request is from a verifiably legitimate source. Being alert will minimize the chances of falling prey to cybercriminals, protect your information and help you avoid cyber attacks before they hit.
If you need help with online security, Quikteks Tech Support can help. Contact us at (973) 882-4644 for additional advice.