The internet is a vast space. Nothing ever really gets lost, but everything can be found there. It is hard to think of one field or life aspect that does not use the internet. With the internet being close to a necessity for modern-day living, it is vital to keep in mind cybersecurity best practices.
The internet allows for information to be conveniently accessed and widely shared and used. This ease of accessibility also presents risks and it is a part of business best practices (and life best practices) to properly assess and mitigate risks. In this case, this means examining ways to stay protected from internet security threats.
Cybercrime and internet-related criminal activity are growing threats. Internet security threats are evolving to more than hacking. As it is highly unlikely that people will stop using the internet, it is important to remember five ways to stay protected from internet security threats.
What Threats are Out There
Previously, it was mentioned that cybercrime is a growing and evolving threat. The scope of possible security risks is far and wide. In the business realm, there is a one and four chance of a company being the victim of a data breach. The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center reports that more than $1 billion was lost by consumers from scams.
Here are five ways to stay protected from internet security threats.
Support Strong Access Control
While simple internet accessibility is great for you, you do not want any potential risks to have an increased likelihood of occurring due to ease of access. Access is an essential part of internet security. For this reason, you want access control to be strong.
Weak access leaves your data and operating systems wide open to an assortment of threats from unauthorized access: identity theft, pillaging, sale of personal information, and more. This is why sites have special requirements for setting passwords and it is recommended that personal passwords be changed monthly.
Passwords should not be simple. Avoid familiar, familial, and hobby-related passwords that can be easily discerned. They should also include a mix of eight or more characters from letters, numbers, and special characters. Different sites also offer variations of access control such as two-step authentication, pin, and fingerprints.
Maintain Up-to-date Software, Systems, and Applications
Those messages for updates may be annoying, but try to avoid pushing them off into the endless abyss only to be forgotten and allow your system to regularly install its updates.
In addition to system updates, keep software such as anti-virus software, browsers, and applications. Making sure everything is up-to-date will not only ward off long and tedious manual installations but internet security threats that may slip by as a result of old software, system information, and applications.
When everything is up to date, you are lowering your risks. Updates are essential because they incorporate new information that helps combat virtual risks. The latest and greatest in the case of internet security is advantageous. A strong defense against internet threats like viruses and malware means having the latest security software, operating system, and browser.
Utilize Network Protection
It is important to monitor and control your network information. Once your network is accessed by an unauthorized entity, it is game over. You want to be sure to protect your information and personal data.
Helpful points and activities to implement as network protection measures include installing a firewall, establishing strong access control, and conducting regular proper maintenance. It is also good to use IDS/ IPS to track potential packet floods, a VPN (virtual private network), and network segmentation.
Be Careful of Personal Information
While many sites may ask for various kinds of information such as date of birth, it is important to keep personal information (e.g. identification numbers and banking information) secure and be safe while pursuing sites. Aside from the information needed to fill in forms and set up site profiles, avoid giving too much information.
Virtual criminals can use online information like social media profiles to gather data to crack passwords and gain access to linked accounts. Be careful what you share on social media. Check not only your privacy settings but the privacy policies of the sites and institutions you are a part of.
Be Cognizant of Outside Threats
Internet risks do not only pertain to hackers, data theft, and system infiltration, but also criminal activities where the internet is the medium by which crimes occur such as phishing scams. Phishing scams trick internet users with fraudulent email and websites to obtain private account or login information or scam money in legally grey areas (e.g. sending money and donations).
Phishing scams are getting more and more advanced. As a result, it is vital for internet users to be even more diligent in security measures and awareness of the latest scamming schemes.
It is best practice to not open emails from any unfamiliar email addresses. In emails, be sure to review headers, signatures, and addresses. Do not open any unfamiliar links or attachments and if you should and pop-ups come up, immediately perform a hard shutdown (holding the power button until the computer cuts off).
Some phishing scams go beyond links and attachments to directing internet users to full landing pages and websites. This can sometimes dissuade any suspecting users from the authenticity of the email but do a little more detective work. Analyze any unfamiliar websites, examining footer information such as copyright text, and do a background search on the website.
Staying Safe Online
Remember to keep in mind ways to stay protected from internet security threats. Cybercrime is continuously evolving and developing at an incomprehensible rate. Due to the nature of internet security threats and crimes, it is challenging for authorities to pursue such threats and crimes.
It is important for internet users to stay vigilant in their internet security. Continue to read up on and improve computer literacy and internet knowledge. Stay up to date on internet changes and developments. Establish protocols to avoid and mitigate risks. The internet places everything at your fingertips. Make sure you are safe as you explore the web.
Binary Blogger has spent 20 years in the Information Security space currently providing security solutions and evangelism to clients. From early web application programming, system administration, senior management to enterprise consulting I provide practical security analysis and solutions to help companies and individuals figure out HOW to be secure every day.