Cybersecurity is a commonly heard phrase, but what exactly does it mean? As time moves forward, our technological capabilities advance at an exponential rate. With the new technology that comes out and continuously gets upgraded, so too do the threats that risk damaging your identity, financial security, and other factors of your life.
Cybersecurity is the act of preventing cyberattacks and mitigating risk from cyberthreats that would damage or steal from information technology. This involves everything from bank accounts to hospital records to your smart home’s thermostat.
Here are some of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself and your assets from cyberthreats.
Depending on the type of cyberthreat approach, a hacker may have to spend a long time researching and digging for data to find a password. Unlike the movies, hacking is usually not a quick operation. Using a complex password creates a significant barrier between a hacker and your data. For example, a hacker may use a phishing email or link to steal your data from another, less-secure website. As a result, if you are one of the many people who use the same password or a variation of the same password across multiple platforms, your data may be in danger.
Once the hacker has your login information for another website, they may spend time attempting to use variations of that password on a more vital website, such as your bank account. Although it can be more inconvenient, it is wise to create complex passwords that use a variation of symbols. Also, avoid using words that may be related to you or your public information, such as birthdays, the town you grew up in, and so on. Lastly, be sure not to use the same password for multiple sites.
Update your Software
Although it might not be convenient to regularly update your operating system or device, it is certainly a critical component of maintaining strong defenses against cyberthreats. It may not always seem like any big changes have happened after one of these updates; however, behind the dashboard and in the inner workings of your device’s software, there will be patches and bug fixes that improve cybersecurity.
Similar to the advancing pace of technology in general, hackers are continually changing their tactics and finding new weaknesses in software. It is a back-and-forth struggle between developers and hackers. Hackers first exploit weaknesses in software or devices, and then developers create a fix, followed by hackers having to devise a new approach. This process repeats itself, which is why you regularly see new software updates. Additionally, that is also why it is important to regularly update your device as soon as it is available.
Lastly, if you manage a website, be sure to monitor your website’s performance and code for any sudden or drastic changes.
Firewalls are another barrier you can create between your devices and hackers. There are some devices, such as Macs, which come with firewalls already installed. However, if you have a device that does not have a firewall or if you wish to upgrade, it is a smart step to take in order to bolster your cybersecurity.
Firewall software works by filtering information packets that enter your private devices. Packets are small clusters of data that enter and exit your device at a rapid speed, thus receiving and delivering information from the internet. Some of these packets can contain malicious data. The firewall administrator will be able to set parameters for the packets that enter and exit the device. Packets that cross a certain restriction will be discarded.
Monitor your WiFi
Be sure to not leave your WiFi in an open setting if you have a router. While it may seem harmless if passersby merely connect to your WiFi just to get a signal, it can actually expose you to significant risk. A person with the right knowledge can easily gain a bounty of information about you and your computer if they connect to your home WiFi.
Additionally, you can create an encrypted and challenging password for your WiFi. This will enhance your protection and reduce risk against cyberthreats.
If you are in public and looking for a WiFi signal yourself, be mindful of which WiFi you are connecting to. Hackers commonly go to crowded areas and set up fake WiFi names in order to get you to login. For example, at a Starbucks a hacker may set up a fake network called “Starbucks Public WiFi” and unsuspecting patrons may login for a connection while they drink their coffee. This tactic can lead to exposing your device to risk.
Two-factor authentication, also known as 2FA, is one of the most secure approaches you can take to improve cybersecurity. 2FA will require an additional security measure to be taken after you enter your initial password. This is extremely helpful in the event that your password security is breached and a hacker is attempting to steal or damage information.
For example, if you activate 2FA on your bank account login, you will enter your password and then be prompted to enter a second code. This code will be texted or emailed to you. It is more secure for you to receive a text instead, because it is less likely that a hacker will have physical access to your cell phone. On the other hand, a hacker can bypass 2FA if the secondary code is sent to your email and the hacker has breached your email account as well.
If you have an important account or device that has a 2FA option, you are strongly encouraged to utilize it.
At SolarVPS, we continually work to defend our clients against cyberthreats. If you are hosting a website or any online service, regularly monitoring and updating your website is essential for your cybersecurity. Contact SolarVPS if you would like more information about web hosting services and improving your cybersecurity.