In 2021, damages arising from cyber-crime will reach a staggering $6 trillion globally. That makes cybersecurity one of the top concerns for every internet user.
Small businesses are particularly more vulnerable to cyber-crime because they fail to implement key cybersecurity tips. Unfortunately, 60% of these businesses shut down within six months of a single cyber attack.
These statistics are depressing, and they underline the importance of investing in cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity refers to the practice of protecting computers, servers, electronic systems, mobile devices, data, and networks from malicious attacks. This practice is also known as electronic information technology or information technology.
Cyber-crime has flourished in recent years and continues to pose a massive threat to internet users. Interestingly, there are many simple and practical steps you can take to ensure your internet safety. Below are seven tips we recommend for staying secure every time you use the internet.
- Invest in a Reliable VPN
Installing a top-quality virtual private network (VPN) is by far the best way to ensure online privacy. Typically, all the information your laptop or smartphone sends and receives while you browse gets compiled into readable data packets that can be accessed by just about anyone. Third parties can easily access your IP address unless you’re using a VPN.
The job of a VPN is to hide your IP address. This is done by coursing your internet traffic through an anonymous IP address and encrypting your data, so it's unreadable. This way, any malicious third party cannot exploit your online data.
There’s a variety of free VPNs, but it’s generally best to opt for a paid one as they offer more robust protection.
- Install Security Software
Ransomware attacks have become more rampant today than they were a few years ago. These attacks cost businesses 57 times more in 2021 than they did in 2015. Today, a malware attack occurs every 11 seconds.
That’s why no internet user should browse the internet without top-quality security software. A reliable anti-virus can make all the difference in the world, allowing you to enjoy your time online instead of junking your device every few months.
If your anti-virus doesn’t already come with an anti-spyware feature, you may need to invest in an anti-spyware program too. Next, don’t forget a dependable firewall to shield your network from untrusted external networks.
- Update Your OS Regularly
Another easy way to browse safely is to update your operating system promptly when updates become available. Typically, OSs make updates the moment they detect security threats to combat them.
Unfortunately, many internet users delay updating their OS or fail to update the OS at all because they find it time-consuming or inconvenient. Hackers can quickly spot this weakness in your OS and exploit it, often with disastrous consequences on your part.
Once you become aware of a newer version of the OS you’re using, move quickly to install it.
- Keep Your Passwords Safe
Any internet user needs to learn and implement password best practices. Your passwords are meant to safeguard internet privacy if you’ve signed for accounts on various websites.
Whenever you sign up for an account on a certain website, create an airtight password, especially if the account is a sensitive one, such as banking or social media. Avoid using easy-to-guess passwords, such as 1234 or your year of birth. Longer passwords that include a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols are more secure.
It also helps to use a trusted password manager tool where you can consolidate all your passwords instead of writing them in a notebook where you can lose them.
In the unfortunate event that you suffer a breach, change your password right away.
- Avoid Suspicious Websites
Often, cybersecurity issues start when people visit suspect websites. Popular web browsers now inform you when you’re about to visit an untrusted website. Mac users will often get this message: this connection is not private Safari.
If you receive such a message, it’s most often because the website you’re about to visit uses HTTP instead of the HTTPS protocol. In other words, that website hasn’t yet been updated to a secure connection.
Suspicious sites are a common source of malware, so don’t take the chance. This is especially so when you intend to perform a delicate transaction. HTTPS sites encrypt any activity in them and have validated domain ownership, which gives you the peace of mind you need to continue browsing.
Don’t forget to log out of your account after using it, even if you’re using a secure website. Many people simply close the browser without logging out of their account, exposing themselves to privacy issues.
- Always Use Two-Factor Authentication
One of the best things about secure websites is that they offer the option for two-factor authentication. The idea is to protect you from anyone who may try to impersonate you.
With two-factor authentication, you instantly get a notification when suspicious activity is detected on your account. You may get an alarm on your phone to ask you whether you tried to log into your email account, for instance. Unless the hacker has access to your email or phone, they’re locked out of your account.
Protect Yourself When Browsing With These Cybersecurity Tips
The internet may be a wonderful place, but it can also be a huge cause of concern when it comes to your security and privacy. However, with the practical cybersecurity tips we’ve shared in this post, you can steer clear of cyber-criminals and browse in peace.
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