With more and more of our interactions and transactions taking place online, cyber space is becoming increasingly fraught with crime. Opportunistic thieves and hackers are always on the hunt for new victims, stealing personal data to access bank accounts and other sensitive pieces of information.
In fact, experts predict that cyber crime is set to cost the global population a cumulative $10.5 trillion by 2025 – an eye-watering sum by any measure. How can you ensure that you don’t fall prey to these unscrupulous attacks? By following these hints and tips for staying safe online.
Strong log-in credentials
When creating an account on any site, whether it be a banking app, e-commerce store or mailing list for your favorite blog, it’s important to maintain a strong level of personal security. This means choosing a password that’s nearly impossible for friends and relatives (let alone complete strangers) to guess – a combination of upper case and lower-case letters, along with numbers and symbols, is the most secure cypher you can settle on.
Ideally, you should also change your password on a regular basis in order to prevent it from being hacked. Using different log-in credentials for different sites also means that your whole online presence won’t become compromised if one set of details does fall into the wrong hands, while using sophisticated technology like two-factor authentication (2FA) can also beef up your online security.
When you use a wireless network that is unsafe (such as free public Wi-Fi), it’s easy for anyone to track your online activity. This could lead them to gaining access to your personal information and hacking your accounts, ultimately leading to a loss of privacy and potentially financial ruin, as well.
One solution to this issue is to use a virtual private network (VPN). Not sure what this is? It’s recommended to take the time to learn what the meaning of a VPN is, since this ingenious technology can help to not only mask your computer’s IP address, but also encrypt all data sent across a network. This will keep you safe, even when using public Wi-Fi or other unsecured networks.
Adopt and update software
Cyber security companies are in a constant battle against threat actors to plug the holes in the security of a device’s software. This is most often achieved through the use of anti-virus programs, firewalls and other bespoke applications which aim to filter out the unwanted attention of a would-be hacker.
To give your computer, smartphone or other connected device the best chance of remaining free from attack, it’s important to download robust cyber security software. Not only that, but you must also update it on a regular basis to ensure it contains all the latest plugs and patches that handle new and innovative methods of compromising your system’s security.
With cyber crime on the increase, it’s a scary virtual world out there – but following these simple tips can help to shore up your cyber defenses and keep yourself safe when surfing the internet.