When we talk about cyber-security, a lot of people instantly imagine scenes from The Matrix, Johnny Mnemonic or some similar Keanu Reeves installment. In truth, making your online persona safer requires nothing out of a Sci-Fi franchise and nothing too flashy. All you need to do is introduce few simple changes in order to make any attempt on your private data not worth a hacker’s while. With this in mind, here are the 5 best ways to improve your cyber-security.
1. A Stronger Password
As long as your password is your pet’s name or the date of your birth, it doesn’t matter what else you do to protect your online data. Simple or predictable passwords are easy to crack, which is why you need to spice things up a bit. Add different numbers, symbols and combine lowercase with uppercase letters. In this way, you will get a unique password that even the best hacking tools will have a hard time cracking. Sometimes it can take as long as a month, which would probably cause hackers to simply give up. It also gives you enough time to simply change it and take them back to square one.
2. Think Beyond Digital
A great mistake that online businesses make is believing that their data exists only in digital form. In fear of forgetting your latest passwords (you should use more than one for different platforms), you are likely to start writing them down. So, what happens if someone stumbles upon your notebook filled with account names, email lists and passwords? The people you surround yourself with are another thing to watch out for. Even the most prized staff members may look for an employment elsewhere and once they are gone all your secrets are gone with them. Finally, what about angry exes, siblings you share your PC with, or snooping roommates; cyber security can become very complicated.
3. Safer Terminals
One of the greatest things about working in a digital environment is that you are no longer place-bound. If the weather is nice outside, there is no need for you to stick around the office when you can simply work from a park bench or a roof deck. All you need is a proper clearance (account and password) and a device with an internet connection. Still, how safe is accessing your most private files from unknown networks? Actually, not at all. In order to protect yourself and your business from security breaches, you might want consider making your remote desktop access much safer. In this way, you can rest assured that the connection you establish is safe even for the most sensitive data transfers.
4. Watch out for Phishing
Remember, hackers don’t need to crack your password if they can persuade you to give it to them of your own free will. You might ask yourself why anyone in their right mind would do such a thing, but the reality is that some hackers can find a way to pose as a legitimate website and deceive you to type it down in order to confirm your identity. The only way to steer clear of this cunning deception is to keep your eyes wide open. Look for subtle clues like mispronunciations in the page address or missing elements. You can never be too careful.
5. Networks Are Not Safe
Finally, you need to keep in mind that nothing good ever comes for free. This is why, while you can use open networks for some simpler online tasks, you should avoid this whenever you can. Just hooking up on one such network can expose your data to everyone else on the grid. You never know when one of these people can turn out to be a hacker.
In the end, the best thing about the aforementioned five tips is that they really don’t take much effort on your side. All they ask of you is to recognize just how serious of a problem these cyber-attacks can be. If you were to walk in the middle of a night through a sketchy neighborhood, you would probably choose the safest route, stay clear of any suspicious looking characters, and look over your shoulder every now and then. This is exactly what you should do in the digital environment as well, of course in a metaphorical sense.
Dan Radak is a marketing professional with eleven years of experience. He is currently working with a number of companies in the field of digital marketing, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies. He is also a coauthor on several technology websites and regular contributor to Technivorz.