Cybercrime Challenges Across The World

Cyber Security
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Not long ago, cybercrime was considered to be the domain of shadowy government operatives and high-tech corporate snoops. Not anymore! With so much personal information residing in the cloud, cybercrime has become an everyday concern for people all over the world, regardless of their location or occupation.

Whether you’re an individual worried about your identity being stolen or a business owner safeguarding your company’s intellectual property and financial assets, these 10 tips will help you protect yourself against cybercrime in the digital age.

1) Update all your software

The first step in cyber security is making sure all your software is up-to-date. The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) recently released a vulnerability report that lists thousands of vulnerabilities and patches for nearly every operating system, application, or device in use today.

Most devices or operating systems come with a built-in tool that automatically checks for updates and patches, but make sure you check your computer and make sure its properly updated. If you’re unsure how to check or don’t have an automatic feature on your device, it’s always better to be safe than sorry—unplug it from everything else until you’ve checked for yourself.

2) Use two-factor authentication

In addition to a strong password, many accounts offer two-factor authentication (2FA), which requires you to enter a security code that’s either texted or emailed to you. For example, whenever I log into my Gmail account from an unrecognized device, I’m prompted for both my password and a 2FA code; it also sends me a notification if someone attempts access from an unknown location.

It may not be necessary for your business account—but it’s definitely worth using if you use online banking or other services that hold sensitive data. Given how much of our personal information is online these days, it’s worth taking measures that ensure our accounts are secure.

3) Back up your data

It goes without saying that backing up your data is one of the most effective ways you can protect yourself against cybercrime. Even if you’re vigilant about updating your passwords and scanning for malware, there will still be a chance that hackers get into your computer and steal information or cripple your system.

That’s why it’s important to have an offline backup in addition to whatever online backups you may have set up. It’s also a good idea to store multiple backups—some locally, some offsite, and some on external drives that aren’t connected to any device at all—so that even if hackers do get into one area, they won’t be able to access all of them.

4) Make strong passwords

A strong password will prevent cybercriminals from breaking into your accounts. Even if a hacker guesses your password, it will still be difficult for them to access your account without a strong, unique password. Since you don’t want to have an awkward-to-remember password (cybercriminals are good at guessing passwords), use a password manager like LastPass or KeePass so you can easily create and store random passwords.

When choosing these passwords, make sure that they contain both upper and lowercase letters as well as numbers and symbols—but do not include any of these in part of a common word (like a password). To increase security further, enable two-factor authentication on all accounts with 2FA available.

5) Get anti-virus software

Having anti-virus software installed is important, but it’s also important to keep your virus definitions up-to-date. If you don’t have anti-virus software on your computer, install some.

As an extra layer of protection, consider using another type of security software for added peace of mind. Depending on how sensitive your data is and how much you value privacy and anonymity online, you may also want to look into a VPN service as well.

6) Check your bank statements regularly

We’re all familiar with free trials, where we sign up for something that turns out to have a sneaky monthly charge. Don’t be tricked. Check your bank statements regularly and watch out for recurring charges you didn’t authorize.

If you see anything unexpected, call your bank immediately. In addition, consider using an app like Mint or YNAB (You Need A Budget) that can help you track your spending in real-time so there are no surprises when it comes time to pay bills.

7) Avoid public wifi hotspots

Public wifi hotspots can be some of your worst enemies when it comes to cyber security. Using a public wifi hotspot means that anyone in that area can gain access to your data and personal information, potentially leading to identity theft or other cybercrimes. The first step towards protecting yourself against cybercrime is avoiding public wifi hotspots at all costs.

Consider installing a virtual private network (VPN) on your device; VPNs encrypt your data before sending it across an open network, which makes you much less vulnerable than a standard user. When possible, connect through an Ethernet cable instead of using wifi as well; these days it’s really rare for someone to mess with physical cables anymore.

8) Read the privacy policy before you sign up for anything online

Privacy policies are important and sometimes lengthy documents that outline a company’s commitment to cyber security and handling of personal information. If you’re worried about cybercrime, read through a company’s privacy policy before you sign up for any service. Look out for clauses that give companies more rights than you might expect, including the use of personal data without your consent.

Here are some key points to look out for: opt-in provisions (meaning if they say you have signed up by agreeing to it, but actually haven’t), whether or not they will pass your information on (you probably don’t want them sending your details onto other third parties), how long they will hold onto your details (ideally forever?

9) Know when you are sending sensitive information over email

Cybercriminals are using software that mines emails for keywords and sends their contents back to their servers. If you’re sending a password, credit card number, or other sensitive information over email, take an extra second to look up your recipient’s email address. Find out if they have an unlisted or throwaway address—if so, it’s probably best not to send that information at all.

Even better: Look for alternatives like WhatsApp (for messages) and Signal (for voice calls) which encrypt your data as it travels from one device to another. We use these tools every day, and we feel safer knowing no one can tap in during a call or read our messages as they travel from phone to phone on their way from point A to point B.

10) Wipe your computer clean before handing it down to someone else

When you’re getting rid of your old computer, make sure you have a professional wipe your hard drive before giving it away or selling it. Otherwise, what they do with that computer—and any information on it—could be up for grabs. Companies that erase data from computers typically use software called Darik’s Boot and Nuke,

which basically wipes everything out of a computer’s memory by systematically overwriting each and every piece of data until all that’s left is an unrecognizable mess. Just remember: no matter how careful you are about wiping your hard drive yourself, there may still be something left in your CPU’s memory. So if privacy is really important to you, toss it and buy a new one.

About Technology Boss 18 Articles
Technology is the continually developing result of accumulated knowledge and application in all techniques, skills, methods, and processes used in industrial production and scientific research.

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