Can you honestly say that you believe your system is safe from security threats? Probably not. It’s impossible to guarantee total security because technology changes at such a rapid pace. Breaches happen with even the newest, most secure software on the market, so you’ll never totally eliminate the possibility of a hack or cybersecurity attack.
But that doesn’t mean you have to make it easy for criminals to access your network. A few basic measures will protect your system against infiltration and malicious activity. This can save you the cost and humiliation of losing valuable data or compromising your customers’ information.
You have so much to lose when your systems are vulnerable to breaches. These seven steps will help protect you from major internet security threats so you can continue to operate at peak efficiency.
1. Use Strong Passwords
Passwords are the most common line of defense against cyberattacks. Yet so many people fail to guard these phrases with due care. If you’re simply assigning your pet’s name as a password for all of your accounts, you’re not taking your online security seriously. Strong passwords can keep your data safer.
When you assign a password to an account, don’t use personal information. It’s easy for criminals and viruses to find information like your hometown or your address, so they can guess passwords that use this data with relative ease. Your passwords should feature letters, numbers and symbols, and they should be unique for each account. Don’t repeat old passwords on different accounts, even if you change a few details.
2. Use Two-Factor Authentication
Before mobile phones became so prevalent, your password was the only thing standing between your account and a horde of hackers. Thankfully, companies like Google currently use two-factor authentication for additional security. They send you a text message containing a code that allows you to sign in to your accounts. Invaders won’t be able to break in without this sequence, putting an additional obstacle between them and your sensitive information.
4. Update Your Software Regularly
Software updates contain patches that fix glaring security vulnerabilities. If you ignore these upgrades, you’ll make it easier for hackers to exploit these weaknesses. Updates may be inconvenient, but the protection they offer makes them well worth the minor annoyance.
5. Be Careful with Mobile Devices
Users aren’t always mindful of their mobile security. You may think that the app you just downloaded is harmless, but it can access everything from your contact list to your photos and more. When an application asks for permission to access your information, weigh the possible risks against the benefits. For example, it might make sense for you to link your contact list with a social media app like Facebook, but it wouldn’t be wise to give that information to a cheap mobile game.
6. Don’t Open Suspicious Emails or Attachments
Chain letters and money scams clog up spam folders every day. But the most malicious emails can look relatively credible. A friend could ask for help in a foreign country, but as soon as you open the message, your computer could lock up. Hackers can compromise other people’s accounts and use them to send malware and other security threats to you. If an email seems abnormal, don’t open it. Never download odd attachments, either.
7. Use Effective Anti-Virus Software (and Supplement It with Malware Software)
Anti-virus software is important, but it’s not enough. If you want effective protection, you need to use malware software as well. Malware-specific software offers an extra degree of protection that will keep you safe from threats.
Use a VPN to Encrypt Your Activity on Public Networks
If you’ve ever used the internet in a café or library, you’ve accessed an unsecured network. Other users can see your activity and even steal your passwords on these connections, so you should invest in a virtual private network (VPN) to stay safe. These tools give you added privacy and security on public networks, ensuring that you remain safe no matter where you are.