Businesses are now reliant on technology, so each industry is going to be affected by cyber crime as it continues to rise. With the plethora of risk, the internet can feel like a dangerous place these days. And, the recent proliferation of devices, from smartphones and tablets to Internet-connected appliances, has opened us up to even greater risks. In this blog, I am going to share 6 tips that can help you safeguard your digital footprint.
TIP 1: Avoid unsolicited emails
Hackers often target their victims through email spamming. Many email spam messages are commercial in nature but may also contain masqueraded links that appear to be for familiar websites but in fact lead to phishing web sites or sites that are hosting malware. Never open emails from an unknown source. This is most common way for hackers to plant a virus in your system.
TIP 2: Create complex passwords
Creating strong and unique passwords for all your critical accounts is the best way to keep your personal and financial information safe. With the spread of corporate hacks, where one database breach can reveal tens of thousands of user passwords, if you reuse your passwords, a hacker can take the leaked data and use it to login to your other accounts. It is highly recommended to use a password manager to help you store and create strong passwords for all your accounts. Additionally, check to see if your online accounts offer multi-factor authentication. This is when multiple pieces of information are required to verify your identity. This would make it harder for hackers if your passwords have been stolen.
TIP 3: Practice Safe Surfing & Shopping
Each of us visit thousands of the websites in a month, but we don't know how many websites are harmful or useful to us. There is not a perfect parameter to check the trusted website. But if we have eyes on the URL, we can protect ourselves. When shopping online or visiting websites for online banking or other sensitive transactions, always make sure that the site's address starts with 'https' instead of just 'http', and has a padlock icon in the URL field. This indicates that the website is secure and uses encryption to scramble your data, so it can't be intercepted by others. Additionally, be on the lookout for websites that have misspellings or bad grammar in their addresses.
TIP 4: Be cautious of mobile downloads
Mobile devices face new risks through risky apps and dangerous links sent by text message. Be careful where you click, don't respond to messages from strangers, and only download apps from official app stores after reading other users' reviews first. Moreover, make sure that your security software is enabled on your mobile, just like your computers and other devices.
TIP 5: Update Software
Keep all your software updated so you have the latest security patches. Turn on automatic updates so you don't have to think about it, and make sure that your security software is set to run regular scans. The most at-risk computers are running software which has not been updated, and without up-to-date anti-virus software installed.
TIP 6: Keep your guard up and stay informed
Always be cautious about what you do online, which sites you visit, and what you share. These days, there are a lot of opportunities to share our personal information online. Just be cautious about what you share, particularly when it comes to your identity information. This can potentially be used to impersonate you or guess your passwords and logins. Use anti-virus security software, and make sure to back up your data on a regular basis in case something goes wrong. By taking preventative measures, you can save yourself from headaches later on. Additionally, online threats are evolving all the time, so make sure you know what to look out for. Currently 'ransomware' is on the rise. This is when a hacker threatens to lock you out of all of your files unless you agree to pay a ransom. Stay on top of this and other threats by staying informed.
Cyber Security training from QA
QA have uniquely positioned themselves to help solve the Cyber skills gap, from our CyberFirst and Cyber Apprenticeship programmes and Cyber Academies to Cyber Challenges, Training and Certifications and Consultancy for Cyber Security.
They offer end-to-end Cyber training and certifications from Cyber Awareness to deep dive Cyber Programmes and solutions; from Cyber Investigations, Cyber Crisis Management, Proactive Security to Offensive Defence. QA only employ world-leading Cyber trainers who have the expertise to deliver bespoke Cyber solutions, GCHQ accredited courses and proudly the CyberFirst programme. This is all to support tackling the UK's National Cyber Security skills shortage.
QA also have state-of-the-art CyberLabs, where companies can simulate real-life Cyber-attacks on their infrastructure, helping them to prevent & combat breaches without risking their own network.
Visit cyber.qa.com for more information on how they can help solve the Cyber Security skills gap.
James Aguilan works as a Cybersecurity Researcher. He has provided upskilling and development to Government Agencies, National Critical Infrastructures and Large Corporations through the simulation of cyber-attacks and forensic investigations workshops. In the past, James worked as a Data Consultant where he advised high profiling clients on how to handle their data in a Civil Litigation or Criminal Investigation. Notably, this includes the largest Merger between two US Powerhouse Conglomerate, a deal worth $87 billion. Additionally, he has also served as a Cybersecurity Consultant where he would Respond to Incidents and Perform Full Forensic Investigations. James holds a first-class honour in Computer Forensics and is actively working towards a Masters in Network Security and Penetration Testing.
More articles by James
Cyber Pulse: Edition 105
Cyber Pulse: Edition 104
Cyber Pulse: Edition 103
Cyber Pulse: Edition 102
Cyber Pulse: Edition 101
4 things you need to know about cyber security in 2020
How does Ransomware-as-a-Service work?
Phishing Campaigns: Defending organisations against phishing
Is Mr Robot a good representation of real-life hacking and hacking culture?
How do organisations demonstrate accountability for GDPR compliance?