As the global community becomes more interconnected, so do our devices, finances and day-to-day activities. Given that the vast majority of people use the internet on a daily basis, interacting with many others through websites, apps and forums is becoming the norm. Unfortunately, these interactions pose the risk for vulnerabilities and potential losses.
It seems that very few days go by without news of a major corporate breach, where hundreds of thousands or even millions of user accounts and passwords are leaked. Likewise, many still are not taking cyber-security seriously, instead opting for repetitive and easily guessable passwords that leave them utterly vulnerable.
To safeguard against these trends, let’s look at how you can fully protect yourself against would-be hackers and thieves while operating in the digital realm.
Activate Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication works by using a combination of your username and password with a code sent to a separate device (like a cell phone). By verifying both the credentials for your account and ensuring that another device is also in your possession, the risks of having your account accessed surreptitiously are virtually eliminated. As such, adopting two-factor authentication wherever it is offered is crucial.
Analyze Your Devices
Many intrusions into your devices or accounts are caused by software, viruses and other forms of malware. Before you can properly secure your devices from theft, fraud and abuse, you must verify that there are no background activities that could be providing backdoor entry to thieves. There are many free computer forensic tools and antivirus solutions available that can verify and purge any unauthorized activity from your desktop, laptop, tablet or other mobile device.
Change Passwords Regularly
One of the most important things you can do to prevent unauthorized access of your devices, storage and finances is to ensure that passwords to sensitive accounts are changed regularly. By alternating passwords on a regular basis, you can ensure that various leaks or compromises of corporate entities don’t expose multiple accounts and devices to theft, fraud and abuse. Likewise, it should go without saying that you should never use the same password for more than one account or device.
Learn the Signs of Phishing
Last but not least, there are tricksters all over the internet seeking to gain access to your devices and information. One of the easiest ways to avoid potential pitfalls is to ensure that any phishing attempts are thwarted in their tracks. Phishing, simply put, is an attempt (usually by email but also via other means) to impersonate an authority in order to gain access to your personal information. Never reply to an email with account information or personal data, and always report any suspicious activity to the agency or agencies in question if you are in doubt as to the validity of the request for information. Learn about the various forms of phishing by clicking here.
Securing your devices often revolves around securing your personal accounts and information. By identifying phishing attempts up front, changing your passwords regularly, analyzing your devices for viruses and malware and utilizing two-factor authentication, you can be prepared for most any attack or access attempt of your computer, phone, tablet or other device.