The cybersecurity sector provides exceptional services and solutions to tackle the dangers that hackers and cybercriminals pose. These technologies, however, aren’t always sufficient to adequately secure our personal information. Human error is clearly a damaging attack vector for many common cybercrimes, hence raising cybersecurity awareness is the best method to avoid data breaches and malicious attacks. After all, proper training and education can be extremely effective in averting these crimes.
According to a recent report by Verizon Data Breach Investigations, human error is responsible for 85 percent of cyberattacks. This might include everything from visiting dangerous websites and clicking malicious links to using weak passwords or sharing them. Letting our guards down for just one moment is all it takes, since this is exactly what hackers and cyber criminals are looking for.
Lockdowns and quarantines have dramatically altered how people live their lives all around the world. From working to shopping for groceries, almost everything had to be done online, causing people to leave a wider digital footprint than ever before. Several hacker organizations were drawn to the growing volume of data being exchanged, looking for security weaknesses to exploit.
Working from home also became more common during the COVID-19 pandemic, accentuating several human vulnerabilities. People might be even less alert and cyber aware when they are at home in a comfortable environment. There is no security specialist on site that you can consult for a second opinion if you receive a suspicious email or to ask questions before sharing a file.
Given that human mistake is the leading cause of data breaches and other cyberattacks, it stands to reason that addressing and increasing cyber awareness is the most effective strategy to combat these threats.
But doing so isn’t as difficult as it may seem, and by making just a few simple changes to the way you browse the internet and some adjustments to your devices and accounts, you can keep your personal information safe and prevent your data from being stolen. You can secure yourself and your organization’s online information by taking the easy steps listed below.
Check for security features
One of the most efficient ways to increase online security and protect personal information is to only visit reliable and trustworthy websites, and always check for the security features employed to ensure that you’re navigating through safe networks.
To do that, always check whether the website uses HTTPS, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, which is a security extension used for secure communication over computer networks and the most used security protocol on the internet. HTTPS is employed to authenticate accesses, to protect privacy and integrity of exchanged data, as well as to protect against man-in-the-middle attacks and tampering.
All data transferred under this protocol is encrypted using several encryption methods such as Transport Layer Security, or TLS, and the RSA public-key cryptosystem, which guarantees web browsing privacy and protects personally identifiable information.
These methods are widely employed by banks, financial institutions, e-commerce websites, and even iGaming platforms such as STS Bet (one of the companies that recently launched operations in Canada).
Keep personal information to a minimum
Not giving out too much information on social media is an efficient strategy to safeguard your online privacy. Oversharing on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram might make it simpler for hackers to collect information that could lead to identity theft or financial fraud.
A cybercriminal, for example, could browse through your posts and tweets and discover your mother’s maiden name of the street you grew up on, which is exactly the kind of information that is frequently used to change passwords on several accounts.
Begin by disregarding the “About Me” sections of social media pages. You should not provide your birth year or location, or any other personal information that might make you a target for hackers. You could also test different privacy settings and limit who may view your posts and visit your profile.
Keep your accounts secure
Data breaches and password leaks have scared people all over the world in recent years, affecting industry titans such as Microsoft, Yahoo, and a bevy of other firms. If you have any online accounts, hackers have most certainly released data from at least one of them.
To avoid these leaks, you must use strong passwords and keep an eye on your accounts for security breaches. You should also consider utilizing a password manager to generate and remember unique, complex passwords for each account. Searching for your email address on websites like “Have I Been Pwned?”, a cross-reference platform that allows users to verify whether their personal data has been exposed, is a smart method to find out if any of your passwords was leaked.
Finally, two-step authentication is a vital feature for ensuring your privacy. Most banks, e-commerce platforms, email accounts, and major social networks provide this option; simply log in to your account and enter a temporary code issued to you by text message or email.