Whether you are a techie or not, there’s a fair chance that your life is highly reliant on the internet and its wonders. Your social media accounts are likely humming, and you know your way around the IoT devices you use. All of these devices connect you to the cyber world in one way or another. Here are 12 things to know about cybersecurity.
And when you are sharing so much of your data online daily, you might as well care about your cybersecurity. If you’ve always thought cybersecurity is something only big companies need to care about — change your mind, now.
Cybersecurity is as critical on a personal level, as it is on a company’s level. Besides, there’s hardly any job or profession, that is not based on technology. With jobs or a career in mind, you need to know what threatens your security online and what you can do to keep your data secure.
HOW ARE YOU LOSING YOUR DATA?
To understand how to secure your data, first understand the pathways through which you are losing your data. Data is often lost due to your lack of knowledge and prevention on your part. Take preventive care now so that your data will not be lost.
Ever noticed how some internet links have https while some only have HTTP in their URL? The difference here is that the former indicates a more secure URL compared to the latter. Entering sensitive information like your bank or personal details on a site with HTTP in the URL can cause your data to be easily stolen.
Most people have known this fact for years — but note that some of the “http” is sneaking back onto the internet without any of us paying attention.
How often do we get messages and emails telling us we won a jackpot of millions that’s just a few clicks away? This one is easy, and most are aware — but there are other spam message traps. Don’t let your information be sold on unauthorized sites for mere pennies to be used by someone who means to cause you harm.
Ever wondered why most apps ask for so many permissions to run smoothly? Well, you might want to consider before pressing “yes” next time. Look at the studies that have been conducted. According to most studies — the stats line up — around 90% Android applications and nearly 40% IOS applications collect as well as sell the data they gain due to these permissions.
Weak Privacy Precautions
Any device lacking proper protection is more prone to malware and other similar data threats. Not installing updates of apps on time leaves your device more prone to damage through malware. Generally, outdated devices are targeted first. Not just that, a lack of email protection can also cause a more significant number of spam messages targeting you.
WHAT CYBER THREATENS YOU?
Nice pun, right?
Well, back to the point.
Here are a few threats to your data in the cyber world. Though the list doesn’t contain all the threats, the major ones you need to look out for have been mentioned.
Malware and Ransomware
Both are essentially the same, but they differ slightly.
Malware is usually a malicious software program that usually enters the device through third-party apps, and the malware is hosted on that site. Once in your device, it can gain unauthorized access to your data, perform forced actions, and even harm and clear your data. Malware includes worms, trojan horses, viruses, etc.
Ransomware is essentially a Malware that asks you for money to access your own data threatening its loss.
Those emails and messages are asking you to claim your jackpot or validate an account you never made, all these lead to phishing. Validating accounts you have made — the same thing applies. Is someone asking you to confirm your health care? Call them back — or get on a secure site separately. But don’t validate on a request email or call.
What happens is that once you click the link on these messages, you are directed to a seemingly official site. These ask you to enter sensitive information like your bank account details, passwords, etc. to update or validate your account. Don’t. Don’t enter a contest or take part in any “easy money making” contest.
Once you enter this information, it falls into the prying hands to misuse as they please. These target people through spams.
Hacking and Spyware
Hacking is when someone or something gains unauthorized access to your data, gaining access to all your information, including your private information, with the goal in mind to cause damage to you. Data can be sold or misused. Your data can be injected with harmful files or apps on any of your devices. Your social media accounts are always at stake of hacking or a breach, which can cause you a lot of data loss.
- Spyware refers to a program that is often installed without consent with a free download file. It collects information, everything including contact list, browser history, settings, device version, and sends to third parties. It can also alter the way your device runs or uncontrollable pop-up ads or open random windows on the browser.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE
There are no strict enough laws to protect your privacy online. There is no way you can save your data once its gone. Protecting your data before we lose it, is the best we can do. Here are a few preventions I suggest you take care of.
Protection is a must.
Frankly, this one is a given. You need to protect everything that contains your data; your device, your accounts, your email service, EVERYTHING! Installing a good anti-virus from a trusted source for your device paces up your email safety. Ensure good passwords to secure your accounts –and don’t leave these on your phone.
Spams are scams. Don’t fall for them.
Do not ever share any information regarding you on insecure links. These may or may not be leading from spam messages and emails — just don’t give information on these sites — ever. Don’t fall for the various traps they lay. Remember the ‘s’ in the URL that we talked about earlier.
Stay updated and Backed-Up.
Remember to keep all your applications as well as your device updated to the current version of the specific device or application. These updates often include better ways to ensure the security of your data, making you less prone to losing it. Also, get a backup for your data to help you in case you ever lose it to any of the threats. Put it on your calendar — back-up all of your information on the first Sunday of every month — or the third Thursday every month. Just back-up.
Think before permitting any application to access your files and other sensitive information. Yes — this is how malware enters devices in more than 90% cases. Also, many many apps sell your data. So, don’t put your data at stake for momentary ease.
Think before you post.
Posting every speck of information about your life is not a rule. And talk about danger to children!!! Stop telling me everything about your kid. It’s dangerous. Even though it’s nice to share your life’s happiness online with your friends — stop yourself from being addicted to sharing on social media platforms. The social media platforms are massive and they are collecting and recording every ounce of your data. Your data can easily be stolen, and you can be monitored.
A CONCRETE SOLUTION
There is not a complete cure to ensure your cybersecurity. There is but one way for you to ensure that your data is neither misused or stolen.
Think about getting a piece of the internet for your own by owning your data and storing your data in your own space that is accessible to you and you only. This way it can’t be accessed, stolen or misused by anyone else. Everyone can get a digital home for themselves — and this might be what we all eventually have to do. Look for the how-to — on a secure site — online.
Cybersecurity is something that affects people on both individuals as well as mass level. Take the time to gain, at least, basic knowledge about security. Help your children, parents, and grandparents — they are very vulnerable. Take time to ensure your own security in the cyber world.
As we are more and more reliant on technology in our world each day — we need to take precautions and look for stronger solutions to ensure cybersecurity for everyone.