Cyber Security :10 Easy steps to protect yourself from cyber attacks

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cybersafety

 

We are living in a digital world today and cyber security is becoming a very significant issue. Before we dive into it we need to know what cyber security is: Cyber security is the body of technologies, processes and practices designed to protect networks, computers, even our mobile phones ,programs, websites and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access. Cyber-crimes are increasing and becoming very common nowadays. These crimes are affecting both small and big organization including Banks, Hospitals, Government Institutions, individuals etc. Do you really think you will be free from these types of cyber-attacks?. At CIRT Technologies, we always ensure our clients and friends stay updated with technology trends that should be taken seriously and we have put together 10 easy to achieve steps to protect yourself and your organization from some of these attacks. So let`s unwrap the 10 steps in the cyber security package!

Here’s what to do for protecting yourself online.

1. Instead of using ‘Passwords’, Use ‘Passphrases’ for Different websites

Using computers and similar devices to go online has made everyday activities such as shopping, banking, paying bills and keeping in touch fast and easy … anytime, anywhere. Most of these require you to sign up by inputting your preferred password, email and some ask for your credit card details.

How do you protect your details?

Use different user ID`s (names)/password combinations for different accounts and avoid writing them down. Create passwords that are not easy to crack by combining Lower case and upper case characters, numbers and special characters [email protected],?,_etc. .If you think its hard for you to remember complicated passwords then focus on using para-phrases .For example you can come up with one like “IHateMy2Neighbours” . It sounds crazy but who will even guess that you hate your two neighbors.

I know you visit very many websites and they require you to enter your login details, my advice is you create unique passwords for all the websites you visit .You can achieve this by coming with a format i.e. “[email protected]” . Am assuming you are creating a password for your ebay account. The Mi stands for “my” and $$ stands for ss in the word password and 4791 is not just any random number ,it can be your date of birth in reverse order. So the format is [email protected] You can come up with other good formats as you prefer.

2. Guard Your Personal Information

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When you`re using an online shopping website or mobile app, it is not so unusual for you to enter your credit card details. Make sure the website your sharing this information with is highly secure.

Don`t respond to requests for personal or account information online (or  phone call). You may be asked to enter your social security number as an identifier when signing up for something online, ask if you can provide alternate information.

Watch out for convincing imitations of banks, card companies, charities and government agencies. I have personally received such imitations several times for example i sometimes i receive emails telling me I can become an American citizen after paying a certain amount of money and in order for me to get that opportunity I need to enter my credit card details. So be careful with such messages   . Also Use legitimate sources of contact information to verify requests for information, such as your financial institution’s official website or the telephone number listed on statements.

3. Secure your computer/laptop physically

Activating your firewall

What is a firewall? A Firewall a software that monitors all the incoming and outgoing traffic towards your computer. Operating systems come with an inbuilt firewall and some anti viruses do come with one.  If your antivirus doesn’t include a firewall, make sure you have windows firewall ‘Activated’.  For performance reasons please don’t activate both firewalls at the same time because of some reasons I may not get into. Wait for our next article on how to activate a windows and antivirus firewalls from different antivirus providers.

4. Don’t Overshare information about you

Don’t reveal your birth date, mother’s maiden name, pet’s name or any other identifying information on social media websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter and other social networks. This information may be used in aiding the attack.

5. Never upload your personal data ‘unencrypted’ to dropbox,google drive and any online file sharing services.

unencrypteddata

File sharing service providers keep your data securely but don`t be convinced they are hundred percent secure, am sure you heard some of these companies`s servers have been hacked before. To  make sure your data is safe you need to encrypt it before you upload. If you`re using windows, you can use bitlocker, VeraCrypt (Windows/OS X/Linux) to encrypt  important data!

You can use the above software to encrypt your data before you upload your important data.

6.Crosscheck your Social-Media security settings

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We spend a lot of time on social media and interact with different people which means we share information with these people.

Make sure your social networking profiles (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram , google+ etc.) are set to private. Check your security settings. Don`t post sensitive information about you online.

7. Do not click on email links or attachments you do not recognize

emailphishingMalware – a malicious piece of code – could get on your machine when you open an attachment or link.

Clicking on unfamiliar links may lead to “phishing” sites that harvest usernames and passwords.

Pay attention to suspicious emails as more and more hackers are getting creative in the way they write them.

You may receive an email telling you have won $5,000,000 dollars but you need to provide some information before you claim it

Be careful with such emails as they may take your information and steal your funds.

8. Keep your system Up to Date

Keep your operating system updated, the updates come with security patches that are aimed at protecting you. Keep your antivirus up to date too.

9. Check your bank statements regularly.

Check your bank statements regularly for any suspicious activities and as soon as you spot one inform your bank about it.

Signup for alerts so that you receive updates on each and every transaction that happens on your account. These can be mobile or email alerts.

10. Enable two factor authentication

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Most websites nowadays have an option for a two factor authentication i.e. google,facebook and many other websites provide you with an option  where they  send you a code on your mobile phone .This means without your phone no one can log into your account.

Conclusion

We have covered most of the measures you can take to protect yourself online .There are many other things you can do to achieve online protection .

Feel free to comment with other measures we may not have covered.