“Congratulations! You have won $100000 in a lucky draw and if you want to receive the payment, please share your bank details.” We all are familiar with such types of fraud emails and messages. Some users know the wrong intention of hackers behind these activities while some end up giving their personal details and fall prey to cyber theft. Well, Welcome to the World of Cyber Crime!
Cyber-Age, a bane or a boon? Internet and computers, on one hand, have simplified our lives. But, on the other hand, they have posed security challenges to us. Cyber crimes are increasing day by day. Hackers are working day and night to find a loophole in security measures and dupe users to steal their sensitive information and money. Even big companies like Yahoo and LinkedIn couldn’t help themselves from being a victim of cybercrime.
Precaution is better than cure! This article discusses some of the safety measures that can help you, as a user, fight cybercrime.
- Strong Mix of Eight Characters– First things first, always make sure that your password is strong enough to protect you from security breaches and cyber attacks. Keep updating your password regularly and never use the same password for multiple sites. Strengthen your password by using good combinations of alphabets and numbers. Never disclose your password to anyone. Some people have a habit of writing their passwords on post-it notes. If you also do the same, then avoid it as soon as possible.
Always keep a protection lock on your device, be it your mobile, PC, or tablet, and never leave them unattended. Make sure to use your personal device while accessing any application or website and keep your password well encrypted. How secure is your password then?
- Use a Two-Step Verification System– It is an additional security measure that makes sure your account is safe and protected. This is how it works-
When you access your account from an unknown device, the system is activated. As the system does not know that if the person accessing the account is the real owner or a hacker, it will alert the account owner by sending an SMS containing a code. The user has to enter the code in order to access the account. Gmail uses such a two-step verification system.
- Think Before You Click– Practice safe clicking for happy browsing. At one point or another, we all have received unwanted spam emails disguised as an authentic one. Clicking on such spam email can leave you at risk. Never click on any attachment or URL that looks suspicious to use.
Spelling mistakes while typing a URL can also land you in trouble. Hackers use this strategy to redirect users to a harmful domain. Clicking on bogus online advertisements can also land you on fraudulent websites.
Never visit a website which is not protected by SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protocol, else your sensitive data might get stolen. Wondering, “How to know whether a website is SSL protected or not?” Relax, it’s very simple. Websites having SSL protocol will begin with https:// rather than HTTP://
- Safe Network Connection– No matter if you are using your friend’s hotspot or a coffee shop’s Wi-Fi to access the internet, make sure that the network is secured. In home or offices, you can implement a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection to safeguard your internet connection from the hackers. VPN connection protects your private network and extends it across a public network. Open public Wi-Fis are used by hackers in deploying spyware software on the connected devices. So, avoid using them.
- Data Backup– Backup your data regularly. This will help you recover your sensitive data from cyber attacks. Critical data, such as financial files, spreadsheets, databases, etc., should always be backed up either on a physical storage device or on the cloud. You can choose to back up your data regularly or weekly. In case you have fallen prey to any malicious attack, then you can easily recover the data from the storage space.
- Update Your Anti-Virus Regularly– Use a trusted anti-virus and update it regularly. While connecting any physical device to your computer, make sure to scan it first. Also, there are many anti-virus mobile applications available on the internet that can be used to protect your smartphone from harmful actions.
When you download an app, make sure to scan it first. If the mobile application is found to be faulty, delete it as soon as possible or restrict the app’s permission.
- Monitor Your Accounts– Never leave any of your accounts unattended for a long period of time. Monitor your accounts regularly to stay protected from suspicious activities. If you see any unfamiliar activity, then it might be a sign that you have been hacked. Ensure that your apps are upgraded.
- Safe Online Transactions- Do you often use internet banking? Beware, you might be looted. Don’t use an unsecured payment gateway and never reveal your ATM PIN to anyone. Never miss to check your banking statement timely and crosscheck it with your spending. If you find some mismatch, contact your bank urgently. Never respond to any fraud calls asking you to deliver your banking details.
- Reveal Less Information on Social Media– 2019 has witnessed a new scam named “Grandparent Scam” in which you get a call from cybercriminals claiming to be your grandchild and asking for money. This happens when you reveal too much information on social media. The less cyber convicts will know about you, the more you will be safe from cyber attacks. Revealing less information about yourself will make cybercriminals believe that yours is not a legitimate social media account. Be careful while using social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, etc., and do not accept friend requests from unknowns. Never disclose much information about yourself while chatting to a random person on such websites.
- Use Firewalls– Another important measure to stay protected from cyber convicts is by protecting your network through a firewall. A Firewall can be a software, hardware or a combination of hardware and software that protects your network connection from unauthorized access. Thus, your network stays protected from any unauthentic access outside the network.
Reading so far, you must have learned some of the best ways to stay protected from suspicious cyber attacks. Happy Internet Surfing!
About the Author:
Mira Smith is associated with Global Assignment Help as an academic writer and has helped many students by providing them assignment help. She has done her MS in Computer Science. Being a techno geek, she loves reading technical blogs and magazines.