Did you know that there was a 42% increase in targeted attacks on internet security in 2012? According to a report published by Symantec, not only were attacks on the rise but the number of phishing sites spoofing social networks also increased by 125% last year. The black market trade of digital security information is developing at an alarming rate and poses a significant threat for home users, businesses, and even governments worldwide.
It’s tempting to imagine that enhancements to modern technology have all but eradicated threats to online security; however cyber criminals now have more opportunity than ever before to access your data. The first thing you need to do to protect yourself online is to evaluate your personal security measures, which you can do by taking a digital security quiz. Once you have identified potential threats, you can start to take action.
1. Preventative Measures
Prevention is the quickest and easiest way to defend your devices and data. There are a wide variety of free anti-virus and security software programs available to help protect your PC or laptop.
2. Password Protection
Ensure that you set up strong passwords for all devices you use to access the internet, and keep them protected at all times. If your work phone or laptop comes with a pre-set password, change it to one that is personal to you. Similarly, ensure all accounts you create on the internet also have their own separate passwords. Avoid using common password combinations such as your child or partner’s name, your city, or favorite football team. Doing so could offer cyber criminals all too easy access to your information.
3. Safeguard your Phone
According to a recent NBC news report specific threats to smartphones are on the rise as hackers become more sophisticated. Websites set up to send hoax texts, viruses that can scrape your contacts, call logs, images and messages, as well as data skimming schemes are just some of the risks attached to smartphone ownership. Installing a mobile security app will help you protect your device.
4. Social Media Safety
Check the personal information displayed on all social media sites you use and remove or make private anything that could potentially be used for cyber-crime. Your date of birth, phone number, email and home address can easily be exploited for internet fraud and theft. Look out for suspicious email requests from social media sites or contacts as these may be phishing scams or contain viruses.
5. Public Access
As convenient as it may seem to access the internet while on the move or in a shared space such as a library or coffee shop, it is particularly important to safeguard your information when using a public connection. Avoiding use of financial information, ensuring you log out of any email or other accounts you access and deleting your search history are just some of the ways you can prevent threats.
6. Regular Updates
Consumers know that technology evolves quickly, with new developments in hardware and software being launched all the time. It’s the same for hackers and thieves who are working silently behind the scenes continually seeking new ways to hack into internet security systems without detection. Once you are sure that you have protected your information on all of your devices, review your online security measures regularly and update anti-virus software, security programs and apps as often as possible.
The battle to keep cyber-crime at bay does not look likely to go away anytime soon so it’s vital that you take your internet security seriously and get protected before it’s too late.