Security Now: The Importance of User Awareness
There’s no question that our personal property and our privacy, are precious to us. If we pull all the stops to guard these aspects of our lives, our digital life should have the same degree of security and protection, especially when we spend a lot of time online. Because of the open nature of the Internet, users are likely to encounter online security risks every day. While the Internet has empowered significant advances in social, technological, and economic advancement, it has also become a place where people and things inevitably face various online threats such as social engineering lures, mobile threats, identity theft, cyberbullying and exploitation, malware, and rogue security software.
Our idea of “secure” should reflect the reality that there will always be threats and vulnerabilities, and the first step to ensuring online safety is to be aware about the different kinds of threats and the ever-changing threat landscape. Users should also know how to implement proper best practices to prevent becoming a victim of online threats. While times are changing, your online safety should be top priority and it’s important to develop a good security mindset and user awareness. Here's how you can protect yourself online:
Don’t overshare on social media- given that the purpose of social media is to share, there’s a fine line between sharing and oversharing. The latter will not only make your connections think twice about unfriending you, but cybercriminals can use all the information you voluntarily posted online to get clues on your whereabouts and your personal details, including that of the people in your network. With that being said, it’s always wiser to keep personal posts private, or offline altogether.
Better, and more complex passwords – one of the most crucial ways to prevent a likely attack is to use longer passwords that are harder to guess. Additionally, don’t use the same passwords on all your accounts as this makes it easier for cybercriminals to break into them. Using a password manager if can help reduce the hassle of generating passwords and remembering them.
Use a secure network – though it seems harmless to connect to public WiFi, it’s wise to connect to a secure network. Before you connect, verify first that the WiFi network is from a legitimate service. If possible, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to allow you to route your activities through a secure private network.
Update your browser and operating system – though most software have auto update functions, you should still double check and make sure that your operating systems and browsers are running on current versions. Cybercriminals are keen on exploiting vulnerabilities found in old or outdated software and applications.
Use security software – this essentially means adhering to the basics of overall security. Good security software can strengthen your online security with the proper solutions.
Secure your mobile devices – whether you’re browsing, shopping, or paying through your mobile device, your security must be your first concern. Remember that attackers target mobile platforms because they're convenient and popular. Unsafe user habits can lead not only to personal loss; mobiles that are used for business purposes can also be compromised, allowing an attacker to access company data.
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