The world wide web is a big place, but the majority of people only visit a handful of websites on a day to day basis. Unfortunately, this can be dangerous — but not for the reason you think.
When you spend the majority of your time on a select few websites scrolling through Facebook, checking your email, or reading the digital edition of The New York Times — it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security. Big websites like these spend millions of dollars on cyber security to hackers and ensure that their user data is safe. Even then, there are still breaches.
The real danger starts when you click away from these websites, even by accident.
Currently, there are roughly 1.9 billion websites live on the internet, many of which do not have your best interests at heart. As technology improves, hackers and other nefarious characters are finding more ways to use the internet for evil.
These are the 4 most important cyber security tips used by IT professionals everyday:
Tweak privacy settings to prevent sharing too much personal information.
Of course, you know not to share your address and social security number online, but it’s important to keep even seemingly benign information under wraps, too. Unfortunately, this information may be shared without your knowledge, as it is often used for marketing research.
Here are a few ways to do that:
- Control privacy by changing the privacy settings on your browser, mobile device, or social media sites
- Download a different browser that gives you more privacy like Brave Privacy Browser which is one of the best
- Use incognito mode in your browser
Use strong passwords that are hard to guess and different for every website.
Nowadays, hackers aren’t always human beings. Instead of a person sitting behind a computer trying to guess your password (hopefully, it’s not “password”), it may be a computer that can rapidly try different combinations of words and letters. For this reason, your passwords need to be impossible to guess — even more computers. Try using a password generator, which can generate strong passwords with random letters, numbers, and characters. This is one of our favorites: Secure Password Generator
You should also have a different password for every website. If your information is part of a cyber security breach, hackers can and will try your login information on other websites. If you are having trouble keeping track of all of your passwords, consider using a password manager.
One thing that will prevent hackers from accessing your accounts in the event of a security breach is using two factor authentication. This is where signing in with your password won’t just easily give them access to your accounts. It will ask for an additional step (sending a text message, clicking an authenticator app link, etc.) before letting anyone have access to your accounts.
As a business owner, it’s important that all of your business accounts are secure. There is a lot of money to be lost if a hacker gets access to any of your business accounts (social media included).
Don’t click links if you don’t know where they lead.
Trust your gut on this one. If the link looks suspicious, it probably is. Some websites may have domain names that look almost exactly like another safe website, but may have one letter misspelled or don’t begin with “https://”. Always double check that a link is legitimate.
One way to do this is by hovering over the link with your mouse pointer. If you are in a browser or email program you may see the address to the link at the bottom of your browser.
Use an antivirus program and always keep it up to date.
It’s easier to prevent a computer virus than it is to remove one. Antivirus programs do routine scans of your computer and stop viruses in their tracks. Some programs, like Windows Defender, may come with your computer at no extra cost.
However, antivirus programs aren’t able to work efficiently if they aren’t allowed to update and perform scans regularly. It’s important to make sure your antivirus program is always up to date and working properly at all times.
Need help increasing security for your business?
These are only a few of the tips you need to know to stay safe and protect your business. It can be complicated if you’re not an expert, but once you know your information is secure it will ease some of the stress connected to running a business.
If you need help making sure your information is secure and not at risk, we’d be happy to chat with you about it and give you an evaluation of the security of your accounts and your security practices.