Top Cyber Hygiene Tips to Keep You Safe Online

Cyber crimes are nothing new – with each passing day, scammers are looking for the best signals and trails to follow online. Do you think you’re not worth a target for cyber scammers? Think again!

Whenever you’re online, at home, at work, or commuting, you’re exposed to hackers. Here’s the thing: online cons don’t necessarily have to know your account balance to want to make you a target. Your financial data, your identity, and whatever that’s in your email are all they want. In fact, hackers cast a net as wide as possible to ensure that they get to anyone – they’re just counting on you, thinking that you’re not a target.

So, what can you do to reduce your chances of becoming a cyber-scam victim?

Well, the solution is quite simple; you need to employ efficient cyber hygiene practices whenever you’re connected to the internet.

What’s Cyber Hygiene?

Cyber hygiene is merely anything that helps train you to have good habits when it comes to cyber security. There are steps that you can take around your computers or any electronic gadget to protect yourself from cyberattacks. The practices help you improve online safety and offer protection against fraud.

Ideally, cyber hygiene is simply adopting all the good practices online. Just like how you shower as well as brush your teeth every morning you wake, you need to have an excellent cyber hygiene routine. That means you should be critical about the data you share online and with whom you share it.

But why is cyber hygiene important?

Significance of Cyber Hygiene

Just as exercise, nutrition, and personal hygiene help protect one’s physical well-being, cyber-hygiene helps to keep your entire online life healthy. In totality, good cyber hygiene can help in a plethora of things like:

  • Keep your sensitive information safe
  • Keep your online banking accounts safe
  • Safeguard all your web browsers as well as Wi-Fi networks secure from man-in-the-middle attacks
  • Help protect your devices from viruses and hacks
  • Reduce or prevent the effectiveness of ransomware
  • Can help a business better reputation as well as customer trust
  • Help lower the cost of recovery from a cyber-attack
  • Compliance with regulations

Common Cyber Hygiene Problems

You could be encountering some cybersecurity hygiene problems even without you realizing it. There are several entry points for malicious software, and you’ll be tasked to deal with a plethora of security incidents.

Before we dive into the best cyber hygiene practices, here are some of the common cyber hygiene problems that you should be aware of to help you be on the front foot:

  • Out-of-date software – it’s significant to keep software and hardware up-to-date with all the latest software patches. Otherwise, it can leave you vulnerable to the online attacks.
  • Data loss – if you don’t securely back up data at regular intervals, it can be vulnerable to attacks. Besides, data can also be lost via leaks, corruption, and breaches.
  • Security breaches – data breaches grow in numbers each passing day. It could be a result of poor network security, poor data storage, or something entirely different. A data breach can damage a business’s reputation.
  • Outdated cybersecurity software – malicious actors constantly discover new vulnerabilities, even in the software that has existed for years. Therefore, to ensure that you’re not exposed, you should ensure that all your security software, like VPN and antivirus software, is kept up-to-date.

Now you understand what cyberattacks can do. But how do you avoid a cyber threat?

It’s easy; you just need to have a proper cyber hygiene routine!

Here are some of the top cyber hygiene practices that will guarantee safe online browsing.

Top-Rated Cyber Hygiene Tips to Improve Your Online Safety

Cybersecurity is a top-notch and crucial step to take with the drastic motive of securing your individual information and cyber hygiene at large. It may seem a tedious process, but of essence.  And since you don’t want your information available to prying malicious snares, it is crucial that you try out tools and techniques.

1. Use Strong Passwords

Choosing an easy password is like locking your front door and hanging the key on the doorknob – anyone can seamlessly get in.

However, using secure passwords ensures inaccessibility to your data. Therefore, you should ensure that you create not only a complex password but also unique and long for all devices you use from time to time.

For future reference, you should consider storing your passwords securely using a password manager.  A password manager means you don’t have to remember all the passwords. Also, ensure that you keep your passwords safe by avoiding sharing; it’s an important step to protect yourself from scammers.

Ideally, a strong password should contain at least 15 characters, which has never been used anywhere and should be randomly generated. Besides, ensure that you don’t recycle a similar password across your websites and apps.

2. Update Software Regularly

Often, programmers come up with new updates whenever they suspect any form of malicious work taking place. Sometimes, it’s necessary when they introduce new things to the technology. Therefore, you should stay up-to-date with all the software, operating systems, third-party apps, and web browser updates.

The updates help to correct all the new known vulnerabilities as much as security is conserved. Setting up an automatic software update feature will improve your work, as it ensures that you’ll always operate on the latest protection protocols.

3. Install a Network Firewall

Network firewalls are merely security software that protect your devices from worms, viruses, Trojans, and all kinds of malware. Ideally, they scan everything that goes into your device and can easily discern whether harmful or not. When it senses anything dangerous, the appropriate file is erased.

Using firewall software has diverse benefits: stops virus attacks, prevents accessibility from unauthorized activities, and compromises all kinds of malware practices. Some computers come with a firewall; therefore have to check in the settings if it is on by default.

For instance, in a Windows 10 device, you can easily navigate to settings by simply typing “Firewall” in the search bar on the start menu, and you’re in. While Windows computers have a preinstalled firewall, you can install one yourself.

Moreover, Macs come with a firewall as well by default. It’s hinted that the malware that affects Mac has decreased. However, the Mac software firewall is usually disabled by default, so it should be enabled manually.

4. Utilize the Best Antivirus

It should be a no-brainer to browse the internet with an anti-virus. It should be the first step to ensuring good cyber hygiene. Besides, a good antivirus is probably the most significant canopy of programs designed for compromising all malicious snares, security breaches, and other cyber threats. It’s a crucial tool that ensures complete online security and safety; they check for malicious software, harmful files, and suspicious web pages.

However, you should ensure that you choose the best antivirus. For instance, a good antivirus should include the best system usage and excellent privacy policy, and its pricing should be affordable. Nevertheless, you should not always choose a cheaper antivirus if it makes your device slower.

5. Enable Multi Factor Authentication

Two-step factor authentication is an excellent cyber hygiene practice that you should consider if you want to stay safe and private on the internet. It’s basically opting into some extra step whenever trusted apps and websites ask to confirm whether you’re who you say you are.

For instance, your social media network, your bank, and your workplace want to ensure that you’re trying to access your information. Therefore, the system double-checks by asking something that you only might know.

6. Think Before You Click

There is a high chance that most links or attachments you come across online contain malicious content. Have you ever come across a link that somehow looks off? It might seem like something you’ve encountered before, but now it asks you to enter or change a password.

Some links are from your boss, email, bank, your best friend, and several other sources that you could believe. However, that could be a phishing scheme, a link looking legitimate but, in the real sense, a trick that’s designed to have you reveal your personal information.

Therefore, if you receive a link that you don’t recognize its source, just trust your instincts, and before you click on it, think again – don’t open attachments blindly.

7. Back-Up Your Data

As a rule of thumb, always have a soft copy of all your documents. That way, it helps you to find your documents in case your device is lost or stolen. Moreover, it will help you retrieve that information if you become a phishing victim.

Just keep an offline backup – a cloud app can do the magic. If you make the updates on an external hard drive connected to an already infected device, your data could still be compromised.

8. Clean Your Hard Drive

If you’re looking to sell your tablet, laptop, or smartphone, it’s important to ensure that all your sensitive or personal information doesn’t get into the wrong hands. Besides, if the device is hacked, a cleaned hard drive only means less information would be accessed.

Therefore, you should always clean your hard drive before passing it along. However, just deleting files might not be enough – significantly, you reformat and then wipe clean your hard drive.

9. Deploy Device Encryption

Encryption is another cyber hygiene that you need to keep in mind. Ensure that you use reliable encryption software to protect your sensitive information from hackers. Encryption ensures the integrity of personal data within all your devices.

Some apps use end-to-end encryption, meaning your data is protected against any sort of cyberattack.

10. Use a Secure VPN

Apart from ensuring that your computer is protected with software, securing your entire internet connection is also significant. For instance, Wi-Fi networks (public) aren’t always safe, so you need to stay protected in such scenarios.

The best way to protect your internet connection is with a VPN (Virtual Private Network). A VPN keeps you anonymous online and protects your data securely and safely. ExtremeVPN is one of the most secure VPNs for complete online anonymity.

Conclusion

The world is now increasingly digital and very much connected. Therefore, while you must protect yourself, it’s significant that you become cyber-smart. Cyber hygiene helps keep your online space secure and private. Just like your morning showering and brushing your teeth, you should make cyber hygiene a routine; that way, you can be assured of online safety.

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