Protecting personal information has become pretty overwhelming since COVID hit. Although people used to share their personal data before the pandemic, it is now more challenging to control it. After all, our lives have become a part of the multiverse where nothing is predictable.
Unfortunately, most users take cybersecurity for granted. The lack of adequate protection measures and browsing the Internet recklessly can result in severe consequences that could affect the user’s privacy and security in the long run.
It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use the Internet to download files, share documents, or log in to your accounts. But you need to do it with precaution and protection measures in place.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the 5 best strategies for safeguarding your information and taking your overall security to new heights. Are you ready?
1. Secure Your Sensitive Accounts
During the last couple of years, the number of data breaches has significantly increased. It affected not only the private users but also world-known companies, which suffered substantial money loss. Data breaches may occur due to the lack of essential cybersecurity measures, especially weak passwords.
The truth is that users create “poor” passwords when trying to protect their sensitive accounts. A series of numbers like 123456 is one of the most commonly used passwords, which means that it’s not that hard to crack it. It also means that you shouldn’t use it.
Other examples include birthdays, pet names, or simply “password.” Truth be told, no one can be that creative to think of a series of random numbers, letters, and special characters and be capable of remembering all that. That’s what password managers are for. A password manager allows you to generate a strong, impossible-to-break password for your sensitive accounts. And you don’t even have to remember it – the tool saves your passwords in a safe and secure manner, without allowing anyone to see them.
By securing your sensitive accounts, you’re reducing the risk of data breaches, identity thefts, and other inconveniences resulting from cyber incidents. It’s recommended to regularly update all your passwords on both personal and office computers to ensure no one but you can access your sensitive information even when you’re away.
2. Apply Two-Step Authentication
It’s highly recommended to add an extra layer of security to your passwords. And you can do that by implementing two-step authentication, which is a popular method for strengthening your protection.
As its name suggests, two-step authentication requires two steps before granting access to the particular account – the first step is entering the password, and the second is usually entering the code you received in a text message or email. More complex methods may require a fingerprint, a retinal scan, or a similar step to prove that you’re the one trying to access sensitive data.
3. Install Antivirus Software
Antivirus is still one of the key components of the computer’s optimal protection. It works in the background, looking for potential threats that could jeopardize your privacy or detecting malicious software you accidentally downloaded on your device. Once it identifies malware, it notifies you so that you can decide what to do with that.
A virus can enter your system in different ways – by clicking on shady links, through an infected USB flash drive, etc. To prevent any severe incident resulting from the virus, it’s essential to install reliable antivirus software on your Windows PC and ensure that your valuable data is safe and sound. Besides, antivirus is a necessary tool for those who share their computers with the rest of the household.
Advanced antivirus programs can detect and prevent different types of sophisticated cyber-attacks, including phishing. Once installed on your device, it will notify you in case you enter a suspicious website or receive a deceiving email. Overall, it’s worthwhile setting it up.
4. Use VPN When Browsing the Web
Virtual Private Network, better known as VPN, works by encrypting your Internet connection and protecting you from the most complex online scams. VPN creates a tunnel where the data you send through the Internet connection becomes unreadable to hackers, advertisers, or website owners. That said, it hides your actual location and thus prevents you from being targeted by annoying advertising campaigns or cybercriminals.
Depending on your goals and budget, you can choose between a free or paid VPN. While both solutions offer substantial levels of protection, free versions tend to be limited in terms of features and might significantly slow your Internet connection.
Either way, using a VPN as an extra layer of protection can prevent you from becoming a victim of data loss, information leaks, or identity theft. Think of it as The Cloak of Invisibility Harry Potter wore – wear it, and no one will harm you while browsing the web!
5. Avoid HTTP Sites
Ever since Google started prioritizing websites starting with HTTPS, you can’t find a lot of unprotected web pages (HTTP). However, they still exist, and hackers still use them to exploit their malicious activities.
When you see the website starting with HTTPS, it means that the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate has been installed there. The SSL certificate uses encryption to protect the communication between a client and a server, ensuring a third party cannot read it. It allows users to enter their personal data there with peace of mind, making sure no one can access it or steal it.
On the other hand, sites lacking the SSL certificate open the door for security breaches and other potentially severe cyber incidents. Hackers often use those unprotected sites to exploit their attacks and steal the user’s sensitive data, including Social Security Number, financial information, and login credentials. Therefore, never leave your personal information on websites starting with HTTP.
Although we can’t always prevent cyber threats, we can implement some strategies to mitigate risks and protect our personal information from hackers who can take advantage of any vulnerability in our systems. We hope that the 5 methods we shared will help you safeguard your PC and understand that cybersecurity should not be overlooked in these times of uncertainty.
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