The internet is full of opportunities and data regarding all sorts of subjects. With the never-ending sources of information and constant browsing comes risks of data breaches and cyber-attacks: fraud, identity theft, phishing, IP theft, or unauthorized accesses are the popular attacks that scammers and hackers instigate online. The real question is – what’s the origin and the reason behind these digital scams?
Let’s find out the answers and the top 5 ways to improve your safety online:
1. Upgrade password security
No matter if you’re using business accounts at work or just scrolling through social media for fun at home, all of your accounts should be secure. The first step to achieving this goal is to set strong passwords which can’t be recycled — using the same password combination more than once automatically exposes you or your business to data breaches. If the hacker figures out one password, they hit the jackpot and gain access to other accounts and every application in your system.
To avoid this dangerous threat, use longer passwords and include capital letters, digits. In general, passwords should be at least 8 characters in length. To make this easier, use easy-to-remember phrases, but don’t use very primitive things like your pet’s name, especially if you post about your family or pets online. Hackers tend to stalk and target certain social media profiles and gather the data for months before they strike with their attack.
Despite that, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and sometimes, passwords aren’t enough to secure your safety on the internet and that’s not just the safety of your PC or tablet. Many people now have an internet connected car, cybersecurity has never been more important! You can keep away from such risks by setting multi-layer security, such as Two-factor authentication (2FA). It’s not a secret that mobile devices and our online lives are magnets for criminals. The extra security level of protection from 2FA battles fraud in a user-friendly way. Usually, this method requires you to enter a PIN, answer a security question, or use biometrics, such as fingerprints or voice scans. Of course, you’d need to use a smartphone as well.
2. Backup data
Believe it or not, according to Norton, 30 % of people have never backed up a device in their life. Basically, this is a nightmare for cybersecurity experts, especially while the same report shows that one of ten computers are affected with viruses each month which, of course, leads to data breaches. A backup strategy shouldn’t be forgotten, it needs to be prioritized as part of your daily cyber hygiene.
Backing up vita information helps a lot, especially if you lose your phone, laptop, or a similar device carrying valuable data. Such matter happens more often than you think, as each year, according to Kensington, at least 70 million cell phones are lost globally. Emails, documents, spreadsheets, financial databases, or even music files and pictures should be backed up. The standard way to achieve this and secure your data is to copy the details to external hard drives, cloud storage, or removable media, such as USBs. Once that’s done, you’re already one step ahead in the cybersecurity game.
3. Detect Proxies
While proxies originally were used for the greater good, they’ve earned a bad reputation over the years due to cybercriminals and their bad intentions. Proxies are anonymous IPs that hide your identity. At first glance, such an option sounds good, especially when you want to stay incognito and be low-key while surfing online. On the other hand, many, especially businesses, struggle with proxies, as it’s not easy to determine which proxies are good and which aren’t.
Since not all proxies are equal, the anonymity factor might hurt you. By using a proxy server, you’re surrendering your IP address to the proxy, a larger computer, to use it as a substitute to visit other websites. In this case, the user stays anonymous to other websites but not to the proxy. It leaves you in a risky position since the data often travels in an unencrypted format while using a proxy server. That’s why anyone could see and easily target your sensitive information, such as credit card details and passwords.
The worst part about bad proxies is the fact that fraudsters use them to hide their identity and conduct crimes online. It’s easy not to get detected because proxies protect hackers – they appear as different users every time. To stop data breaches and prevent identity theft, especially for businesses, you can implement a special VPN & Proxy IP Detection Tool and increase your security level. Such accurate proxy detection services are designed to detect bad proxies and anonymous IPs; this way, protecting you and your business from hackers and unwanted, compromised users who hide their true intentions and identity behind a computer screen. The algorithm detects all sorts of connections and risky users ensuring that only users from approved locations access your services safely.
4. Be aware of phishing
Think before you click is a great rule when it comes to phishing attacks. Usually, the malicious message is sent via email, impersonating a reputable source to steal sensitive data or install malware. You should always check the contents of the received message. Sometimes, phishing emails come with grammatical or factual mistakes, which raise major red flags so don’t click the link if you have doubts about the sender.
Did you know that malicious links can be sent from friends who have been infected too? To avoid falling into the fraudsters’ traps isn’t easy – you need to be suspicious of emails or possible phishing phone calls. The next step is to educate and train yourself. As a business owner, the key factor in proper risk management is training and informing the staff about phishing and all the potential fraud patterns.
5. Set clear controls
Data breach prevention and the importance of cybersecurity is not a trend, and it should include everyone – from IT experts to standard internet users. You can’t be careful enough online. Even children using a tablet at home can be a risk. That’s why the go-to way to risk management is to detect potential vulnerabilities and set controls.
According to IBM, a zero-trust approach reduces the average cost of a breach by $1.76 million. By showing that you understand how cybercriminals operate and gain access to unauthorized data, you reduce the risks of actual fraud. For this reason, it’s essential to update your security software, anti-virus system, use high-grade encryption for your data, and implement monitoring tools or firewalls.
All of these practices set the best protection against engineered attacks. Fraudsters are getting wiser and are constantly working on their scamming tricks, so you should be sticking to learning new trends regarding cybersecurity. Don’t worry; since you’ve read the article, you’re now one step closer in this journey of fraud prevention and know how to protect your personal details online.