Top 10 Cybersecurity Resolutions For 2021 | Stay Private
There is nothing 100% safe as long as you are on the internet. With hacks, scams, malware, the internet can feel like a dangerous place these days. However, implementing a small handful of security measures we can greatly reduce our exposure to all these threats. So, here are our top 10 cybersecurity resolutions for 2021.
Beware Of Public WiFi
Public Wi-Fi networks may be convenient to use and have become the norm, but hackers may be able to view your online activity while you’re browsing on these unsecured networks. If you have connected to the network previously, then your smart phone may automatically connect when you are not even aware.
This information can be used to hijack your personal accounts or steal sensitive information. In a public space, restaurant, or even your favorite coffee shop, the hacker may be sitting right next to you, and watching your every cyber move. Never access your financial accounts on a public Wi-Fi network!
Avoid Public USB Charging Stations
Although the charging system is offered as a courtesy and is convenient, cybercriminals have figured out how to implant malware into charging cables, and how to hack into USB charging stations in shopping malls and airports. Be sure to bring your own charging cable and power adapter.
Consider Using A VPN
VPN creates a virtual encrypted tunnel between you and a remote server operated by a VPN service. All external internet traffic is routed through this tunnel, so your data is secure from prying eyes. Best of all, your computer appears to have the IP address of the VPN server, masking your identity. When your data reaches the VPN server, it exits onto the public internet. If the site you’re heading to uses HTTPS to secure the connection, you’re still secure. But even if it was intercepted, it’s difficult to trace the data back to you, since it appears to be coming from the VPN server.
Always Use Encrypted Messaging App
Messaging apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat provide a convenient way to talk with your friends, family, and co-workers. But without encryption, your messages are unsecured, and can be read by the company that made the app, third parties, and governments that collect private data on their citizens.
Fortunately we have the option to choose from several messaging apps that use end-to-end encryption, which prevent anyone except you and the intended recipient from seeing the messages’ contents.
We recommend getting Signal because Signal is a cross-platform encrypted messaging service developed by the Signal Foundation and Signal Messenger LLC. It uses the Internet to send one-to-one and group messages, which can include files, voice notes, images and videos. Its mobile apps can also make one-to-one voice and video calls, and the Android version can optionally function as an SMS app.
Signal uses standard cellular telephone numbers as identifiers and uses end-to-end encryption to secure all communications to other Signal users. The apps include mechanisms by which users can independently verify the identity of their contacts and the integrity of the data channel.
Stop Clicking Random Short URL Links
How easy is it to hide a link to something disgusting, unsafe, or illegal inside a short link? Way too easy. Head to bit.ly and follow the instructions. And that’s just one of many URL shorteners out there. How bad could it be? If an unsuspecting user were to click the e-mail link, land on what appears to be eBay.com (but is actually a malicious site) and log in as requested, the hackers now have their user name and password.
From there, they have full access to the user’s account, including credit card info. Using that information, they can also try logging in to other websites (many people re-use the same password), e-mail accounts and corporate accounts.
Avoiding Spam Messages
Beyond the obvious things—like never, EVER clicking on a link in a spam message, or even opening a spam email—the best way to avoid spam is to never let them get your address. It’s almost impossible, but there are methods to mitigate.
Turn On Security Updates
Software Updates are the most annoying notification that we often get and it seem to happen at the most inopportune times. Most of us neglect the software updates and carry on our works. In fact, many of the more harmful malware attacks we see take advantage of software vulnerabilities in common applications, like operating systems and browsers.
These are big programs that require regular updates to keep safe and stable. So instead of procrastinating about software updates, see those updates as one of the most essential steps you can take when it comes to protecting your information.
To help you gain a better understanding into the importance of updating your software, we’ve highlighted some points that you may be overlooking. Read on to find out exactly why software updates are important to take advantage.
- Know that keeping your security software up-to-date is critical. This will protect you from the latest threats.
- Select auto-update for software on both your mobile devices and computers, when possible. For software that doesn’t update automatically, make it a habit to regularly check for and apply available updates.
- Before downloading any software, read others’ reviews first to make sure it’s safe to install in the first place. Cybercriminals like to distribute phony applications designed to steal your information.
- Keep on top of the latest threats so you know how to protect yourself from known vulnerabilities.
Create Strong Passwords And Security Questions
Securing your online accounts is just as important as securing your Windows account. The first step is to have a strong password and security question.
When you’re creating an online account, you might be in the habit of rushing to get through the process so you can start using the site. That’s why many people use weak passwords like “password” or “123456,” or reuse passwords from other accounts.
Both of these make you unsafe. Hackers can get through an easy password in minutes. If you reuse passwords and they get your password in a data breach then they can get into all your accounts without a problem.
That’s why you need to get into the habit of creating unique, complex passwords. These take more time to create, but they keep your information safe. Of course, you also need a good way to remember them.We recommend using a password manager. This can store all your passwords behind a single master password. That way you can have dozens of complex passwords and only have to remember one. Most password managers can also help you create strong passwords.
When you’re setting up your online accounts, you also shouldn’t rush past the security questions. Most security questions ask for common information that a hacker or snoop can guess if they do a bit of research or know you. That’s why you need to create answers that no one can guess.
Turn On 2FA
Whenever you create an account on a new website, or every few months when you visit an old website, you should get in the habit of taking a few minutes to look through the account settings. You can often find additional security features to turn on, such as two-factor authentication, that will make you safer. Two-factor authentication means that if a hacker gets your password, they still won’t be able to log in to your account without access to your phone.
Confirm Identity When Possible
Many scammers are successful because they pose as authority figures or loved ones. Humans are simply less likely to question apparent authorities or those they already trust. Scammers have been known to pose as utility workers and government officials. From this apparent position of power, they’re able to convince their victims to do things they otherwise might not.
Some scams also manipulate the elderly by imitating their children or grandchildren. Using a fake Facebook account, the scammers contact the grandparents, claiming that their relative is trapped in a foreign country and needs money to gain their freedom. A phone call to the grandchild or their parents will often reveal this scam, but it’s still successful frequently enough to make it worth their while to try it. As we’ve mentioned already, make sure to confirm identities and apparent authorities through separate channels than those provided by the potential scammers.
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