Basic Tips For Good Cybersecurity Habits
James Murphy is a tech guru and a blogger from New York. James mostly writes about new technologies.
There are many healthy habits that we were taught and forced to adopt as a child. These habits have become a part of us and have in some ways defined us as adults. Metaphorically, we can use such a similar illustration to teach cybersecurity.
There is such a thing as cyber hygiene. These are habits that you develop and practice with your devices and computers that aid your online security.
The threat of cyberattacks is more real in 2020 than it was ten years before. And you can bet that these threats will only continue or even get worse over time. This means that you also have to pay more attention to your cybersecurity. You should know that no one is left out from online hacks and cyberattacks. So you have to be more serious about cybersecurity. It is not something to take for granted.
Install reliable malware software and antivirus
This is one of the most important aspects and practicable steps in ensuring cybersecurity. Antivirus software is programs that check for malicious software and computer viruses and eradicate them from the system. This is the number one cyber hygiene habit in ensuring overall cybersecurity.
There are some key functions that antivirus performs that ensure the security of your system.
● It schedules and performs an automatic scan.
● It pinpoints specific files to detect malicious software.
● Depending on what your computer needs, the antivirus can scan individual files, or the computer generally, or input/output devices such as a flash drive.
● It erases other malicious software and codes.
● It helps to confirm the “state of health” of the computer.
Update software regularly
This is one healthy habit that people tend to not pay much attention to. Updating your apps and software will ensure that you have to work with the latest versions that have possible glitches dealt with. Also, you can be sure that you have the best protection by setting the apps up to automatic updates.
The updated versions of these apps often come with software patches which makes them very important. Software developers release these patches whenever a security flaw (which can pave the way or backdoor for hackers and viruses to attack) is noticed. The developers might not come out openly to say they have implemented a patch because they could potentially be alerting hackers. So, with regular updates, you can be sure that these holes in the software are plugged.
Use strong passwords
This is probably the last thing that you can do for yourself to ensure cybersecurity. You must ensure very strong passwords on all your devices. Make sure that your passwords are very complex and unique. It should have not less than 12 characters and should combine letters (uppercase and lowercase), numbers, and symbols. Make sure you change your passwords as regularly as possible. Do not share your password with anybody and do not reuse an old password. There are also firmware passwords which you can use to prevent other people from using or accessing your computer. You can also use disk encryption to prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to their information on your device.
Use multi-factor authentication
The practice of using multi-factor authentication or two-factor authentication helps to add an extra layer of security for your devices. With two-factor authentication, you might not require much. It may be just your username, password, and a unique code that you have to submit. But you will require more than that with the multi-factor authentication. This added other security layers and might require a fingerprint or facial recognition, and other biometrics for you to access your personal information and device. This way, it is a lot harder for hackers to breach your security.
Backup your files regularly
If you are going to enjoy your cybersecurity, then you should regularly send your most important files to a secure location. For instance, you can send your files to the cloud where it is safe and secure and can be accessed at any time. You can also send it to an external device like a hard drive. This will make them less accessible to hackers looking to get your information. It makes it easy to retrieve your files in case of data loss. It does not sound like a bad idea to have your files sent to these locations and then wipe off your computer. So, even if there is a breach, it will not have severe consequences.
Clean up your hard drive
If you are looking to sell any of your devices, smartphone, tablet, or laptop, you have to make sure that you do not pass across any sensitive or personal information to someone else. You must clean up your hard drive before selling your device. It might not be enough to just delete files from your device. You should go the extra mile to reformat and wipe the hard drive clean. If you have previously carried out online banking from your phone, for instance, and you want to sell the same phone. You will have to consider disk-wiping to remove data and software from the hard drive.
Use device encryption
Data encryption is a common theme for many companies but you can also have it in place for your personal use. You should try to encrypt all your media and devices such as removable drives, laptops, smartphones, tablets, cloud storage, and backup tapes that may contain sensitive information. Many devices already used the encryption as the default security for smartphone data, while some apps use end-to-end encryption. Some services also encrypt information on your device and ensure there is a backup in the cloud. You can also employ the use of an encrypted USB memory sticks to protect your sensitive and important data.
Secure your router
If you protect every other device that you and fail to protect your router or secure your wireless network, then you leave yourself susceptible to cyberattacks still.
Protecting your router involves turning it off and changing the default password and name it came with directly from its makers. It also involves logging out as administrator after setting it up and putting off remote management. To maintain a very high level of information privacy sent through this network, you must ensure that the router uses WPA3 or WPA2 encryption.
Practicing good cybersecurity habits
It is not enough to know some of the steps to carry out to ensure that you are safe from hackers, viruses, and malicious software. You have to be serious about it and practice it regularly. Many of these steps are a one-time thing. You have to consistently check it out.
You should monitor your cybersecurity regularly to be sure that you are clear of any threats. Since it is a habit that you are looking to develop, you might have to go through the same processes routinely and repeatedly. Just make sure to not get tired of it.
You can mark your calendar with dates for addressing different tasks and set an alarm to remind you. You can have different dates to carry out different activities such as using antivirus software to scan for viruses, update your device operating system, hard drive wiping, look for security patches, and change your passwords. Once you start to do these regularly, it will become a part of you in no time and you will become cyber safer.
You must also ensure that you are thorough with the different processes. It might not be as simple as it sounds and you might be lazy about it but you should take your time to be thorough with it. For instance, you might feel lazy about your password protection and create a weak password instead of the 12 characters (at least) password with a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. If you are not thorough enough to do it the right way, you are only putting yourself at risk of hacks. But you are safer if you do it the right way and do it regularly.
Your cybersecurity is clearly in your hands, so you can choose to practice good cybersecurity habits or not. If you are setting up antivirus programs with your computer, smartphone, or other devices, be sure to carry out regular updates, use very strong passwords, and clean your hard drive clean. Carrying out these cybersecurity habits is your best bet to ensuring that your cybersecurity is not compromised and your files are safe.
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