7 Digital Security Tips You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner
44 records per second. That’s the average number of data breaches in the US since 2013. That adds up to almost 4 million hacks every day.
Cybercriminals want your data. Each stolen record costing individuals and businesses an average of $150, data breaches are something most can’t afford.
It’s time to start protecting your data and online security and take care of digital security. Check out these top digital security tips that you can start using now.
Tip 1: Ensure Your Software is Up to Date
Cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities in apps and operating systems to gain access to data. At any given time, hackers may be launching thousands of different attacks.
Fortunately, most developers issue security patches often. But you must update your software to get those added digital security benefits. Turn on auto-updates, but also check once daily to make sure you didn’t miss any urgent patches.
Tip 2: Use a VPN
VPN stands for the virtual private network. VPNs allow you to create private, secure connections over the internet. Then hackers and other snoops can’t track your internet activity and harvest personal information.
Select a premium VPN that includes extra security tools. For example, NordVPN has an automatic kill switch, a “no-logs” policy, and a CyberSec feature that blocks ads or suspicious websites. They also have a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose by trying it out now.
Tip 3: Encrypt Your Files
Hackers want your files. And it’s not only the ones you think are valuable like tax or medical records. But they’re even interested in stealing your media or work projects. That’s why ransomware attacks have become a primary tool for cybercriminals.
Ransomware attacks involve locking users out of their essential files until they pay a large ransom fee. In 2019, these attacks cost over $11 billion. Through encryption, you can often block all unrestricted access to your files and prevent these threats.
Both Windows and macOS have built-in encryption tools, but you may want to look into third-party apps.
Tip 4: Backup and Sync
Ransomware attacks succeed because victims don’t have viable backups. Through encrypting your data and backups, you can thwart almost all the consequences of these attacks.
It’s best to have two forms of backup—a physical drive and the cloud. Set your computer to auto-sync, either every hour or every day, depending on your needs.
You can find backup services built-in in Windows and macOS. Look into secure cloud options like Carbonite and CrashPlan Pro, which have low annual fees and many features.
Tip 5: Protect Your Browser
Cybercriminals often target web browsers, especially on Mac. As you surf the internet, it’s easy to pick up trackers from advertisers and cybercriminals. These log your internet activity and create a range of privacy issues.
Take steps to improve your browsing security by using tools like Ghostery that blocks pop-up ads and trackers. Update your privacy settings to prevent third-party cookies and often delete all your browsing data.
Tip 6: Overwrite Deleted Files
Most people don’t realize that when deleting files doesn’t mean getting rid of them forever. That’s because the computer changes the label on them. The data is still there, and you can recover it with software tools.
When you erase any sensitive data, you need to overwrite the files. Overwriting creates a series of ones and zeros over the deleted files to make it as if it never existed. macOS does have a built-in secure delete tool. Windows users should use apps like Blank and Secure and Eraser, which overwrite files in one click.
Tip 7: Use Multi-factor Authentication Across Your Devices
Multi-factor authentication is an authentication method using two or more tools to verify a user’s identity. You’ve likely had some experience with it already as more platforms are making it standard.
But instead of using SMS or email messages with OTP codes, secure your accounts with authenticator apps instead. If a hacker has gained access to your email, OTP codes can’t help you as much. Google Authenticator pairs with your verified device. It makes it a much more secure authentication method.
You should also use biometric security features like fingerprint identification and facial recognition software. It enhances your safety further.
Finally, don’t underestimate the power of unique, complicated passwords across all your online accounts. Use a password manager to create, store, and manage all your credentials.
Time for Action
The old saying that prevention is the best medicine is also true in the internet age. Before cybercriminals get their hands on your data, create comprehensive digital security protection. These tools and strategies are a good starting point.