Cybersecurity is a challenge, but it's obtainable if you implement the necessary changes. Much of what cybersecurity boils down to is being systematic and disciplined about common-sense security measures.
Here's a quick checklist to help you stay on top of security.
One of the most common causes of hacks are known exploits, or flaws in a program that hackers use to gain access to your system. Most of the time, they get patched up pretty quickly by the software provider, but if you're not installing your software updates, you're still vulnerable. Make sure you're always updating your applications, operating system, and internet security suite.
Anti-virus programs aren't enough anymore. With so many kinds of malware out there, from clickjacking sites to drive-by downloads, you need something that will prevent all kinds of attacks in real time. This should also include a firewall if your machine doesn't already have one, as is the case with Macs. Like any other software, don't forget to keep it updated.
A virtual privacy network, or VPN, is now a must, especially for business- and enterprise-class systems. VPNs encrypt your internet transmissions at the packet level, meaning that even if hackers have packet sniffers installed, they won't gain any useful, unencrypted information. This is just another layer of protection to make you a harder target.
Don't download attachments from emails you aren't expecting and certainly not from people you don't know. Don't click suspicious-looking links in emails. When in doubt, do a bit of research and if you can't decide if a link is suspicious, don't click it. A lot of hackers and other cybercriminals rely upon your credulity to get you to open up your system to them by clicking certain links or downloading certain files. Don't make this mistake.
Back up your work frequently in case your system falls victim to system-critical cybertroubles. Nowadays, you can opt into automatic backups, and some applications allow you to back up every time you make a change or save a document. The more you back up, the better. You don't want to have to redo all the work you did in the last hour — or the last week — because of a system crash.
A system is only as strong as its weakest link. If at work you see your coworkers failing to use best practices on the internet, talk to IT. Anywhere that you see room for improvement, talk to your IT department. It's only going to lead to a tighter ship.
Protecting your bank accounts is crucial so you can never be too careful. Start with the simplest and most affordable tools available. To learn more, visit our security, privacy, and fraud-prevention page for more tips on how to stay safe online.
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