In a digital world fraught with threats, are you truly secure?
The rise of cyberattacks has led to many users worrying about operating in a secure environment. This is why people are becoming “pseudo-experts” in all cybersecurity measures available on the planet and want to implement them.
But is implementing all of these measures a good thing? Not always. It can be demanding and expensive. Moreover, they can be highly inconvenient while affecting user experience negatively.
Hence, everybody needs to take it easy on cybersecurity by only adopting the necessary measures that don’t make using the internet problematic.
What are the essential cybersecurity basics that you should know and embrace? This article discusses critical cybersecurity measures (with emphasis on simplicity). Additionally, it gives an insight into the convenience vs. security conundrum and shares tips on balancing both.
The Basics: Use Strong Passwords
Passwords are inarguably the most common online security practices. They act as your first shield against cyber-attacks.
But being a common measure means they are prone to cyberattacks. So, you should first know that using a strong password is very important.
Weak passwords are easier to crack using different methods. So, you want to do the following to up your password game:
- Use a complex combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.
- Aim for long passwords with at least 12 characters in length.
- Do not use common words or personal information.
- Use a unique password for all your accounts.
- Update your passwords periodically, especially for sensitive accounts.
- Use reputable password managers to autofill, generate, and store complex passwords.
Double Up: Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Double up on cybersecurity by adding another layer of protection to your existing cybersecurity measures. This security protocol, called two-factor authentication or, more popularly, 2FA, allows you to access an account or service after providing two factors.
The major design is to validate user access using a factor (commonly a password or biometrics) and then authenticating their identity using an authentication token. Incorporating 2FA ensures stronger security and protection from unauthorized access in case of password loss.
Stay Anonymous: Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
A VPN is a cybersecurity measure that allows you to stay anonymous while working. It creates a secure, encrypted tunnel that masks your presence and ensures a secure identity and data. Other ways VPNs can be used include:
- To bypass geo-restrictions
- To protect your online privacy
- To prevent cyber-attacks when connected to unsecured networks
- To ensure an improved browning experience without adds
Selecting a VPN can be challenging due to the different VPN service providers available and the features and capabilities of the VPNs.
Since this can greatly affect your user experience and security, consider the following when using a VPN service.
- Only use a reputable VPN with a proven track record
- Ensure the VPN application is up to date
- Explore such things as the VPN comparison table on Reddit
- Avoid using free VPNs as they have less capability and features
- Do not log in to sensitive accounts such as your bank on public Wi-Fi networks, even with a VPN
Antivirus Software: Your Digital Security Guard
Antivirus software is like a security guard that can help you identify and block cyber threats while offering real-time protection. Plus, they can protect against phishing, malware protection, and data loss.
The most important part of using antivirus software on your device is choosing the right one. Consider the following directions:
- An effective antivirus is not free
- Avoid antivirus with bad records
- Ensure the antivirus is up to date to detect the latest threats
- Look for additional features, such as firewalls, for safer browsing
Minimizing Risks And Staying Safe Without Sacrificing Convenience
Now, all the measures above are ideal. But there’s a need to balance convenience and security. You don’t want to make the process more complex than it already is. Similarly, you do not want to sacrifice safety for comfort.
Beware Of Phishing
Phishing is a common way cybercriminals use to gain access to user information and data. It involves using deceptive websites and emails to trick users into releasing their credentials or other info.
You can avoid this by ensuring that the links and emails you respond to are coming from the original source you’re expecting.
For example, if you hover over the link with your mouse, you should see that the original links have a secure HTTPS connection. You can also verify suspected links by looking for misspellings in the URL and comparing them with the expected source links.
Use Browsers Extensions
Many browsers have extensions such as ad-blockers and script blockers that reduce exposure to scripts and ads that contribute to phishing and malware attacks.
Update Your Device Or Application
An updated environment is important as it can prevent security vulnerabilities and cyber-attacks. Ensure your device runs the latest operating system and/or security update. Moreover, every application you use should have the latest update.
Use Only Secure Websites
Ensure you use secure websites whose URLs start with HTTPS due to the data encryption during transmission. Using such a secure connection will prevent eavesdropping and access by cybercriminals.
Change the Wi-Fi router’s Default Credentials
Using your default credentials on your Wi-Fi router will make it easy for cybercriminals to infiltrate your network. As a result, you should ensure you modify the default credentials to something unique.
The world of cybercrime may seem daunting and dangerous. That’s why some security measures should be intact. However, make sure not to overcrowd your devices with unnecessary measures like three different types of antivirus software.
Rather, use the essential measures by reputable providers and always stay alert for possible phishing scams. That should keep you safe and sound.