Discussing online security may seem banal at times but to ignore or glaze over it would be to invite catastrophe. The majority of online users, when asked about security, would probably say that they are doing what it takes to ensure that their online selves are protected. But, actual data shows otherwise.
The scary reality is that most people who use the internet either overestimate their security measures or fail to implement them at all.
Today’s online criminals are not bumbling thieves in ski masks nor are they evil geniuses in black turtle necks. They are however tech-savvy, understand human behavior and tendencies, relentless in their attacks and surprisingly exercise a great deal of patience.
Using tactics which prey upon the lack of technical understanding and laziness of users, these hi-tech fraudsters are collecting information, penetrating accounts and are doing it through some truly ingenious means.
So what is the average user to do? How can they protect themselves from the attacks and exploits of these cybercriminals? The answer lies in the implementation of a series of small countermeasures.
Done properly, these security measures form a collective barrier to deter the attacks of the most adamant of hackers.
The first and easiest step is to vary and strengthen passwords. For decades now, users have been told to use different passwords, but we all know the sad truth.
That is the repetitive use of the same password, and some of them are not even that difficult to crack. Even, if the password were almost impossible to guess or hack, a fraudster will only need to get it right once to gain access to a host of accounts.
A strong password does not just consist of a word with a containing a capital and numeral. It should be made of multiple words or phrases, containing capitals, numerals, and symbols.
A general rule of thumb is that if the password is so difficult that the user has a hard time remembering it then the likelihood that it is a strong password is high.
The security question should be subjected to the same treatment as the password. A user can have the most cryptic password known to man, but if their security question easily points to the solution then all that hard work generating a brain stumper of a password will be all for nothing. Even the strongest password won’t stand the chance if it is guarded by a weak security question.
Also, consider two-step authentication. When implemented, a two-step authentication will require the user to enter or verbally confirm their identity by answering a question, this takes place after they enter their password successfully.
Backing up data, everyone hates doing it but by performing this simple yet time-consuming operation, users are creating a digital insurance policy. In doing so, users are protecting themselves from losing their data forever, whether it be through a malicious hack or a ransomware attack.
Finally, create an alternate email that is used for the sole purpose of logins. Doing so will ensure that should a hacker gain access to one of your accounts, that they will not gain access to your emails. Online security is a serious matter, but it need not be puzzling or impossible to handle. Through the application of simple countermeasures, a user can create a protective barrier between themselves and those who would seek to do them harm online.