Cybercrime costs the rest of the world upwards of $1.5 trillion per year, an astounding number that hammers home the fact that every single person who uses digital devices is vulnerable to internet security threats.
Hackers have several ways that they can access your data. This makes it difficult to protect your tablets, laptops, and smartphones from threats.
Fortunately, you do have options when it comes to cybersecurity. You can take actions to make sure your data is as safe as possible and services you can utilize that allow you to beef up your security.
Some of these privacy settings are built into the hardware and software you are already using, while some require that you put in a little more work and find outside resources. While some methods of boosting cyber security are more difficult than others, it is always worth it to keep yourself as safe as possible.
Whether you are dealing with your data or your clients' data.
Encrypt your data
The first step in making sure your data is safe is by encrypting it. Encryption works in a variety of different ways depending on what you are trying to encrypt. Still, the main thing is that you shouldn’t be sending out sensitive information or putting it on insecure networks without making it as safe as possible. Antivirus software can help protect your information, but viruses and spyware can still sneak through and leave you vulnerable to fraud.
Many email providers such as Outlook give you the option to encrypt your data by just pressing a button. Emails are something you should definitely look into encrypting, given how often you send personal messages to other people that shouldn’t be made public, especially if they are professional messages. In recent versions of Outlook, any outgoing email can be encrypted from the email window.
In addition to email, most mobile devices have encryption options you can easily enable. Here are how iPhone and Android encryption procedures work:
How to encrypt data on your iPhone
Your data should already be protected by default on your iPhone, so here is how you can make sure.
- Access your settings menu.
- Go to ‘Touch ID and Passcode.’
- Scroll to the bottom and make sure it says ‘data protection is enabled’.
How to encrypt data on your Android
- Start with your phone plugged in.
- Access the security menu in settings.
- Click on the ‘encrypt phone’ option, and leave the phone plugged in until the process is complete.
Whatever device or software you are using to send messages, you need to make sure that anything that leaves your local device is encrypted and safe.
Secure your internet connection
Hackers take advantage of public networks all the time, using them to attack your data when you are at your most vulnerable. If you are dealing with sensitive data or identifiable information, never expose it over a public wi-fi network, like a coffee shop or library.
These connections usually don’t require any type of authorization, meaning hackers can easily position themselves between you and the connection point. In this case, you may be sending your data directly to a criminal who is taking your information while you're browsing.
If you are able to create your own virtual private network (VPN) connection or avoid public networks entirely, those options are better than handling sensitive information over an unsecured network.
If you are dealing with your own private wifi connection, you need to make sure it is secure and hidden.
Password protect and encrypt your router to make sure that people cannot access it if they aren’t a part of your team. Use strong passwords, and consider using the help of a password manager like LastPass or 1Password that can generate random passphrases to lock your information down.
Set up your wireless access point so that it does not broadcast your Service Set Identifier. That way, you make it difficult for anyone who isn’t a part of your business to know that your connection point even exists.
Securing your data in this way keeps it off the radar of cybercriminals and it increases the likelihood that your data will remain uncompromised.
Be able to identify scams
Phishing scams are a very common way that cybercriminals attempt to steal your data. In a phishing scam, you get an email or a message in which someone pretends to be someone they are not to try and get information from you. Sometimes this is a social security number or other means of identity theft. Other times, scammers seek out credit card numbers or bank account information.
Sometimes they will be a large corporation asking for your shipping info; sometimes, they pretend to be family members who need money. Sometimes these criminals will pretend to be large corporations, while others will go a step further and pretend to be someone you know in real life. They may contact you over text, calls, or social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Sometimes you can identify a phishing scam through bad grammar and spelling. If any person asks you to divulge sensitive information, question it and contact the organization through its official email or phone number.
If you suspect an email you got was a phishing scam, you can report it at email@example.com.
Keep your personal information private
It is hard to maintain privacy when you have to give out your personal information to every single person you meet. It can feel like everyone in the world has your phone number and can just contact you whenever they want.
Burner is an app that allows you to avoid this by creating a second “burner” number that basically acts as a second phone within your single device. By creating a second number, you can give out a method of communication that connects you with people without having to give them your actual phone number.
When you are done with the phone number, you can burn it, meaning that you will no longer be tied to it. Burner gives users the opportunity to communicate without risking private information, something invaluable in this day and age.
No matter which internet service provider (ISP) you use, fraud is everywhere. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the number of ways a hacker can steal your information.
By managing your environment and putting measures in place to protect your data, you can comfortably go about your life and your business without being afraid of cybercriminals.
Keeping your data encrypted will add a much-needed and easy-to-implement layer of protection to your data, while the ability to identify scams will allow you to dodge cyber criminals once you understand the signs of a scam.
Burner allows you to stay in contact with the rest of the world without ever having to sacrifice your privacy and personal data. All of these habits and tools are things you should be paying attention to if you want to maintain the integrity of your private information and data integrity.
Make sure you download patches, software updates, and security updates as they become available to you. Consider two-factor authentication for sensitive information like your cloud storage or Google accounts.
With an issue as pervasive and debilitating as cybercrime, it is important that everyone has access to everything they need to protect themselves at all times.