The internet is now one of the most accessible things in the world. Unfortunately, online threats are increasing and with the growing number of amateurs connected, basic security measures are neglected. Cybercrime is becoming a profitable business and is attracting more and more pirates.
As individuals, how can we protect ourselves effectively? By going from the most basic measures – based on password policy and the use of antivirus – to the most sophisticated measures such as securing Wi-Fi or encrypting data, complete the following protective measures:
1. Create a strong, unique password for each account
The password is the first way to protect its accounts and data. Still, it is necessary to choose a password strong enough that will certainly not make impossible any piracy but will contribute to making the task more difficult for the pirate. It is also recommended to use a unique password for each account, which allows, to limit the risk to the only account that is pirated.
2. Change passwords frequently
In addition to using a strong password for each account, it is also possible to rely on frequent password changes to thwart cybercrime attacks. It is a measure that is very common in companies. Besides, depending on the frequency of change of password, you will be satisfied to use a word of average security and therefore not too difficult to remember. However, coupling the frequent change of passwords to the use of strong passwords offer provides more protection.
3. Use a password manager
A complex password is ideal, but if you have to have a complex password for each account and need to change them regularly, it becomes tough to manage. Indeed, some studies have shown that frequent change of password could make them less secure systems because they push users to decide between a strong password and a password easy to remember.
In this case, the password manager can be very useful. And even if you use a strong password, if your device is infected with spyware, it does not help you. Password managers not only allow you to connect to websites with a single click but also generate secure random passwords. The fact that you will not have to enter passwords manually limits, in addition, the risk of theft.
4. Encrypt files and partitions
Encryption is a simple and effective way to protect your confidential data. Most operating systems offer an entire disk encryption feature, which can allow you to encrypt data on a hard drive or USB stick automatically. For example, on Windows, you have BitLocker that provides partition encryption. There is also VeraCrypt, an on-the-fly encryption software that runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
VeraCrypt allows you to create an encrypted virtual disk in a file. If this file falls into the wrong hands, you can be reassured that your files can not be recovered. And when you need to work with your partition, you just have to mount it with VeraCrypt as a real physical disk. VeraCrypt can also encrypt an entire partition or an external device (floppy disk or USB key) and encryption is automatic, real-time and transparent.
5. Avoid public Wi-Fi
It is a safety measure that should be observed if possible. The public Wi-Fi is not necessarily safe, and you do not know who is on the network, what they could do, or what they are capable of doing. Some people can connect to a public Wi-Fi just to wait for the opportunity to steal valuable information like credit card data. For some sensitive activities, such as connecting to an online bank or shopping online, it would be best to do so from a secure connection.
6. Install a WPA key 2 on its Wi-Fi network
Speaking of secure Wi-Fi, it is recommended to use WPA 2 key instead of WEP and WPA, which provides better protection than WEP. A WPA 2 key does not make it impossible to hack your connection but makes hacking more difficult.
7. Choose your firewall and antivirus
No system is unassailable; it is only a matter of time. Thus, all measures aimed at enhancing system security are necessary and having a good firewall and an effective antivirus are part of these measures. Firewall is a kind of filter that blocks certain inbound and outbound connections. To enter a computer, a hacker is looking for a flaw in the firewall.
If it happens to infiltrate, a good antivirus can still prevent it from harming. It should also be noted that today’s antivirus products are no longer limited to providing basic protection features, but also advanced features such as antispyware, online shopping protection and more. Logically, for a given antivirus provider, the paid products are much better than the free ones. The former is therefore recommended. But in the worst case, you should have a free antivirus instead of leaving your machine unprotected.
8. Update your devices and antivirus regularly
Your devices (smartphones, tablets, PCs) regularly ask for updates. While they can sometimes be annoying, updates are a way for vendors to fix some security flaws in their products. This is also true for antivirus software, which is completely useless without updating the virus definitions. By regularly updating your antivirus devices and software, you make the hackers’ task a bit more difficult. So, make as many updates as possible for devices connected to a network.
9. Close your webcam with duct tape
A measure perhaps paranoid, but advocated. A hacked webcam can allow a pirate to patiently observe its target while waiting to capture photos or videos that he could use for example to extort money from him. Spying through webcams is a practice is becoming more common. When you do not use your webcam, closing it with duct tape may be useful.
10. Use common sense
Even if you strictly comply with all other security measures, it may not be enough to provide you with perfect protection from cyber criminals if you still lack common sense. Common sense can be your best defense against cyber criminals. The latter can use many social engineering techniques to take you to provide them with confidential information or extort money. For example, for an e-mail requesting your bank details, even if everything seems to indicate that the email comes from your bank, do not hesitate to contact it for more information.