Computers and technology surround us these days, and whether you use the internet just for personal use or for work, there are significant security issues that face all of us when we go online.
The costs of cybercrime are expected to total a whopping $6 trillion in 2021 – rising to $10.5 trillion by 2025. Indeed, the funds generated by online criminality make the sector, by comparison, the world’s third-largest economy behind the USA and China. The truth is, if you or your firm relies in any way on the web, you face potential dangers every day.
How to improve the security of your home or office network
The security of technology has improved considerably in recent times, but that doesn’t mean you can afford to take chances. Unfortunately, cybercriminals continue to find new and increasingly sophisticated ways to break into networks – everything from phishing attacks to malware and Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks. Here are just a few ideas to protect yourself or your company from malicious attacks:
Always download the latest software updates: Using outdated software is one of the most common ways hackers can access your network and steal your personal details. Software developers are constantly upgrading their apps for a reason – normally when they’ve identified a potential problem in their systems. When you’re offered an upgrade to your software, always download it to ensure the greatest protection from backdoor attacks.
Back up your files to the cloud: No system is 100% secure, and chances are, if you haven’t already, at some point, you will fall victim to an attack. By having back-up copies stored online, you can save yourself the considerable grief of data loss. If you or your firm already use cloud services, consider employing the services of a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) like Proofpoint to monitor and secure access to your files.
Use complex, hard-to-guess passwords (and change them regularly): Passwords and usernames provide direct access to your files and network and are one of the most common methods used by hackers to steal private information. Always ensure you use hard-to-guess, alphanumeric passwords for the greatest protection – and update them regularly. Also, don’t use the same passwords for multiple accounts. Each should be unique. These days, most modern web browsers come complete with a password manager that will suggest strong passwords – and store them for you.
Ensure you’ve secured your router: Don’t just use the default username and password combination that came shipped with your internet router. More than 75% of households in the US rely on Wi-Fi connections to access the internet but, if you use the manufacturer settings for your user/pass combination, you’ll leave yourself wide open to being found and hacked by malicious cybercriminals.
Delete the apps and services you don’t use: Many devices these days come with recommended software or services that you likely will never use (bloatware). Not only does this software slow down your machine (and take up storage), it can also present a significant security threat. As a rule of thumb, if you haven’t used an app for six months or more, you probably don’t need it, so you should delete it from your device to improve your online security.