With technology evolving and advancing every year, the need to secure our digital lives from cyber attack becomes very important as most of us spend part of our lives online in the digital world.Virtually all we do this days basically revolves around the Internet, like checking out the news, social media, playing games, doing research etc.Our online accounts are constantly always under threat by cyber hackers that’s why we need to always stay above it by making sure our digital life is always safe.
The Importance Of Data Security
Recently there have been numerous stories in the news about data security. These stories highlight the importance of taking steps to protect your data and make sure that sensitive information is secure.
- Game Of Thrones
Recently it was reported that a group of hackers have taken 1.5 terabyte of information from HBO. The collection includes numerous upcoming TV shows as well as a leak of the script from an upcoming episode of Game of Thrones.(source:Independence )
This attack happened a few months ago, however the scale of the attack has left data security firmly in the minds of many businesses and individuals.
As a quick recap of the attack; this attack was what is known as a ransomware attack. This means a piece of malicious software infected a computer, encrypted the files and demanded payment to decrypt the files. What made this particular piece of software even more terrifying is that it spread like a worm. This piece of malicious software infected numerous systems all over the world, including FedEx and the National Health Service.
With all that being said,the following are the reasons why data security is of high importance,
1) To prevent financial loss.
Sensitive information like credit card details can be easily stolen by hackers and used in return to purchase items or empty the victims bank account. Such information can be obtained when hacker’s breach an e-commerce website database, deceive the victim by the use of a phishing page or any other method.
2) To prevent illegal extortion/blackmail.
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This is a well known illegal act carried out by hackers. it occurs in the form of “kidnapping” or putting a victims data under lock by encrypting the data, until an amount of money is paid. This illegal operation is carried out with the aid of a ransomware.
3) To prevent Identity theft.
In this situation,an individuals identity is hijacked and used to perform dubious activities. This is done when the impersonator gets all necessary details of a persons identity.
4) To ensure that Information kept safely
The principal reason to keep your data protected is to ensure the safety of all the information you store. When it comes to customers, ensuring their data is held as safely as possible is the minimum most people will expect for companies they invest time or money in.
5) Data loss.
6) Data hijacking.
And many other unpleasant situations which could lead to life threatening impacts.
Follow these Ways to protect yourself
There are many ways to protect your digital data, but with following basic methods listed below , you can be safe.
1) Use Secure Password
Using a strong and secured password is the first step ensure our data are not compromised. We should avoid using simple passwords like our date of birth, pet name, or name of someone close to us.To ensure your online account like Gmail, Facebook or any another , we should make use of a 12 characters password or more which should includes Upper case, lower case alphabets, numbers and symbols. You can also change your password from time to time, if you feel it has been compromised
2) Two Factor Authentication for email
This feature acts like a second layer of security protection. The 2Fa has its fondly called protects our account. In the case where our account is accessed from another device, we get a form of text to confirm if the login was initiated by you.We can also use this feature to protect some of our social media accounts.
3) Enable Encryption
Even though social media site like whatsapp says “our chats and calls are secured with end to end encryption”, will all know Facebook who owns Whatsapp, shares personal information to third parties, leaving our chats at risk. Also considering the recent Facebook data breach issue, Facebook and Whatsapp are not to be trusted.You can consider using Signal, an android and iPhone app that enables encryption of our chats, messages and calls.Enabling encryption, makes your data difficult to understand by hackers, as it scrambled. It can only be deciphered, if hackers get hold of your keys.
4) Back up your Data
In the addition to encrypting your information or data, it’s also necessary to have backups as hackers are devising malware to decrypt almost everything. So it’s important to have backup files in the case of eventualities.Data breaches are common and can be quite costly to get back from these hackers. That why we need to back up our data, in the case of data loss. All you simply do is simply recover your data from your hard drive or cloud storage where you have it stored.
5) Avoid clicking unfamiliar link, files and websites
Everyday, we encounter various links, files in our mails, whatsapp and messengers. We should always avoid clicking any link we are not familiar with, especially if the link is not secured(https). Avoid http link. As hackers could you use it to get to us. There was a global ransomeware attack in June 2017, where hackers sent a malware file and hacked several number of companies. The affected companies needed to buy a key to get control as the malware affected several of it’s computer.We can also make use of the browser plug-in called https everywhere, this plug in, ensures you’re using the right and secure form of website. Using it prevent any form of hacking or surveillance.
6) Put your Webcam Undercover
We can also close our Webcam with tapes when not in use. It could protect you from been spied upon. If someone has found a way through to our computers, they cannot spy on you using the Webcam. Several people adopt this method, including Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, as it is a crucial step and everyone should do the same.
7) Anti-malware protection is a must.
Malware is a serious issue plaguing many a computer user, and it’s known for cropping up in inconspicuous places, unbeknownst to users. Anti-malware protection is essential for laying a foundation of security for your devices. “Malware (short for malicious software) is software designed to infiltrate or damage a computer without your consent. Malware includes computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware, scareware and more. It can be present on websites and emails, or hidden in downloadable files, photos, videos, freeware or shareware. (However, it should be noted that most websites, shareware or freeware applications do not come with malware.) The best way to avoid getting infected is to run a good anti-virus protection program, do periodic scans for spyware, avoid clicking on suspicous email links or websites.
But scammers are sneaky,sometimes malware is cleverly disguised as an email from a friend, or a useful website. Even the most cautious of web-surfers will likely pick up an infection at some point.
8) Install operating system updates.
Operating system updates are a gigantic pain for users; it’s the honest truth. But they’re a necessary evil, as these updates contain critical security patches that will protect your computer from recently discovered threats. Failing to install these updates means your computer is at risk.
9) Secure your wireless network at your home or business.
A valuable tip for both small business owners and individuals or families, it’s always recommended to secure your wireless network with a password. This prevents unauthorized individuals within proximity to hijack your wireless network. Even if they’re merely attempting to get free Wi-Fi access, you don’t want to inadvertently share private information with other people who are using your network without permission.
10) Disable your Bluetooth when you’re not using it.
Bluetooth technology has offered incredible conveniences to the mobile world, but it also opens the door for vulnerabilities. Most threats exploiting Bluetooth connectivity are dependent on the active Bluetooth connection, and while they aren’t typically devastating or dangerous, they’re certainly inconvenient and can be serious.
Bluetooth attacks depend on exploiting the permission request/grant process that is the backbone of Bluetooth connectivity. Regardless of the security features on your device, the only way to completely prevent attackers from exploiting that permission request/grant process is to power off your device’s Bluetooth function when you’re not using it not putting it into an invisible or undetectable mode, but completely turning it off (there are bad apps that can power your device back on, just one more reason overall app security is vital),
Our digital lives should not be taken for granted, also if you’re fan of cryptocurrency you should not fail to consider using this methods as hackers also target this set of people, watch out for irregularities that point out a site or an application as a potential threat and make a conscious effort in making your security, your responsibility. Protect your digital life today.