Nowadays, people are used to relying on electronic devices for everything from work to entertainment. Even if you live alone, you likely have at least a few electronic devices at home, including a computer and a smartphone. Since a lot of valuable information could be extracted from one of your devices, it's important you take cyber security more seriously. It's worth noting that literally anyone can become a victim of a cyber attack, from big corporations to people using the internet at home. With that being said, it is crucial you learn how to reduce your risk of becoming an easy target for hackers.
Install Antivirus Software
Despite knowing the benefits of having antivirus software, many people still don't use it. One of the main reasons why some choose not to install an antivirus application is because they think it will significantly lower their computer or smartphone speed. While you will have to sacrifice the speed of your device a bit, it's a small price to pay for protection. Know that there's a good chance you won't even notice the difference in speed.
There are also certain conspiracy theories that lead people to believe antivirus software is actually responsible for creating viruses on your computer. However, no antivirus company was ever found to be creating viruses. Installing an antivirus application will help keep your device safe from viruses that could enter it and compromise your data. When it comes to this type of software, it's recommended you get it from trusted and reputable organization. Note that a lot of companies offer antivirus software for free, but in most cases it doesn't work properly.
Use a Virtual Private Network
You may know that using a virtual private network (VPN) is an excellent way to stay safe on the internet when connected to a public WiFi. Nevertheless, there are other ways they can help keep your data safe. Internet service providers are allowed to sell and share you data for any company interested in it. The United State Congress gave ISPs permission to do this last year.
In case you would like to avoid having your data sold to random companies, you should install a virtual private network. VPNs are a great tool for increasing cybersecurity because they mask your IP address. Although you will find products from different providers, know that getting even the cheapest VPN will keep your online activity hidden.
Use Strong Passwords
No matter how many online accounts you have, you should never use the same password twice. On top of that, it is imperative you know how to create a strong password. Note that a good password contains at least one lowercase and uppercase letter, one number, as well as four symbols. Make sure you change all of your passwords once a year just to be safe.
Update Your Software Regularly
Software updates can be very annoying, but it's essential you install them as soon as they become available. In case your software is outdated you will become an easy target for cyber attacks. Because of this, it's recommended you turn on automatic updates on each of your devices.
Use Your Smartphone Securely
Just like it's crucial you use your computer securely, it is equally important to ensure you're safe while using your smartphone. This means downloading antivirus software on it and updating the operating system regularly. On top of that, you should also have a difficult passcode. Make sure you install apps from trusted sources only. If you download a shady application it might end up infecting your smartphone.
Pay Attention to Physical Cyber Security
Be wary of the devices you plug into your home computer. In case you have reason to suspect a flash drive, external hard drive, or even a smartphone is infected, make sure you avoid plugging it into your computer.
This item was posted by a community contributor.