Self-employed individuals and small businesses (businesses with less than 1,000 employees on average) are often major targets for cybercriminals. As a victim of a cyber attack, the financial implications can be crippling. No one can afford to have the mindset, “It will never happen to me.” In fact, it can happen to you if you are not careful.
You not require a large budget, a Chief Information Officer, or a large IT team on board to avoid becoming a target. Most hacks do not involve a horde of highly skilled cybercriminals that never sleeps. The majority of these attackers depend on weak passwords and the lack-of-awareness of the victim. It’s really that simple.
A cybercriminal cannot proceed with his or her plans when the information they steal from you is difficult to understand. By using encryption technology, you can transform vital data into an incomprehensible format, i.e. gibberish. The information can only return to its original format when the recipient has the correct key to decrypt it. Today, AES256 is a key defensive tool and has a modern algorithm that can encrypt your databases and hard drives.
Regular Software Updates
Software updates are programmed for good reasons. Cybercriminals cannot facilitate a crime with outdated hacking methods. Microsoft and Apple are companies that are constantly testing for vulnerabilities and disseminating updates to fix those holes. You should always take them up on those updates. Take for example, the WanaCry attacks that happened earlier in 2018. Hackers managed to hijack computers of hospital organizations because the systems were not patched and up-to-date. They managed to inject ransomware and malware.
There is a major different between HTTP and HTTPS. When you visit a website URL that starts with HTTP, it indicates that the page is currently unencrypted. This means that a hacker can track your activities on that page. In other cases, unsuspecting visitors may have stumbled onto a phishing website. When you are performing a task that requires you to exchange personal details or credit card numbers, it is pertinent that you check that the site has HTTPS in the website URL. You can get HTTPS by setting up SSL on your website.
Let’s get the basics right first before moving on to the next step. You should keep in mind that guessable, weak, and stolen passwords are the main causes of hacking-related breaches. You do not need to crack your brain to come up with a strong password. There’s a trick that you can try out – adding spaces and dashes in your passwords! For example, “cAn’t-gUesS mY-PasSworD!” is much better than “Password123.”
Now, a strong password will become useless once it gets leaked. How do you keep a strong password secure? You should utilize a password manager, avoid sharing the password, avoid writing the password down on paper, and avoid reusing the password on multiple sites.
Shun Phishing Emails
Some working professionals may have the habit of skimming through emails without really looking at it in detail. Nowadays, hackers are constantly sending out phishing emails. In these emails, they feature instructions for you to visit a website. If you unknowingly click on the link, you will be directed to a website where a malware will be silently installed on your computer. Next, you may also be prompted to provide personal details, such as your address, phone number, or password to a certain account. STOP! If you notice that the email and links within it feature poor syntax, incorrect spelling, weird links (e.g. http://haha.free.tickets.ckic.here.now.com), etc., you will know it is not a legitimate email.
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