The Internet can be a dangerous place. It’s true that many of the people who are online are good, honest citizens who mean no harm to anyone else.
There are some bad apples, however. There are criminals out there who want to do people harm through both physical and virtual means.
Everyone has all heard about viruses that silently attack computers without the owner’s knowledge or permission, about identity theft that costs innocent victims dearly, and about hackers intent on breaching any system they can find for reasons of curiosity or profit.
Technology has always been at odds with man since it began to exist – but until now, most crimes related to technology were committed by humans against other humans rather than between machines themselves.
Unfortunately, the latter type of crime is becoming more prevalent as technology advances. As a result, businesses and individuals need to be aware of the risks and take action before they too fall victim to cybercriminals.
Here Are 11 Ways That Businesses Can Increase Their Security
1. Educate Yourself
Knowledge is power, and understanding how cybercrime works and securing your business information with bot detection gives you a better chance of preventing it. Watch online videos about phishing scams and other common tricks used by criminals to see what kinds of things people do to steal your identity or take control of your computer.
2. Don’t Use the Same Passwords for Multiple Accounts
The biggest pitfall of using the same password on multiple accounts is that if one of them is compromised, it will give the hacker access to everything using that same username and password.
Therefore, it’s best to have completely different passwords for each account that requires them so that even if someone has your login information for one site or service, they can’t get into yours.
3. Beware of Phishing
Phishing is when criminals pretend to be someone else in order to get you to share sensitive information about yourself. This can be done by creating a website or email pretending to come from a company or organization you trust and asking you for passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, etc., typically through a link.
These may include a legitimate-looking address at the top, but it will usually go directly to their own site once you click on it. It’s important that if somebody asks for any of this information from you via email, phone call, letter, etc. that you check with them directly before giving it out. Make sure they’re who they say they are and not some other person trying to get access to your accounts.
4. Use VPNs
Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, encrypt traffic going to and from a device through a remote connection so the transmitted data can’t be seen.
This allows people to browse privately without leaving a digital trail that could give hackers a way into their systems. The best part is that it’s usually free if you only need local server access rather than widespread internet connectivity between different locations.
5. Don’t Click Links In Emails
Cybercriminals use phishing emails to try and trick people into clicking links that either download computer viruses or give them access to your email account.
The best way to avoid these is simply not opening any links sent in an email if you don’t know who it’s from, but if you do open one without knowing better, hover over the link with your cursor rather than clicking on it directly. This will show where it goes before actually following the hyperlink.
6. Look for HTTPS
Websites with a “lock” icon and the letter S in the browser bar before the site’s name typically use something called SSL, which stands for secure sockets layer.
This encrypts communications between you and the website and helps protect any sensitive data that is transmitted (like passwords, credit card numbers, etc.).
It may be possible to hack into this encryption, but it takes much more time and effort than typical unencrypted sites, so it’s still worth protecting yourself instead of doing nothing at all.
Photo by FLY:D on Unsplash
7. Watch Out For Keyloggers
Keyloggers, sometimes called hardware keyloggers, are programs designed to record all of the keys struck on a keyboard and secretly send this information back to whoever installed it on somebody’s computer.
If you click on a link in an email from a trusted friend, it could be sending this information back to criminals who can then log in as you when the keystrokes match your password.
8. Check Privacy Settings On Social Media
A good safety measure for social media accounts is checking privacy settings on Facebook and other sites to ensure that they’re set so that strangers can’t see personal information.
In addition, whenever you fill out any profile information, be sure also to set who can tag or get tagged by you. On Facebook especially, certain default privacy settings get changed when you install apps that allow them to publish content on your page, so make certain that you change them.
9. Be Careful When Using Public Wifi
Public Wifi is a common target for criminals because it’s insecure by default. It can allow intruders to see information that you send over the network and even capture sensitive data like credit card numbers if they’re not encrypted. Using your cellular connection instead of free hotspots is a much better option whenever possible.
10. Two-Factor Authentication
Using two-factor authentication (2FA) is also an excellent idea whenever possible because it requires multiple steps in order to access something, not just a password.
In the case of online services, 2FA is usually in the form of sending an SMS to your phone with a code that you must enter before gaining access. As this is more secure than passwords alone, every account where it’s possible should use protection like this.
11. Make A Strong Password
A simple phrase or sentence that includes spaces is something that hackers know how to crack in seconds using brute force. Likewise, using symbols and numbers in a password makes it harder for them to figure out what’s going on with typos and misspelling.
However, even still, there are programs designed specifically to guess every possible combination of letters, numbers, and symbols until they find the right one.
Main image by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels