Technology has completely changed most of our lives in recent years. Billions of people all around the globe have access to the web, and they use it for all different things. People rely on technology to work, socialize, communicate with others, play games, the list goes on. It is hard to imagine life without technology.
Unfortunately, there are many downsides to the technology we use. One of the biggest issues internet users face is cybercrime. There are thousands of cybercriminals out there that are looking for new victims, and with many people working from remote locations since the outbreak of Covid-19, there has been a huge increase in the number of cyberattacks reported.
Most of the time, hackers are looking to steal sensitive data. They are known to extort money from their victims, and to steal their identity. This can ruin a person’s life, and catching the culprits is often very difficult for authorities. Most of the time cybercriminals are located abroad, so there is very little local authorities can do to help. However, there are many things you can do to reduce the chances of becoming a victim.
Invest in a VPN Provider
Investing in a well-known, secure VPN service can boost your security settings. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) will mask your original IP address and replace it with a new one. Cybercriminals find it a lot harder to hack computers if the person is using a VPN. Without knowing their victim’s genuine IP address, gaining access to their computer is not going to be easy.
There has been a huge increase in the number of people purchasing VPN services since the pandemic began. Because a lot of folks are working from home instead of in an office, it is not surprising that so many people have been wanting to increase their security. People worry about sending confidential files and folders through a network without having a VPN.
There are a lot of VPN providers looking for new customers, so you can really get good value for your money. Avoid running free VPN services. Although it might seem like a good idea to employ a free VPN, your genuine IP address is at risk of being leaked.
Use a Virtual Data Room
In the past, businesses all around the world used Physical Data Rooms to store sensitive files and folders. However, over the past couple of decades, Virtual Data Rooms (VDR) have become a popular alternative.
A VDR is a highly secure repository on the web that allows users to store, review and edit sensitive files. It allows multiple users to store data, and administrators can set different permissions so they are in control of the data that is stored in the room. They can decide what documents are allowed to be edited, whether or not the users are allowed to “copy” and “paste” files if the users are allowed to take screenshots, and who is allowed to use the data room.
Businesses have been employing this service for several years. Most business owners feel VDRs are more secure than Physical Data Room. Physical documents can get destroyed or damaged over time, and they are not as convenient as VDRs. An employee can access the VDR whenever, and wherever they want. They don’t have to physically go to the office to store or access files located in a VDR. For more information about Virtual Data Rooms, check out https://www.firmex.com/.
Store your Files with an Encrypted Hard Drive
Encrypting your hard drives is another popular way to secure your sensitive data. There is a lot of software readily available online that allows you to do a Full Disk Encryption (FDE), which is one of the most popular encryption methods. Without using an FDE, cybercriminals will find it easy to access your files and folders stored on your drive.
Consider buying an external hard drive, or flash drive to store highly secure data. They can be used for confidential files and you don’t have to have them connected to your computer all the time. Encrypting all your hard drives, internal and external drives will make it a lot harder for hackers to gain access. To access these drives, cybercriminals will have to show your password.
A lot of people use smart devices to connect to the internet, and many assume that they are a lot safer than desktop computers or laptops, but cybercriminals attacking smart devices have been increasing in recent years. If you store sensitive data on a smart device, understand that you are vulnerable to becoming a victim of a cyber attack too. A lot of smart devices allow you to add a micro SD card. If you invest in a micro SD you can secure your private data by encrypting it with a highly secure password.
Use a Strong Password
One of the easiest and one of the most effective ways of securing your sensitive data is by using strong passwords. If you want to improve your current passwords, follow these steps:
- Do not use the same password twice: Have a different password for your email address, social networking profiles, your online bank account, etc. Although it’s easier to remember the same password, it puts your device and the files stored on your device at serious risk.
- When you are making your password, make sure nobody sees you: Avoid creating a new password in a public place. If someone looks over your shoulder, they will be able to access your account.
- Log off: Once you are finished using a device, don’t forget to log out of any accounts you have opened. If a person uses the device after you, they will be able to access the accounts you forgot to log out of. This can be extremely dangerous, especially if you are using a computer in a public area like a WiFi cafe.
- Don’t tell anyone what your passwords are.
- Change your password: People have the same email address for decades without changing their password. Consider creating a new password periodically, and don’t use the same password that you have used in the past.
- Consider using at least 8 different characters when creating a new password. Make it even harder for hackers to guess your password by using upper and lowercase letters. You can add symbols and numbers too.
- Don’t create a password that is difficult to remember, but don’t use one that is easy to guess either.
If you find it difficult to remember all your passwords, you can write it down to remind you. However, be careful where you store it. Avoid storing it near your computer or your smart devices. Instead, consider storing it in the back of an old photograph inside a frame.
There are strength analyzers online that will tell you if the password you have chosen is strong or not.
In 2021, there will be around thirty thousand websites attacked each day. The majority of businesses around the world have experienced at least one cyber attack. Last year, ransomware cases increased by one hundred and fifty percent. People around the globe have lost vast sums of money, their private files and folders, and their identity to these criminals. Avoid being complacent, and make sure your security settings have been updated.
Jason is the Marketing Manager at a local advertising company in Australia. He moved to Australia 10 years back for his passion for advertising. Jason recently joined BFA as a volunteer writer and contributes by sharing his valuable experience and knowledge.