Ten Cyber Security Strategies That You Can Easily Implement, Right Now
- Use strong passwords
- Install anti-virus software
- Get a VPN
- Two factor authentification
- Pay with your phone
- Clear your cache
- Stop saving your passwords in websites
- Use secure and approved cloud services
- Reset your default wifi password
- Don’t use USB sticks
In our workplaces and while conducting personal business online, we are often dealing with sensitive and confidential information.
As so many businesses have moved to implement a partial or full work from home policy in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdowns and outbreaks, our cyber security has become paramount to safeguarding the private and personal information we deal with on as regular basis.
Here are ten cyber security strategies to safeguard yourself from cyber criminals that you can implement easily, right now.
Cyber Security Strategies to Implement
Use strong passwords
It should come as no surprise that you need a strong password these days. Employing a strong password for each application that requires one is your best safeguard against hackers. Your passwords should be:
- At least 8 characters long
- Include symbols and numbers
- Different for each program or site you access
You can incorporate symbols and numbers into the ‘spelling’ of a word or phrase so you will remember it. Eg ‘bits and bobs’ becomes ‘[email protected]’
To help you manage each unique password you create, you can use a Password Manager like LastPass.
Install anti-virus software
Although it’s called ‘anti-virus’, software to protect you from viruses online actually does so much more than just fend off computer viruses. They protect from ransomware which encrypts your files and then demands payment, bots that can perform all kinds of actions at the request of the bot herder and Trojan horse which steals your private information.
It can be tempting to set and forget once you have installed anti-virus software but it’s important to keep it updated and check on it every once in a while.
Get a VPN and make sure you use it in WIFI
If you’ve decided to work from a café or hotel, it’s important to employ extra cyber security strategies. You might think there is no harm logging into a public WIFI connection but you can be very wrong.
Anytime you log into a WIFI that is not yours, you should be using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). When you log into someone else’s WIFI you could be at risk of having someone access your computer files or private information.
A VPN can encrypt your internet traffic and reroute your connection through a server owned by the VPN company making it more secure and safer than a standard WIFI connection.
Always do two factor authentication
If you have the option, always do two factor authentication. It’s so much more secure than simply entering a password or passcode.
Two factor authentication works on three different levels testing something you are, something you know and something you have.
Something you are, is for example when you use your fingerprint or facial recognition software. Something you know is your username and password and something you have is your mobile phone.
If you use just your password to log into accounts, once someone has that password, they basically just own your account. That’s why it’s so important to add two step verification.
Pay with your phone and not your credit card it’s more secure
It might surprise you to find out that paying with your phone is safer than paying with your credit card. The system of credit cards is outdated and now with pay pass making it easy for a thief to spend up to $1000 in $100 purchases without needing to use your pin or provide a signature, it’s even less safe than it used to be.
Whereas using Apple Pay or the android equivalent is going to be a safer option. The application generates a one-use authentication code that’s only good for that one purchase so even if someone were to steal that code it wouldn’t work because it’s already been used.
Clear your cache
Consider all the searches you complete on a day-to-day basis. Looking for restaurants in your area or services like plumbers, searching for presents for family or trying to find out when your kerbside collection is.
Your search history says a lot about you. It could giveaway where you live, your family and marital status, your regular purchases and salary range, your political beliefs.
To better protect your personal data online, delete browser cookies and clear your search history every now and again.
Stop saving your password in websites
This one might seem obvious but really, we have all been guilty of it at one time or another. It’s time to go through and remove all your saved passwords. You should not be selecting ‘save password’ on any of the websites you log into, no matter how inconvenient it is to consistently have to enter your password.
Use secure and approved cloud services
It is safer and more sensible to use a cloud-based storage system than to store files and documents locally on your hard drive.
You can secure your work files and ensure that they have another layer of protection by using a cloud-based content storage system such as Office 365.
Reset your default WIFI password
Prior to bringing our work home with us, many people did not really concern themselves with a small step such as resetting the default WIFI router password.
When it’s just you and your information it seems less critical than when a client’s personal data could be compromised.
Resetting the default WIFI password is a simple step that provides additional piece of mind and protection when you are working from home.
It keeps your data and your work data safe from the middleman and makes it unique and personal therefore harder to guess.
Do not use USB sticks
If you can avoid it, do not use USB sticks at all. There have so many instances of these devices containing malware. It seems like a fairly safe thing to do, just something to store a few files, or back up a project.
But we have cloud subscriptions for that now and external hard drives. Don’t risk the whole system because you didn’t want to get up and grab your external hard drive out of the cupboard or set up your cloud storage correctly.
When it comes to cyber security, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. These simple cyber security strategies will be the best form of protection for those of us who have little to no knowledge of technical cyber safety protocols.
Want to learn more about cyber security? Check out Asset College’s Certificate IV in Cyber Security.