Nowadays, data security is vital for every internet user. And while you may not be in danger of getting mugged or stabbed, criminals on the internet are after something much more valuable: data. And every digital interaction, whether with a device, application, or feature, generates data. Is yours safe enough in a world that looks like ours? Read on to find out more.
Almost everyone is an internet user these days. The United States of America has some of the highest internet penetration stats in the world. Residential services like Cox internet plans cover most households located in key markets.
When not using their home Wi-Fi, people still use mobile internet services instead of staying offline till they can connect to a wireless network again.
Most businesses, educational institutes, medical service providers, and even not-for-profit organizations rely heavily on the internet as well. Many aspects of our lives are now driven by digital technology.
However, given how much internet use and various devices have cemented themselves in our lives, it is easy to become complacent. The internet isn’t always a safe place.
Data Security In A World Driven By Technology
Early internet access was restricted to government and military use. In fact, the first internet network was developed as a fail-safe to ensure government operations in case a nuclear attack disrupted conventional communication. That’s right! Cold War paranoia led to the development of one of the most significant technologies in human history. But in the early 90s, the internet became commercially available.
Over the decades, it penetrated not just homes and offices in the United States but also all over the world. Today, smartphones, computers, and even IoT devices rely on internet networks to work.
However, around the same time the internet became a commercially available service, a new breed of criminals began to emerge. Cybercriminals are undesirable elements, but they exist nonetheless. In many cases, they use sophisticated ways to infiltrate websites, devices, and even home networks.
Once in, they will usually target your data and personal information. They can steal it, use it fraudulently, impersonate you, or even hold sensitive information for ransom. In any case, you can be sure cybercriminals aren’t trying to hack you to access your calendar and figure out the best time to throw you a party. The cybersecurity industry is growing both in size and sophistication. But data is rarely safe if you, the first line of defense, don’t take the following precautions:
Use Strong Antivirus And Firewall Software
Using an updated antivirus tool is not optional if you’re an internet user, it is mandatory. An antivirus scans your device and network for commonly known types of malware. It can detect and deal with these viruses after a scan, as well as in real-time when the virus tries to make it into your device.
An updated antivirus tool can find the most recent threats since hackers continue to get smarter and more sophisticated. But where the antivirus software focuses on finding and removing malware that has entered your system or device, a firewall exists to make sure the malware does not get past it in the first place. A strong firewall will ensure your network and device are protected from commonly known malware types.
Set Strong And Unique Alphanumeric Passwords
It is astonishing how something as simple as using upper- and lower-case characters as well as symbols can boost your data security. Hackers tend to use a technique called brute force when hacking into accounts. Brute force involves bombarding the account log-in page with all possible permutations a simple password could have. This takes a lot of time, but if you have a weak password with just lower-case alphabets, you’re making it way too easy.
Create unique passwords for each account, and beef them up by using a mix of alphabets, numerals, and symbols. This makes it much harder for hackers to gain access via brute force since the number of permutations becomes much harder to process.
Healthy Skepticism At All Times
Finally, the best thing you can do for data security is to protect your data by developing a healthy sense of online skepticism. Be suspicious of links or websites that you don’t know. Don’t open emails or click on attachments that come from senders that you don’t know or who may be impersonating someone you do know.
Never share your date of birth, phone number, or address publicly on social media. Even when sharing this information with someone you know, make sure it’s the same person on the other end. Above all, invest in and start using a solid VPN service. The encryption tunnels make it much harder for someone to eavesdrop on you or monitor your activity.
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