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Home Cyber Security how to keep your personal life secure

Home Cyber Security

How to keep your personal life secure

Most people do not take a keen interest in keeping their passwords, sensitive data and other critical personal information safe from third parties. It is essential for people to research on data protection advice and use more stringent measures to protect their sensitive personal information. There is a lot of personal information targeted by hackers, which can be used for blackmail or undertake other ill intentions.

Cybersecurity is the process of protecting and recovering devices, networks, computer systems, and programs from any form of cyber-attack. The need for cybersecurity has increased, as more people are technology reliant now than ever before. Cybercrime has negative impacts on your personal assets and reputation. Home cyber security means bringing all the precautions not only at the workplace but also at home. Critical information to protect include and is not limited to your device, network, identity, credit card information and online data.

Cyber criminals target individuals with less suspecting attachments such as website links, photos or documents to access private information on your device. Children also make up most of the individuals easily targeted by scammers, hence the need to practice caution for your household's security and that of your documents.

Here Are Five Ways to Keep Your Personal Life Secure

1. Securing Your Devices and Networks Data Encryption Unlike the unpopular belief, data encryption is not only for tech geeks but anyone can encrypt their personal information. There are various publicly tools available to make encrypting and decrypting personal files easier

Backup Your Data Data backup is probably one of the most basic overlooked data protection measures. It helps you make a copy of your data so that if your device is stolen, lost or compromised, you can retain important information. The cloud offers a viable backup option for your data. You can easily access your information when you need it. It serves as an offsite data storage by a provider with a guarantee of adequate disaster recovery.

Use Anti-malware Protection Malicious software is designed to damage or infiltrate your computer without your consent. Malware can be designed in the form of a photo, video, an email, or downloadable attachment. The recommendable way to deal with such scammers is by installing an updated anti-virus protection program that reliably scans for malicious attachments.

Make Old Computer Hard Drives Unreadable Buying a new device requires file transfer from an old gadget to the new one. Important data may be left behind in old hard drives and may in the end run into the wrong hands. To avoid this, it is advisable that one cleans their old hard drives with a disk shred that wipes out any critical data.

Install Operating System Updates Updates from operating system professionals include important security patches that counter critical spyware holes and stabilize software operations. The ultimate goal is to secure user data and improve user experience.

Automate Software Update Upon installing the best software to protect your device, it is paramount that the updates are automated to avoid malware penetrating through the system undetected. Automating this process reduces any instances of forgetting to update the patches manually.

Establish A Secure Network At Home or Business Secure, encrypt and hide your Wi-Fi network either at home or at the business to block access by strangers, as there may be attempts to steal private information. The most common way to avoid this is by setting up your wireless access not to broadcast the network name also known as Service Set Identifier (SSID).

Turn Off Your Computer Rogue attacks are executed when people leave their computers open and connected to the internet. Leaving your computer open for a considerably long time gives a scammer ample time to access your information and install a virus that potentially risks any critical information on your computer.

Use Firewalls A firewall is a security system in a network that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing traffic preventing unauthorized access. Having firewalls in your device blocks potentially dangerous malware, spyware or viruses from infiltrating your system.

Use Passphrases Instead of Passwords Cyber attackers use characters a device owner is likely to have at the top of their head as passwords. Using passphrases poses a challenging task to cyber attackers as they are longer and easy to remember but hard to crack for hackers.

USB and SIM Card Encryption Converting data into a code reduces the chances of strangers interpreting information in removable devices that have been lost or fallen into the wrong hands. Copying or cloning information from a USB drive has been made easy by the available copy-paste shortcuts. Encrypting a SIM card reduces instances of someone stealing all your files and installing malware that will affect the plugged-in computer.

Do Not Expose Your Passwords With most organizations digitally choosing to work from home, individuals with home offices should not store their passwords by their laptops or mobile devices. Thieves or ill-intended individuals may use them to gain access to critical work information.

Practice the Principle of Least Privilege This is a practice of limiting access rights for computer users to the bare minimum unless when doing specific tasks. It is crucial to avoid logging into a computer with administrator rights as this leaves the computer vulnerable to malicious attacks.

Disable File and Media Sharing File and media sharing is a convenient method for sharing files within multiple devices connected to a home or business network. This convenience may however risk the files being accessed by members of the public. To reduce the visibility of your files from other machines, it is advisable to disable this feature.

Overwriting Old Data Erasing all information on a hard disk may seem like the right move to fully destroying data previously available on your pc. This is however not the case. Tech-savvy criminals may still dig into erased information and recover critical personal information. Overwriting on the other hand, reduces such instances by replacing previously available information with new information.

Delete Old Files from Cloud Backups Backing up your data through cloud storage is ultimately the best option in town. However, deleting this data may be confusing as deleting them from your computer or mobile phone doesn't delete them from the cloud simultaneously. Do not forget to delete the files together with those overwritten on local devices.

2. Protecting Data in Your Mobile Devices Lock Your Smartphone and Tablets It takes a single mistake for your device to slip up your pockets and possibly end up in the wrong hands at either the restaurant or workplace. Making sure that your device is locked reduces the chances that a stranger may take a sneak peek at your information. Gadgets currently available in the market have a broad range of security options from passcodes, fingerprint sensors, face recognition and passwords.

Backup your mobile device data Photos or work documents may clog up your phone-installed storage requiring one to upload crucial data onto cloud storage. This not only saves on space but also facilitates automatic backups of important documents.

Disable Bluetooth when not in use Bluetooth offers a high-speed, low powered wireless link between devices conveniently allowing for the transfer of documents, files and photos. When left on, most attackers use it to access available information regardless of available security patches already available and installed on the device.

Install Anti-Malware for Your Mobile Device Anti-malware software are mainly available for computer users leading to people overlooking the need to install them on their mobile devices. Due to the increased rate of ingenious hackers, it is important to have an anti-malware installed in your device to scan unauthorized access from ingoing and outgoing traffic.

Take note of device privacy settings Take time to check out the privacy settings of new devices or operating systems to keep track of how much sensitive information you are sharing.

Set Up Content Filters Limiting the content accessed by kids on the internet requires strict scrutiny. Content filters are programs that screen and limit access to certain webpages for kids' safety and that of the files in the device. These programs ensure that kids cannot download apps or visit malicious websites that can potentially risk your personal security.

Ensure Your Device Locks after a Short Period Configure your device to lock after a period of inactivity. This is a simplified way to avoid access to your smartphone by unfamiliar individuals.

Set Device to Factory Defaults before Discarding A factory reset or software restore is erasing all information in a device to its original system state. This ensures that whoever the device has been donated to has no access to the owner's information whatsoever. Though this may seem to be a perfect way to get rid of critical information, research should be done just to ensure the method truly works.

3. Protecting Your Credit Personal cyber security cannot be entirely discussed without mentioning the best ways to secure your credit card information. Below are ways to advance your security tactics.

Sign up for email alerts for transactions Signing up for email alerts with your bank for every transaction associated with your credit card allows you to pinpoint unauthorized charges. Though not all banks may offer this service, it is recommended to have a system that alerts you upon every credit card use.

Shop on Familiar Websites With the increased rate of online shopping, it is advisable to shop on websites likely to offer fraud protection options. Shopping with small unfamiliar online retailers poses a great risk of being scammed. Being familiar with the company and website makes it easier for follow-up in case of hitches.

Review Card Statements Regularly Regularly reviewing bank and credit card statements help look for inconsistent spending or unauthorized withdrawals associated with your card. This also helps keep an eye on small illegitimate transactions done by companies that defraud their own customers.

Sign up for free credit reports Annual credit reports help check for fraudulent activity that may be associated with your account in a span of a year. In case of any issues, a complaint is submitted to the bank for a proper investigation.

Use a Different Card When Shopping Online It is advisable to use a low-balance credit card specifically for all your online transactions. This is for those in the retail sector and firms that conduct business purchases using company credit cards.

Get a One-Call Fraud Alert The best way to stay ahead of suspicious activity is by setting up a one-call fraud alert from the credit bureaus. This preference remains in your credit file requiring creditors to first check-in with you before increasing credit limits or opening any new accounts.

Look Out for Suspicious Offers Online fraudsters use complicated but tactful insights to capture the attention of the credit card holder. It is highly recommended not to open unsolicited emails promoting credit card services not sent by the actual credit card company or bank.

Sign When Using Debit Cards Most retailers use debit card options for shopping payments, while this may be a convenient way to pay for your bills, it is advisable to sign and not enter your pin. Entering a pin into a keypad poses a great risk as ill-intended cashiers may steal your pin.

4. Protecting Your Data on Social Media Customize your network privacy settings Choosing the highest privacy level ensures that critical personal information is not available to individuals you follow on your social media accounts. This critical information includes the date of birth, hometown, place of occupation and home address. Block suspicious social media users The internet has many individuals willing to tarnish other people's images with no regard for the consequences. The block button helps choose users to associate with and those not to associate with. Such users cannot message you nor interact with your content.

Use Two-Step Verification Home cyber security features offered by some social media applications require an account password and a numeric code to sign in. This feature ensures that no one can access your account without the possession of your mobile device.

5. Protecting Your Online Data Use two-factor authentication This additional layer of security allows one to only log in to an account by answering a set of questions previously set when registering. It protects the account in the event a hacker cracks your password. Authenticator apps are also available for such security preferences.

Do not forget to sign out Using public computers to access your personal files is common when you are not with your personal computer near you. This requires signing in to your online accounts and a time one may forget to sign out. When using public computers, it is important to sign out your email address before closing your browser.

Explore and Understand Website Privacy Settings As a social networking platform user, it is of supreme importance to read and understand the privacy settings that control individuals viewing your content. This helps reduce scenarios where personal information is shared without the consent of the owner. Delete emails from unknown sources

Scammers have advanced their fraud methods by writing custom emails with extensions containing spyware and viruses to unsuspecting individuals. Do not open emails from people you do not know, even the ones that may seem legitimate. Forwarding such emails to your contact list risks the files of your loved ones.

Use Secure Websites for Sensitive Transactions When sharing sensitive information or transacting online, it is advisable to use a website that encrypts the session with a digital certificate, such as HTTPS. Be on the Lookout for Phishing Emails Fraudsters impersonate legitimate organizations, email individuals and trick them into offers stealing their user data including login credentials and credit card numbers. These emails have links that lead to websites that seem legitimate but are actually used to phish log in data and credit card information.

Use disposable email When logging into a website for a specific purpose, it is recommended to use a disposable email address. These instances may vary from individual to individuals but ultimately it is unsafe to use your original email address when doing a free software trial.

Use Secure Mobile Access Options Some banks and premium mobile service providers offer secure mobile access without having to create vulnerable scenarios that expose personal account information and passwords. This enables users to access services without physically keying in their credentials.

Don't Save Passwords in Your Browser Storing passwords on browsers makes computer access convenient and creates a great risk as someone else can easily access the same site using this feature. Deny these pop-ups the permission to store your password and be in control of your personal cyber security.

Use Different Emails for Different Contexts There are many disasters one cannot evade when using the same email account for all online businesses. Cyber security experts recommend using different email addresses for different purposes for example one for personal accounts, one for online transactions and another for retail accounts. Having a primary email address for long term projects makes it easier to sort work projects as needed.

Read more at Woods LLP

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