Staying Safe From Cyber Thieves
Securing your digital affairs can be a difficult task. Each news cycle often feels like it brings some new horror story from the depths of the Internet where some new group has exploited yet another security flaw and endangered who knows how many accounts. This can leave one feeling highly uncertain about how to stay safe online and prevent access to things like financial records. While you can’t be perfectly safe, you can take a variety of steps to help protect yourself from your side. Any service providers will need to be doing their homework too to maximize your safety. The steps we’re going to cover are widely advocated for by privacy and cyber security experts thanks to their ability to help protect you and your data. They may seem a little complicated at first, but a little complexity seems fair in exchange for safety. We do wish to stress that there is one central rule when it comes to cyber security: stay alert and watch for telling differences. Learning what to look for can help a lot.
There’s a common misconception that you can always trust an official looking e-mail. After all, it has to be harder than average to pretend to be a given company, right? This idea is what hands a lot of data to people regularly. A common method of stealing information from people is simply to trick them into giving you their information. That makes it incredibly easy to gain access to accounts without any fuss whatsoever. Staying alert to potential scams like this can help you. The most basic form of the scam masquerades as a customer support e-mail of some sort from a company. You’re asked to verify your account name and password. Sometimes it is requested in the body of an e-mail response and other times you’ll get a link to an official-looking page. Don’t send the e-mail back. The company doesn’t need your password or account name. They have those already. Check the URL on websites such things link you to to make sure they’re part of the company website’s base URL and not a random one you’ve never seen before. This will help you avoid handing out information to the wrong people.
Look Into Browser Security
Most major browsers have add-ons at this point. These are extra bits of modular programming that you can expand the functions of a given program. Not unsurprisingly, there are a lot of security add-ons out there designed to undermine common methods of trapping and harming browsers. A script blocker is a fairly basic form of this. They’re designed to stop any scripts, commands that run when a page is loaded, from running without you authorizing them. This helps to neutralize particular attacks that can take control of your browser and direct them to fraudulent URLs like we discussed earlier or simply trapping you on pages with an ad. There are even some that can lift data from your browser. An ad blocker is always a good way to go as well. Most of these add-ons require being configured to work properly and may ask you to be more involved in your own security while you use the Internet by requiring you to give permissions on new pages. These steps will help you protect yourself though.
Password Managers Are Your Friend
There’s a sad trend where most of us have a handful of passwords that we regularly reuse. Don’t feel ashamed. Everybody does it. It is just hard to try to remember how to properly make and maintain a lot of passwords. Repeats end up feeling inevitable no matter how many people caution us against it. You can work against this by looking into a password manager such as KeePass or another recognizable name. Password managers are, in many ways, your password vault. They will contain all your other passwords behind a single password in an encrypted database on your computer. You can keep them out of your browser’s privacy settings in this way and increase your security. Many password managers also have a password generator function that lets them make that new password for you. These are generally secure, hard to guess, and hard to brute force hack. You can rest a little bit easier then and not need to try to remember countless small passwords.
Staying secure and safe in the digital era can take a little effort. There are plenty of tricks out there that exploit the overall ineptness at machines for outwitting human thought at the moment and our own personal failings in logic. Working against these in various ways can increase how secure we are digitally and let us all feel that much safer. All it takes it making the effort and changing a few habits.