We’re approaching an age where everything is becoming integrated with technology. From our phones to the cars that we drive, everything has gone digital. And while all this new technology provides us with convenience and comfort, it also introduces a significant risk in terms of security. Here is why cyber security is important and how you can protect your data.
What Is Cyber Security?
Cyber Security is the practice of protecting yourself from unwanted people gaining access to your computer, data, passwords, or anything else that can harm you. The term ‘cyber’ usually implies that it has something to do with computers. However, the problem goes far deeper than simply being connected to a network.
We live in an age where everything around us is digitized, which means virtually everything can be accessed by someone who knows how to hack into it. This includes databases containing information on credit cards or bank accounts, emails containing sensitive information, even password-protected sites, and files. With so much digital information floating around in cyberspace today, cyber security is more significant than ever before.
So, How Can You Protect Yourself?
1. Using VPN
Using a Virtual Private Network, or VPN is perhaps one of the most important tools to have in terms of cyber security. A VPN encrypts your data so that other people can’t read it while you use an internet connection, whether public or private. In addition, a VPN provides you with an ‘anonymous IP address,’ meaning that websites think there’s someone else sitting at the other end. This deters hackers from targeting you because they can’t be sure if their attack will succeed or not.
There are many types of VPN available today. Some protect your entire computer and others just focus on specific apps like Chrome or Firefox (which means that everything is protected except for your web browser). If you are a big fan of certain games like Draftkings, but you want to stay safe, use a VPN for Draftkings and you won’t have to worry about your data. VPN’s are really easy to use, and they cost very little on top of the monthly payment for your internet, although there are even some free ones.
2. Keep Your Computer Up To Date
It is important that you keep all the software on your computer up to date. If any software has an update available, download it as soon as possible because this means it is less vulnerable to hackers than the older version of the software was. You can also check on security certificates required by certain apps or websites that you frequently use.
A security certificate ensures that your data is being sent over a secure connection (e.g., HTTPS instead of just HTTP). For example, if you are shopping online with sites like PayPal, make sure that their security certificate is up-to-date. This means that your credit/debit card details are not being intercepted by other people while they’re in transit between you and the seller’s computer.
For example, if you were to log onto a site like PayPal over HTTP instead of HTTPS, anyone with the ability to monitor network traffic could read everything that you sent to and from the website. So, if you don’t want this, you have to be aware of everything you do on the internet.
Passwords are one of the most common things that people use to protect their data. The more complicated your password is, the harder it will be to guess. It should be at least 8 characters long if you want to give yourself a good chance of not having your data hacked into. You can also take some steps to make it harder for other people to guess.
Another common practice nowadays is using ‘passphrases’ — long sentences or phrases that are easy for you to remember but hard for other people to guess correctly every time. There are many other things that you should look after — your credit card details, your bank account numbers, and more. It is important not to use the same password everywhere, but also to update them regularly so that they’re always strong enough to keep hackers off your back.
Also, social media can put your data at risk if you’re not careful. This includes posting an image of a passport online, revealing too much information in statuses, or sharing images that may help a hacker guess what passwords you might be using for other websites (e.g., a photo of yourself holding your car keys).
Doing regular updates on all the software on your computer means it’s less likely to have vulnerabilities that can be used by hackers to access it. Change your passwords regularly, be aware of your internet activities, and you will be just fine!
Featured image: Pexels (cottonbro).