Last week’s ransomware attack continues to affect institutions all over the world. A phishing scam earlier this month targeted about one billion Gmail users through fake Google Doc links. This spike in security breaches is unsettling, and it points to a much larger concern.
A recent study found that the global economy took a $450 billion hit last year due to cybercrime, which underscores the importance of identifying where and how your technology is most vulnerable and defending it accordingly. From purchasing a VPN service to putting tape over your webcam, there are a variety of ways to keep your information safe.
Here are eight steps you can take toward better securing your devices.
You can download messaging apps including Signal, Silent Phone or WhatsApp for your communication needs -- all offer message encryption. You can also enable the built-in encryption in your devices such as FileVault for Apple and Bitlocker for Windows.
Investigate VPN (Virtual Private Network) services such as IPVanish, Express VPN and NordVPN to create a secure network connection for you and your employees. And never assume that public Wi-Fi networks like the kind you can hop onto in a coffee shop or hotel lobby are safe.
For every one of your accounts, from email to social media, set up a multiple-factor authentication system. When you enter your password, a one-time code will be sent to your phone, which you must enter to complete your login.
Make sure that you are using the most secure version of the websites you frequent. The most protected ones will have HTTPS at the beginning of the URL. You can use a plugin called HTTPS Everywhere
created by the Electronic Frontier Foundation to be certain of which type you are using. Also, remember that if you are in incognito mode, it will not protect you from hackers or your Internet Service provider seeing your search history.
is a search engine
built on a platform that claims it won’t track your searches or collect any identifying information about you, including logins and IP addresses.
It seems that it should go without saying, but it bears repeating: Change your passwords regularly, and make them a random combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
To help you remember your password, you can use secure password managers such as 1Password
. But be aware that password managers can get hacked, too, as LastPass did last year
. If you write them down on a piece of paper to keep by your desk and shred every month when you change them, that works too -- just don’t forget where you put it.
Don’t click on links from senders that you don’t recognize. And even if you are familiar with the name that lands in your inbox, if something seems off to you, just delete it.