If you feel like the phrase “cyber hygiene” belongs in a tech manual, not your digital everyday life, you’re not alone.
But the truth is, anyone who uses the internet should educate themselves on cyber hygiene.
This simply refers to a set of practices and habits that boost digital wellbeing.
Learn about these practices and why they are so important in our 2023 cybersecurity guide.
Why is cyber hygiene important?
Anyone who has access to the internet can be a victim of cybercrime.
In fact, cybercrime is considered to be one of the top 10 most severe global risks of the next decade, according to the World Economic Forum.
Let’s unpack few reasons you need to practice good cyber hygiene.
1. To protect your private information
Many cyber attackers try to uncover sensitive data, such as passwords, financial details, and personal identification. If you want to keep this data private, you need to practice good cyber hygiene.
2. To prevent identity theft
Once cybercriminals have access to personal information, they can impersonate you in order to open new lines of credit or commit fraud in your name. To prevent this, set strong passwords and safeguard any personal information.
3. To avoid financial losses
Victims of cybercrime often suffer financial losses after a ransom demand or unauthorized transaction. Upping cybersecurity can shield bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial assets from potential theft.
4. To maintain your reputation
A cyber attack can seriously harm your professional and personal reputation. Cyber hygiene helps you maintain your credibility and image in the online world.
Practicing good cyber hygiene is the best way to protect yourself from these cyberattacks. This includes staying informed, implementing strict security measures, and learning how to identify potential threats.
Important cyber hygiene tips
Now that you understand the importance of cyber hygiene, here are some tips to help you avoid fraud and surf the web safely.
1. Set strong passwords
Setting strong and unique passwords is one of the best ways to protect yourself from cyber-attacks. Passwords should be more than just a combination of letters and numbers. They should include special characters and be at least 12 characters long.
2. Get a VPN
According to recent studies, the use of VPNs has significantly increased in 2023, with more than 1.6 billion individuals utilizing VPN services.
So, what does a VPN do? Well, a VPN is a tool that encrypts your internet connection. This means when you’re using the internet, third parties can’t snoop on your activity or intercept your data.
This is a common cyber hygiene practice that is especially important if you use public Wi-Fi, which is not as safe as your home network.
3. Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Say a hacker does find a way past your password. Now, they have access to all your information. That is unless you have two-factor authentication enabled. This added security measure involves receiving a one-time code to your phone or email account, which you enter in addition to your password.
4. Regularly update your devices
Keeping your device and antivirus software updated is another essential cyber hygiene tip. When a system or device is updated, new safety measures are put in place that patch vulnerabilities. This makes it harder for cybercriminals to gain access.
In addition to boosting security, regular updates also improve the stability and performance of your system.
5. Beware of phishing
Check your spam email. You’ll likely find a few odd emails in there, like one congratulating you on winning a prize you didn’t apply for or warning you about an outstanding payment. These are phishing attacks, which is the most common cyber attack,
Approximately 3.4 billion spam emails are sent every day. Given the frequency of these emails, it’s important to always verify the authenticity of emails, especially those asking for money or personal information. If you think an email looks suspicious, never click on any links or downloads attached to the email.
To detect phishing, always look at who is sending the email. Cybercriminals often try to mimic legitimate emails, but there’s always some small variation that makes them identifiable. Also, look out for threatening language or spelling mistakes.
Stay safe online
Welcome to 2023, where cyber criminals won’t hesitate to use suspicious emails, weak passwords, or software vulnerabilities to access your private data or banking information. The tips mentioned above will help you stay safe from these cyber attackers.
Ultimately, your cybersecurity is in your hands. Up your cyber hygiene and enjoy a safe digital experience.