9 Cybersecurity Tips to Keep You Safe in 2023
Cybersecurity practices change as new technologies are developed. To be better protected against cyberattacks, you should always carry a few simple tips with you. Here are some general guidelines to abide by in 2023 for your safety.
1. Make use of a Password Manager and strong passwords.
It is very important that you create secure passwords for all of your accounts, and you should go one step further and use different passwords for each one. This protects you in a variety of ways.
You are better protected against various types of attacks, such as brute force ones, when you use strong passwords. These attacks take place when a “threat actor,” or online criminal, tries to figure out your password by using software that generates random and well-known passwords (obtained from data breaches).
Consider a Brute Force Attack as trying every possible number combination between 0000 and 9999 to find the correct combination if you’ve forgotten the combination to the padlock on your locker. The same principles govern brute force attacks. Strong passwords, which consist of a mix of lower- and upper-case letters, numbers, and special characters, significantly reduce the likelihood that a Brute Force Attack will succeed. Furthermore, using a strong password makes it more difficult for someone to guess your password.
However, keep in mind that the threat actor might be seated right next to you in the office and not always on the other side of your screen. Password managers are useful in situations like these. You only need to keep track of one password if you use a Password Manager. If you’ve already stored the password in the password manager, it will retrieve it once you enter the master password and input it into the form you’re filling out. As a result, you can create extremely complex and long passwords without having to worry about remembering them or writing them down on a post-it note.
2. Make Use of Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Your password serves as the first line of defense against unauthorized access to your account. The second layer is two-factor authentication (2FA). You should be using it to add an extra blanket of security to your accounts.
2FA is, at its most basic, an identity verification software. The 2FA feature will activate and require you to confirm your identity if you (or the threat actor) enter the right password for your account. This is typically done by entering a series of random numbers or letters that were sent to you via SMS (cellphone texts) or by an app.
For all of your accounts, including Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, Amazon, eBay, Nintendo, and any others you may have, you can (and should) use 2FA.
3. Double-Check That Link Before You Click
One of the most prevalent types of cyberattack is phishing. Phishing is a type of cyberattack that primarily uses email but can also use SMS. The threat actor tries to persuade you to click a fake link that will direct you to an impostor website or even download malware onto your computer.
Verify that a link is going to the actual website you want to visit twice before clicking on it. The difference can be as minor as “arnazon.com” and “amazon.com”.
4. Use a VPN When On Public Wi-Fi
In an emergency, public Wi-Fi can be very helpful, but you should avoid connecting to one unless you have to. Make sure to connect to a VPN if you decide to use a public Wi-Fi network. If not, anyone on that network might see your traffic.
Even worse, if you send any sensitive data over the network without encryption (like HTTPS), the network administrator or other users may be able to intercept that data. Sensitive information should never be sent over unencrypted HTTP, but doing so on a public Wi-Fi network is particularly risky.
Doing those delicate tasks from your own private network is the ideal solution. Use your cellular data to be safe if you need to perform an urgent task while in public. Even though public Wi-Fi is safer than it once was, it is still a good idea to connect to a VPN if that is not an option.
5. Update Apps and Devices
In addition to bringing you cool new features, app and device updates frequently include crucial security patches. Make sure to always keep your devices updated to avoid being hit by malware or zero-day exploits, regardless of the device—phone, laptop, apps, or even your NAS. Don’t be caught without these security updates; they are crucial.
6. Avoid Jailbreaking Your iPhone
In order to gain control over iOS, hackers must first identify security flaws in the iOS operating system for the iPhone. This is referred to as jailbreaking. You might be tempted to download this jailbreaking tool after the hacker releases it for public use.
When you jailbreak your phone, you run the risk of not only making it unstable but also making it vulnerable to threats from threat actors who are also using this exploit.
You should probably just purchase an Android if you feel the need to jailbreak your iPhone.
7. Avoid storing sensitive information on your phone
Remember, cyberattacks don’t always happen on the other side of the screen, as mentioned earlier. Your personal information is stored on your phone, making you vulnerable if you misplace it and someone finds it or if they physically access it.
Never store any information you don’t want the public to see on your phone, but it’s a good idea to always use a passcode lock to prevent threat actors from accessing it. Passwords, private data, and sensitive images fall under this category.
8. Use Privacy-Focused Apps
You can protect your personal information from being collected, including your contacts, browsing history, ad interactions, and more, by using privacy-focused apps. These apps may not only help you avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime.
You can swap out the commonplace software you’re used to with a wide variety of privacy-focused programs. Here are a few recommended apps:
- Email service provider: ProtonMail
- Search Engine: DuckDuckGo or Startpage
- Messaging app: Signal
9. Make Your Local Network Secure
The devices in your home are linked to the internet and each other by your local network. Someone with malicious intentions could potentially have access to a wealth of information if your local network is compromised. Once someone has access to your local network, it is frequently much simpler for them to gain access to other networked devices (like computers or security cameras). It is best to avoid this risk.
You can take a few actions to strengthen the security of your network.
- Change your router’s default login password to something strong and secure. Many routers, especially older models, use standard administrative passwords that are easily found on the internet.
- Update the firmware on your router. Critical security patches that address existing vulnerabilities are frequently included in router updates. Due to your router being vulnerable to internet threats and people who are close enough to see your Wi-Fi network, it is critical that it is kept up to date.
- Enable the most recent security protocols on your router, disable Universal Plug and Play (UPnP), and turn off remote access if it is enabled. Older protocols employ weaker encryption and are therefore more vulnerable than newer versions.
These are only a few of the many precautions you can take to stay protected. You are the only one who has the power to protect yourself. Be cautious of “too-good-to-be-true” offers, double-check links, and even be aware of your surroundings when using the internet. Be cautious!