Cybersecurity has to be taken seriously since you can’t know when you’ll become a target. During the pandemic, hackers went the extra mile and took advantage of the most vulnerable people whose main concern was to help those who suffered from COVID. Thus, the healthcare system was hit by massive data breach attacks, with more than 90 percent of healthcare organizations reporting at least one security breach.
Nevertheless, authentication trends are becoming more advanced than ever. In the past few years, biometrics has taken over our mobile devices, and today it is almost unimaginable to enter your phone without a face scan or a fingerprint. Moreover, several countries are taking a biometrics game even further by shifting to biometric passports and IDs. In addition to that, some studies suggest that in a few years, we can expect new technologies like artificial intelligence and behavior analysis to conquer the authentication realm. They will not only detect the risk, but also be able to predict the possible threats even before they touch our security lines.
Since an impenetrable security strategy tends to be a result of combining multiple protective mechanisms, you have to fight on numerous fronts. Let us take a look into these few security practices that are the basis of every cybersecurity scheme.
1. Embrace a good password practice
No fancy tool out there can help you if you don’t take adequate care of your credentials. When you are creating a new password, consider the following:
- A password has to be at least eight characters long,
- It has to contain a mix of lower and upper case letters, symbols, and numbers,
- It shouldn’t include any personal name or information (e.g., birth date),
- It should be memorable but not common.
Furthermore, creating a solid password is just the tip of the iceberg – there is a lot more to a reliable security scheme. First of all, you should regularly change your passwords – the best practice would be every 60 to 90 days. This way, you can lower the risk of a potential data breach. Secondly, you should never reuse passwords. If you have a few memorable phrases that you rotate in combination with different numbers and symbols, stop! It’s simply not secure enough because if someone cracks one of your passwords, they’ll have a pretty easy time with others. Lastly, don’t share your passwords with anyone, and don’t store them on your device.
2. Use a multi-factor authentication
A plain-old password is just not good enough to combat today’s security threats. The best practice is to implement several layers of protection to make sure that your credentials aren’t easily accessible. Multi-factor authentication will get you covered. It implies the combination of ‘the things you know’ like passwords or PINs with ‘the thing you have’ – USB keys, tokens, or devices. The third layer of protection involves ‘the things you are’ or, in other words, some biometric factor like a fingerprint, voice recognition, or face scan. This way, if someone tries to come by your credentials, it is pretty unlikely that they’re going to break through all three protective levels.
3. Let a password manager keep an eye on your credentials
According to Google’s statistics, only 15 percent of Americans use a password manager. On the other side, 64 percent of Americans reportedly experienced a data breach. If you find yourself somewhere in these numbers, consider changing your security tactics. Password managers have been on the cybersecurity stage for quite some time and they are straightforward to set up and use. Their main task is to generate high-security passwords and use them to protect your credentials. Also, password managers encrypt all the data, meaning that no one can decipher your passwords even if they steal them. Lastly, one of the most popular reasons to use a password manager tends to be convenience – you don’t have to worry about coming up with a new password for every new account you open. You’ll have to create and remember one master password to enter your password manager, and that’s it.
4. Don’t access personal data from public Wi-Fi
Open Wi-Fi networks can be a real security hazard because they’re a potential arena for all sorts of cyberattacks. One of the most common ones is the ‘Man in the middle attack,’ where a hacker poses between the user and the service provider and steals the data. People involved in communication think they are talking to each other, but the hacker controls the conversation. Along with the ‘man in the middle,’ various cyber-attacks and threats could steal your credentials and endanger your personal information. The best practice is to avoid public networks altogether, but if you’re in a hurry and you genuinely need access to the internet, be careful and protect your data at all costs.
5. Clear your browsing history
Make a practice of swiping your devices from cookies and browsing history. Even though it’s not the top priority in the security scheme, it is an excellent habit. Getting rid of your cookies and browsing history will give hackers less to work with to get to your credentials, and it’ll make you less susceptible to marketing tracking and ad targeting.
6. Use antivirus and anti-spyware
It is pretty straightforward that using an antivirus has to be imperative to anyone who is not willing to take the risk of exposing their personal information to any suspicious parties. The most significant advantage of antivirus is that it detects the malware in real-time, meaning that it can reduce the possibility of harming your device. However, installing antivirus software and hoping that it will just magically catch every malware coming your way is unrealistic. Like any other software, antivirus needs to be taken care of all the time – regular updates are the way to ensure the proper functioning of your software and dispose of any malfunctions and bugs.
Designing a unique and durable security strategy tends to be laborious work. For that reason, most companies today pay a lot of money to protect their sensitive data and ensure their employees’ safety. Even though most people don’t think of their personal credentials to be as valuable as professional ones, they are still an eye-catcher for every cybercriminal out there. Take our advice and start small by implementing these few practices and develop your cybersecurity strategy from there.
Matthew Stern is a technology content strategist at TechFools, a tech blog aiming at informing readers about the potential dangers of technology and introducing them to the best ways to protect themselves online. Now he works at Assignyourwriter and consults students about the cybersecurity.
As a tech enthusiast and an advocate for digital freedom, Matthew is dedicated to introducing his readers to the latest technology trends and teaching them how to gain control over their digital lives.