With all the connected devices we all carry about daily; it’s no longer news, the world has gone digital. With this interconnected world we now live in, comes a whole new set of threats, risks and dangers to individuals, businesses and societies.
As a result, you cannot afford to go about in this digital age without some basic understanding of cyber security. It’s now very important to pay attention to your cyber security with the same vigilance as your personal security.
In this article, we will be equipping you with some cyber security tips to help you protect yourself and your information assets in this digital age.
CYBER SECURITY: Protecting Yourself in the Digital Age
You don’t have to be a tech genius or a nerd to apply the following cyber security measures to protect yourself against information threats, risks and dangers.
Create Strong Multiple Passwords
Passwords are the keys to accessing any online platform; whether it’s an email, a social media, a chatting messenger, e-commerce sites, forums or even online cloud services. Everything you do online will require a username and a password.
This is why creating strong passwords for all your online account is a critical cyber security measure you mustn’t take lightly. Strong passwords are at least 6 characters long and combine numbers, symbols and letters (in varying case).
Another cyber security measure relating to passwords is to never use the same password across all your online accounts or profiles. This is a very risky habit most Nigerians fall prey to. Once a hacker has access to one password, they have indirectly taken over all your online accounts.
To avoid this, create at least 3 unique passwords that you will use interchangeably for your different online accounts or profiles. That way it is much harder for the hackers to access them with only one password.
Always Log Out After Use
One of the common habits of the digital age is the need to be always logged in. Rarely do you remember to log out of your social media accounts, emails and even mobile apps. In most cases, most people are even logged in on multiple devices at the same time.
This is very risky as anyone who mistakenly comes in contact with any of your connected devices can easily access your logged in accounts. And when this happens, passwords can be easily changed and other valuable information stolen.
Endeavour to always log out of every online platform or app you use to avoid falling prey to identity thefts and other cyber crimes.
Install a Licensed Anti-Virus
Anti-virus are a very foundational requirement for cyber security. They help to secure your personal computers, mobile devices and workstations against digital threats and loss of information.
A common habit in Nigeria is to install an anti-virus that is not licensed. This is as good as not having an anti-virus installed. Why?
Because the most vulnerable digital threats occurs when an anti-virus hasn’t been updated and only licensed users can install updates. So having an anti-virus installed without a paid license will only make you more exposed to cyber threats, risks and dangers.
Avoid Unknown Website Recommendations
One of the common ways hackers gain access into your online accounts and profiles is to send you an anonymous or friendly recommendation to an unknown website. In most cases, these websites are full of malwares that can secretly hack into your PC or mobile device.
Such unknown website recommendations will usually come through an email, social media message or broadcast on mobile chatting apps. No matter how familiar the sender is, never click on such links without first reconfirming from the sender.
This is a cyber security measure to protect your information because most of these unknown website recommendations are sent by robots and they rarely reply.
Have Multiple Email Addresses
All online platforms will require you to submit an email address as part of their registration requirements. For most Nigerians, their primary email address is often used across all online platforms, this is very risky.
In most cases, not only do they use one email across all online platforms, they also use the same password for that same email across these platforms. Talk about double wahala!
Like has been advised above when discussing about passwords, the same is obtainable with emails; don’t use only one. Try to create a minimum of 3 emails to use interchangeably for your online activities. You can create one for professional use, one for social use and one for personal use.
By so doing, you make it more difficult for any hacker with an access to one of those emails to cripple your entire online activities. Emails are free to create, so there’s nothing to lose by having two additional ones to help strengthen your cyber security.
Avoid Illegal Downloads
Part of the perks of being online is access to download. Whether it’s a music, video, software, ebook, or document, downloading things from the internet is a common habit in this digital age. That’s why many people fall preys to illegal downloads that later causes more harm than good to them.
Hackers disguise malwares as downloads for inexperienced internet users. This is a common practice and can indirectly let them have access to your PC or mobile devices. Unless you can trace the origin of the files you want to download and the sender, avoid all untraceable downloads no matter how enticing.
This is a very important cyber security measure, especially for inexperienced internet users. Not all downloads are safe for your consumption, be careful.
The internet is full of the good, the bad and the ugly. In this digital age, extra care must be taken to be more cyber security conscious. The above 6 tips have been shared to give you the foundational knowledge to help you guard against cyber crimes.
For more enterprise level cyber security measures for businesses, government and schools, contact us for a professional security consultation.