There are many ways to safeguard your information online. Some cybersecurity basics you should already have down include using strong passwords, enabling Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), regularly updating your software, limiting location sharing, not oversharing on social media, backing up your data and utilizing a VPN.
Continue reading to learn more about what it looks like to implement these cybersecurity basics.
1. Use Strong, Unique Passwords
One of the first steps to ensure you’re implementing cybersecurity best practices is to create strong, unique passwords for all your accounts. A strong, unique password is both long and complex, meaning it’s at least 16 characters long and contains a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. It’s important to keep in mind that these passwords should not include sequential numbers, birthdays, common words and phrases or personal information, and most importantly, should not be reused across multiple accounts.
It’s vital to keep track of your passwords and store them safely, so consider using a password manager. A password manager is a tool that allows users to safely and securely store and manage passwords for all their applications and services. When using a password manager, the only password you have to remember is your master password.
2. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
Once all of your accounts have strong passwords, you should also enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) on them whenever possible. The purpose of MFA is to provide your accounts with an additional layer of security by requiring one or more forms of authentication, in addition to your password, in order to gain access to your account.
MFA provides great protection against account takeovers, because if a cybercriminal was somehow able to compromise your password, they still wouldn’t be able to log in to your account without providing the additional authentication factor(s). Some common methods of MFA include using an authenticator app or biometric authentication, like Face ID.
3. Regularly Update Your Software
One cybersecurity best practice that many people procrastinate on is keeping all of their software up to date. Software updates don’t only enhance and add new features, they also patch security flaws, fix bug issues and improve your device’s performance. Failing to update your device with the latest version of your software can hinder its performance and leave it vulnerable to cyberattacks.
When software isn’t updated right away, it opens up a backdoor that cybercriminals can exploit, making it easier to infect your devices with malicious software known as malware. When malware is installed it can spy on you and gather your sensitive data, which cybercriminals can then use for their own malicious purpose.
4. Limit Location Sharing on Apps and Browsers
A cybersecurity risk and privacy issue that is often overlooked is allowing location sharing on apps and browsers. Although this feature can provide positive benefits when enabled, it also acts as a danger as it leaves you vulnerable to attacks such as location data leaks. Location data leaks are when cybercriminals track a victim’s whereabouts and use this information to breach their privacy. This can be dangerous both to your privacy and your overall cybersecurity because this information can be used to locate your technology and tamper with your devices. Furthermore, threat actors can use your location to dox you, which can lead to attacks such as online harassment, swatting, identity theft, physical assault or stalking.
Cybercriminals often leverage personal information gathered from social media to launch their cyberattacks. Some common attacks that happen to those who overshare on social media can include account takeovers, social engineering and even physical attacks. Therefore, it’s important to avoid oversharing and exposing intimate details of your life online in order to reduce your attack surface. Some examples of oversharing are frequently revealing your location in pictures and regularly posting the identities of friends and family.
Consider your social media post’s intention and if it’s best suited as a private message or public display. Also, be cautious about who you connect with. It’s a cybersecurity best practice to make your social media profiles so only the people you approve are allowed to see what you post.
6. Keep Your Data Backed Up
Your data is vulnerable and could be lost at a moment’s notice due to a breach, user error, corrupt files or even a natural disaster. Not having a plan to retrieve it, such as a backup, can cause you to lose that information forever. Backing up your data in a secure online location ensures that even in a worst-case scenario, you’ll never lose your data.
7. Use a VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) provides you with a secure connection by routing your internet connection through a private service rather than your regular Internet Service Provider (ISP). A VPN masks your IP address and encrypts the data you send and receive. When using public WiFi, which can be intercepted by cybercriminals, a VPN creates an extra layer of security and privacy within the public network, allowing you to connect safely. A VPN can also help prevent bandwidth throttling, which is when your ISP intentionally slows down your internet speed.
Why Are These Cybersecurity Basics Important?
It’s important to take cybersecurity preventive measures seriously by implementing these common best practices today. These cybersecurity best practices are easy to implement and will mitigate both the risks and impacts of cyberattacks. Failure to incorporate these best practices can leave you vulnerable to attacks that could have been prevented.
Cyberattacks can happen to anyone and commonly happen to those who don’t follow cybersecurity best practices. In fact, 74% of all data breaches are due to human elements such as misuse and errors. Both individuals and businesses alike are impacted by cyberattacks. In fact, in 2022 the average U.S. business was subjected to more than 42 attacks in a single year. Don’t be a part of the growing list of victims. Take into consideration what your current cybersecurity practices look like so you can improve on them.
Cybersecurity Is Crucial to Keeping Yourself Safe Online
Implementing cybersecurity basics is crucial to taking action against the growing threat of cybercriminals. All of the best practices we covered can be implemented today, providing your devices and accounts with the additional layers of protection needed to mitigate the risk and impact of cyberattacks.
An important first step in following cybersecurity best practices is to get started with a password manager like Keeper Security. Keeper is a leading innovator in the cybersecurity industry and its world-class password manager can keep you and your sensitive information secure. Start your free 30-day personal trial of Keeper Password Manager today.