A Guide To Personal Cybersecurity


Nowadays, everyone is complaining about cybersecurity breaches. In many cases, the victims of cyber-attacks think they cannot be targeted. However, hackers target even small businesses. Therefore, the first line of defense against cyber-attacks is familiarizing yourself with different types of cybersecurity threats, securing your passwords, and securing your phone.

Types of Cybersecurity Threats

Cybersecurity programs are designed to protect individuals and organizations from cyber threats. Some of the common cybersecurity threats are malware, phishing attacks, spear phishing, ransomware, and social engineering.

1. Malware

This is software created to destroy your computer, network, and servers. If you have ever received suspicious emails with file attachments or links, these are phishing attacks. After opening these links or attachments, malware will be unleashed into your computer.

2. Phishing Attacks

Smishing attacks are an equivalent of phishing attacks, only this time they involve SMS or text messages. There are also vishing attacks, also called scam calls, designed to steal credit card data and other personal information.

3. Spear Phishing

Spear phishing targets are similar to vishing attacks, only that they target specific users who have the access level the cyber attacker wants.

4. Ransomware

This is malware that locks a user’s access to networks, systems, and devices. Hackers who use this attack demand for a ransom before they can allow you to access your networks, systems, and devices again.

5. Social Engineering

This type of attack uses social media to lure people into breaking normal security protocols and providing sensitive data. One good example of social engineering is when an unauthorized user poses as a co-worker or reliable person in an attempt to access your accounts.

Best Password Practices

One of the essential elements of cybersecurity is best password practices. Considering the amount of information you store in your online accounts, it is crucial to secure how you log into your accounts. For example, you may use a password at a website to form an account. When the website is hacked and you stored your password in their database, a cybercriminal is likely to re-use the password to steal sensitive information and access your accounts.

As a rule of thumb, use a unique and random password of 16+ characters per account. Make sure you use uppercase, lowercase, characters, and numbers. Additionally, manage your passwords using a cloud password manager like OnePass and LastPass. Lastly, you should use 2-factor authentication for the sites that provide it. This form of authentication provides an extra level of security, which requires you to send a code or SMS message from your phone whenever a person tries to log in to your account from another device.

1. Keep Track Of Your Accounts

Part of best password practices is tracking all your accounts. Jot down all the places you have created online accounts. This can be a laborious task if you have hundreds of accounts. Note that you may have an account that has an old and insecure password. If this account stores sensitive data, you may be vulnerable to hacking.

Some of the places to search for your passwords include your phone, email, and browser. On your phone, look through every application that has a login. The persons who email you have accounts, and you may have stored your passwords to these accounts in your email. Browsers also allow you to save passwords. For example, Google Chrome maintains a list of saved passwords.

2. Use A Password Manager

For increased security, it is advisable to use a password manager. Move all your passwords to a password manager. Ensure you go through the list and change them to unique random passwords. For each account you create, make sure you have a unique password that the password manager tracks.

After you are through with the password maintenance task, perform a security challenge for your password manager. The challenge will help you determine if any of your accounts are sharing the same password. Other checks the security challenge will perform include determining whether any of your passwords are linked to a compromised account. You will also be able to identify old and insecure passwords.

3. Securing Your Phone

There is a lot of information stored in mobile phones that can be easily compromised. The first thing to do when securing your phone is to check your passcode. Use a secure password and make sure it is not a repeating or incremental code. Require your phone to lock and request for the passcode when it is not in use. Ensure your phone is set to erase after a few passcode attempts.

Experts advise against securing your phone with a thumbprint. First, your thumbprint can be compelled, whereas a passcode is challenging to acquire. Thumbprints can also be easily acquired when you are asleep or incapacitated.

In Conclusion

When it comes to cybersecurity every one is a target. It is for this reason that you should enforce cybersecurity to prevent data breaches. The first step towards implementing cybersecurity is reviewing your password practices and securing your phone.