Cybersecurity 101: Golden Rules of Keeping Yourself Safe Online

Cybersecurity is like a struggle between attackers and defenders. The progress of the Internet has made information theft a lucrative process like never before. Hackers keep inventing creative ways to attack and exploit data. In the meantime, cybersecurity is thriving. The experts learn programming, network technologies, electronics, cryptography and even psychology. But this does not lift all the responsibility from you! There are simple methods to protect yourself without expertise, just with the help of proper tools. Here follows a simple guide.

Phishing is the worst

Phishing doesn’t attack a computer, but its user. The point is to convince someone to act irresponsibly and disclose sensitive information like passwords or credit card data. Many psychological tricks work quite well on people, persuading them to pay money to fraudsters. A known example is a Nigerian prince scam, where a stranger convinces someone they’ll earn a fortune if they transfer money or pass personal, sensitive data.

Falling for phishing is a shame, but we’re only humans. Any person out there can be fooled with proper tricks, and that’s no shame. Just remember – be cautious online. Heartbreaking stories may be pure lies. Alarming popups may be meaningless. The safety of your data (and money) should be guaranteed, not just claimed.

Password security is crucial

Cybersecurity might be rock-solid, but if the key gets stolen – nothing is safe. The password managing rules are worth repeating:

  1. Use strong passwords, with at least 10 characters, uppercase letters, and digits.
  2. Make them unguessable. No meaningful dates, phone numbers, names of relatives or pets, etc.
  3. Don’t reuse them. If you can’t memorize them (hardly anyone can), get a reputable password manager.
  4. Don’t share them. A secret known by more than one person isn’t a secret anymore. Disclosing a password means sharing responsibility for it.
  5. Don’t write them down. If you do, don’t throw that piece of paper away, but destroy it promptly. Absolutely never save a password in visible text in a file.

Let the experts work for you

Cybersecurity is effective only if it is allowed to work. Attackers search for safety vulnerabilities in any software but so do the developers. They patch up any weak spots as soon as possible. So, your devices can have top protection only if the software is kept up to date. This is so vital that antiviral suites and browsers update almost go unnoticed. Don’t ever stop them! Operating system updates are just as crucial since any program is better kept fresh and new.

Another way to safeguard yourself with cybersecurity expertise is to employ a special service. VPN is an example.

VPN – next level in online protection

Virtual Private Network is an extra security feature. It protects your Web traffic on the way from your device to the distant server. It protects from dangers in local area networks and from your ISP’s and governmental surveillance. Choose a trustworthy VPN provider like tuxlerVPN or any other to make sure your data will be protected with airtight ciphering and safeguarded against any leaks. One might argue that most modern WWW traffic is protected with HTTPS. The VPN doesn’t care, it just adds an extra layer of security to everything.

Watch out for your hardware

This is about a habit of watching where you leave your devices. In a public place, it can just get stolen. At a workplace, are you sure nobody unauthorized can get access to it? When leaving for seconds only, remember to block the screen so that a password is required. Your laptop might not even get stolen. Someone may just plug in a USB stick with an attacker program to silently infect the system. Also, open, public Wi-Fi is rarely safe. Anyone can access it and monitor local traffic, trying to spy on people.

Cybersecurity has become a whole separate branch of science. At the same time, it is about simple habits. Anyone can follow the above rules. Without them, no expert can do much good. Just be reasonably careful and stay safe online!