How to protect yourself against Cybercrime
Cybercrime is an ever-growing threat. It’s easy to think that the only form of cybercrime you need to worry about is hackers stealing financial information, however there are more concerns than just this.
Sometimes it can be tempting to just want to stop using the Internet all together, but we all know that this would be mission impossible these days. Fortunately, all you need to do to protect yourself is take some basic precautions and know who to contact when something occurs.
What is Cybercrime?
Cybercrime is any crime that takes place online. It can be anything from identity theft, harassment or bulling, through to financial or data theft.
How can you protect yourself from Cybercrime?
Here are some basic precautions everyone should take to protect themselves online.
Use Antivirus (AV) & Firewalls
AV software detects, and then prevents, disarms or removes malicious programs or malware, often referred to as ‘viruses’. AV doesn’t offer a perfect solution to the problem of malware, but it is a critical first step to securing your PC or laptop. To help prevent viruses infecting your PC you must install AV, and then regularly update your AV software.
You might be thinking: “Hang on, aren’t antivirus and firewall the same?”
They do sound similar, however, AV and firewall software are two different kinds of security applications, yet both are designed to protect a computer system from attacks. A firewall is set up to minimise the damage caused by spyware by blocking unauthorised access, and antivirus is used for the prevention, detection, and removal of malicious software, including computer viruses, spyware, and adware.
Always install updates
Keep your software up to date. Your AV solution often has software updates that get released to fix vulnerabilities that can be exploited to install ransomware on your computer, so it is important to always download the newest version of the software as soon as possible.
Back up your data
Data is the lifeblood of any company, therefore, your one of your big concerns when you suffer a ransomware attack should be in regards to getting your data back as quickly so there is as little down time as possible.
Data theft and data loss through negligence or hardware failure can cause irreparable damage if the data is not easily retrievable. The best protection against ransomware is to back up all of the information and files on your devices in a completely separate system. A good rule to apply is the 3-2-1 rule:
- Create 3 copies of data (1 primary and 2 backups)
- Keep data on at least 2 types of storage media (local drive, NAS, tape, etc.)
- Store 1 of these offsite (secure storage, cloud, etc.)
This means that if you suffer an attack you won’t lose any information to the attackers. That is why making regular backups of your data is so important.
Keep your passwords strong
Use strong passwords, don’t repeat your passwords on different sites and make sure to change your passwords regularly. A password management application can help you to keep your passwords locked down.
Lock down social media profiles
It’s important to manage your social media privacy settings, so that you are keeping as much personal and private information locked down. Social cybercriminals can often get your personal information with just a few data points, so the less you share with those outside your circle, the better.
For ransomware or malware to be successful, cyber attackers need to download malicious software onto your computer which is then used to launch an attack and encrypt files. The most common ways this happens is through email phishing and malicious website adverts.
It is always best to exercise caution when opening unsolicited emails or visiting unfamiliar websites.
Never, ever pay the ransom
Don’t ever pay the fee from a ransomware attack as it encourages the attackers and it may not result in your files being recovered. If you have a backup, you can restore all your data from that.
Know who to contact
If you have been or think you have been hit with a virus or ransomware, make sure you turn off your computer right away and call your IT manager or provider immediately.