Your technology, as well as the personal data stored on that technology, is vulnerable to cybercriminals. They might trick you into downloading malware. They could access your banking information. They could steal your contact lists and your identity.
To avoid these terrible situations, you should follow these basic cybersecurity tips:
1. Run updates:
Did you ignore the notifications you need to run an OS (OS) update? Operating system updates fix vulnerabilities in your software and increase the security of your computer.
Check your device settings to see if your operating system is up to date. If not, run these updates immediately.
2. Set strong passwords:
A password can prevent a serious security breach and protect your data. You don’t want to set weak passwords that could be easily guessed, like “password”, “12345” or “0000”. These will put your personal data at risk.
What defines a strong password?
- It must contain 8 characters or more
- It must contain a mixture of upper and lower case letters
- It must contain at least one number and one symbol
3. Use a VPN:
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) establishes a secure, encrypted connection between your device and the Internet. It can keep your browsing activity private and hide your IP address, which can prevent cyber criminals from spying.
4. Antivirus software:
Antivirus software (sometimes called anti-malware software) can detect and remove viruses from your device. Running this type of software in the background can protect you from any cyber attacks.
5. Beware of phishing scams:
A phishing scam is a fraudulent email that claims to come from a known or trusted source, such as your bank or utility company. Phishing scams have different purposes. Some try to trick you into downloading malware, while others try to trick you into disclosing personal information (eg bank account passwords). You can view Federal Trade Commission guidance at how to avoid phishing scams.
What to do if your cybersecurity has been breached?
If you haven’t followed these tips and you think your laptop has been hacked or you’ve accidentally downloaded malware, you should consider doing the following three things.
Go to the pros:
Take your laptop to a professional repair shop. They can help you find the problem and fix it.
You may have to pay for these emergency technical services out of pocket. If you don’t have enough money in an emergency fund to cover the cost, you can check out a website that offers or provides services same day loans online as a solution. If you are approved for a same business day loan, you can use the borrowed funds to manage service charges and then focus on later repayments.
Check your finances:
Many cybercriminals want to access your personal information in order to commit financial fraud. Have you noticed suspicious activity with your credit cards? Is your online bank showing purchases you don’t remember making? Is your credit score much lower than you thought?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you should call your bank and credit card provider. They lock/freeze accounts and launch investigations.
If you have been the victim of financial fraud via cybercrime, you should file a police report. You can also file cybercrime reports with the Federal Trade Commission and the United States Secret Service.
Protect your technology and protect yourself. Follow these cybersecurity tips now!