The digital age has revolutionized the way in which we live our lives, but sadly it has also revolutionized crime. There’s now a hack attack every 39 seconds, 300,000 new types of malware are created every day and the average cost of data breaches is estimated to reach $150 dollars this year. Cybercrime is now classified as one of the single biggest threats to businesses and individuals and so whether you use IT for work or just at home for pleasure, here are 5 ways in which you can improve your security.
- Educate yourself
The first thing you should do to protect yourself against cybercrime is to educate yourself, your family and your co-workers on the most common types of cyber-threats and how to avoid them. Burying your head in the sand when it comes to data security and cyber-terrorism makes you an easy target for hackers, so start doing some research into the ways that hackers can gain access to your information so that you can then begin putting measures in place to block them.
- Bring in an expert
It’s safe to say that not all computer users really understand how the devices they use work, and that’s ok so long as you realize when it’s time to cut your losses and to bring in the professionals so that they can advise you on how best to stay safe online. On a personal level, you can pop into any computer store and ask for advice on computer security, in fact, Apple offers free security seminars, or if you’re a business then reach out to an IT company that offers security consultancy services tailored for corporate needs.
- Don’t ignore updates
Those requests to update that keep appearing on the side of your screen may be irritating but they’re actually trying to keep you safe. Most updates released contain fixes to bugs or errors that make it easier for hackers to gain access to your computer, so by ignoring them, you’re leaving your defenses weakened. With more than 300,000 types of malware created every day, it’s no wonder that computers need to update so frequently in order to keep up. So the next time your computer asks to update click yes and then go and make yourself a cup of coffee.
- Take passwords seriously
People have gotten sloppy with passwords over recent years and it’s leaving them, their personal information and their employers open to attack. It may be annoying trying to remember different passwords but having the same password for every system is a bad idea, as is using common words such as family names, dates of birth or the name of your pet. Try to create passwords from random letters, numbers, and symbols or make them acronyms of something you’ll remember.
- Create an incident response plan
Finally, if the worst comes to the worst and you do experience a data breach then you need to have an incident response plan in place to minimize the damage. IT consultants are best placed to help you create a response plan but at the very least you should know who the issue is escalated to and who is responsible for guiding your actions.