You don’t need a qualification in IT or cyber security to know the best ways to avoid the repercussions of cybercrime (if you want to make a career of it, that is a different story, and you can click here).
A ransomware attack occurs every 45 seconds, and ComputerWeekly reported business cybercrime is up 63%.
e-Careers lists 8 basic practices that you can use to fight cybercrime. You may think that computer security is technical and complicated, maybe for someone else in your organisation or home to do. But these are basic steps that you can implement to play your part in the war on cybercriminals.
1. Install the latest updates or enable automatic updates
Updates to anti-virus software and other means of protection will help to guard your systems and information against cybercriminals. As technology continues to evolve, so do threats against network integrity and it’s vital that your systems stay up-to-date in the war against cybercrime. Everyday software you use (the likes of Microsoft Office, Windows, Google Chrome) have security issues which are being found on a day-to-day basis; automatic updates will plug these gaps in your security.
2. Regularly back-up your files safely
Backing up your files means that the security settings on them are the most recent too, so regularly backing up means that they will not just be stored, but stored safely. IT professionals usually follow the 3-2-1 backup rule: three copies, on two different media (a USB, disc, hard drive etc), and one copy stored offsite. It is also possible to download software that automatically backs up your data for you.
3. Don’t click on phishing emails and dodgy links
As tough as it is to hear, that nice man who’s offering you 10 billion Nigerian dollars directly into your bank account is a phishing scam. Do not even open emails where you don’t recognise the sender because opening the message can lead to accessing your system and any personal details and information you have stored.
4. Don’t give out personal information unless the site is secure
If a URL has “https” (stands for HTTP secure) at the beginning, then this website is safe to use. The communication over the computer network is encrypted meaning that page authenticity on websites is protected, accounts are secure and user communications, identity and web browsing are private.
5. Install firewalls
A firewall is a simple but effective way of protecting your information. It is a network security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on security rules. Some business firewalls record over 10,000 attack attempts in one day.
6. Block suspicious accounts on social media
A troll used to be universally known as the antagonist in Three Billy Goats Gruff, but as time has worn on, and social media has grown, trolls are now people who purposefully go out of their way to make other people’s lives a misery on the internet. The troll might not just be an ill-informed, or uneducated human being, a troll may be a hacker trying to access your personal information. So, if you should encounter someone who fits this description, block at all costs.
7. Don’t store your card details on websites
Now that we’re into the swing of things, this might be a bit of a given. Any details stored are under threat, whether a website is secure or not. I know the “One Click” option on Amazon is a God-send for convenience, but keeping your details safe should be more of a priority than taking an extra 30-40 seconds to checkout.
8. Build your security consciousness
All of these techniques and steps are part of a bigger goal and plan: build your security consciousness to ensure your cyber presence is as safe as you can make it.
Now that you’re up to speed with the basic techniques for protecting against cybercrime, maybe you want to showcase to your employer or potential employer that you are a reliable IT user. e-Careers offers a qualification specifically for this purpose, or if you want to start a career in cyber security, you can find out more information here.