Cybersecurity scams have been a concern for as long as the internet has been around. In recent years, however, these scams have become more frequent. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center report, there were 791,790 complaints of suspected crime with reported losses exceeding $4.2 billion in 2020. This is an increase of 300,000 complaints from 2019. In particular, 28,500 complaints were related to the COVID-19 pandemic targeting both individuals and businesses last year. Scammers are finding new ways to target individuals and businesses, making it an ideal time to ensure you’re taking the proper cybersecurity precautions.
Here are five cybersecurity tips to help you stay protected.
1. Use a strong password.
A strong password refers to one that uses a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, symbols and is at least twelve characters long. These passwords are generally harder to guess and can help keep your private and financial information safe. Additionally, it’s ideal to ensure you don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. If a hacker gains access to your password for one account, utilizing different passwords for your other accounts prevents them from accessing those accounts. An example of a strong password is q5f!Lp#G8(Wz. One way to keep track of your passwords is to use a password manager. A password manager can store all of your current passwords in one place and can assist you in creating new ones.
2. Install an antivirus software.
An antivirus software can help keep the data and files on your computer safe from malware and viruses. This software can also block spam that you may receive in emails and on internet ads. Some antivirus software also includes a firewall feature, which acts as an extra safety feature as it checks anything that is sent to or from your device.
Learn more: Are You Safe Online?
3. Keep your devices and software updated.
Many device and software updates include enhanced safety features. Putting these updates off can leave your information and devices vulnerable to cyberattacks. Cybercriminals will often look for weak spots on devices or in software programs and can use those weak security spots to gain access to your information.
4. Use multifactor authentication.
Multifactor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your information. Consisting of at least two different layers of protection, this makes it harder for criminals to gain access to your information.
Read more: Protecting Your Information Online
5. Practice caution when clicking on links or attachments in emails.
Often, scammers will send victims an email with a link or attachment and prompt them to open it. Compromised links and attachments can harm your computer or device. If you’re expecting an email including a link or attachment from someone, be sure to assess the credibility of the email. Are there errors in the email address? Are there misspellings in the email? Is there a sense of urgency to click on something or open an attachment in the email? Generally speaking, you should never click on a link or open an email attachment from someone you don’t know.
Many threats can come with using the internet and electronic devices. It’s critical that you’re taking the proper precautions to help keep your confidential and sensitive information secure. For more cybersecurity tips and information on threats, visit our Security Hub.