According to the University of Maryland, hackers attack every 39 seconds and about 2,244 times a day. With that much cybercrime happening daily in the United States, it’s no wonder so many people are taking preventative measures to ensure that they stay on top of things when it comes to their personal data and how they spend their time online.
That’s why you should take the same steps to make sure your private information stays…well, private. There are a few ways to approach this to prevent cybercrime from happening to you. Here are just a few of them:
1. Watch Out for Malicious Emails
If you haven’t been living under a rock in the last decade, you’ve likely heard about malicious emails (spam and phishing emails) that can appear to come from a legitimate business. They lure you in and ask you to click a link that takes you to a reputable-looking site that prompts you to log in. The email tells you to act quickly because your account has been compromised (or something of that nature).
If you’re not sure whether an email is really from your financial institution or a company you normally do business with, contact the company directly or search for the company online. If it turns out to be spam, make sure to report it.
2. Protect Yourself When Shopping Online
Before you provide your credit or debit card information to any online website, make sure you’re shopping on a secure website. If the website’s URL starts with “HTTPS” or it has a VeriSign or TRUSTe seal, you can most likely assume that the site you’re on is a credible, trusted site.
If not, you might be handing over your information to a fraudulent website that could misuse and mishandle your personal and financial information. So be sure to check before submitting any sensitive data.
3. Keep Your Wi-Fi Secure
There are several ways to keep your Wi-Fi secure, which include encrypting the data on your network, installing a firewall, changing the default password, installing antivirus software, and keeping your access point software patched and up-to-date. You can also change your Service Set Identifier (SSID), update your Wi-Fi router firmware, turn off remote administration, and change your router security settings to allow only authorized users access to your network.
4. Be Wary of Public Wi-Fi
Never send any personal or financial information over a public W-iFi network because anyone close by who is connected to the same network can see exactly what information you’re sending and receiving online. If you really must use public WiFi to access sensitive data, use a free browser like Tor to conceal what you’re doing online and encrypt your traffic. You can also opt to use a virtual private network (VPN) to make it harder for cybercriminals to find out what you’re doing online.
5. Use Multi-factor Authentication
Although it can be a bit annoying at times, especially when you’re in a hurry, enabling multi-factor authentication can help when it comes to preventing cybercrime. Multi-factor authentication is the extra step required by most banks and credit card companies that hold your most personal and sensitive information where you’re required to verify a code sent to an email or mobile device to prove that it’s actually you trying to log into your account.
Taking this extra measure can make it harder for cybercriminals to gain access to your account, so it’s definitely worth considering.
Protecting yourself from cybercrime is something anyone can do as long as the right measures are taken. Using caution when providing personal and financial information online and when using public Wi-Fi networks, as well as keeping an eye out for malicious emails and keeping your own Wi-Fi network secured are all steps you can take to ensure you don’t fall victim to hackers.
Taking the time to learn about cybercrime and all of the various ways it can affect you can make all the difference in whether you become a victim of it or avoid it altogether.
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