10 WAYS FAMILIES CAN PROTECT THEMSELVES AGAINST CYBERATTACKS IN 2020
- START THE YEAR BY UPDATING ALL YOUR PASSWORDS.
Your credentials may have been compromised by hackers without your knowledge this past year. Equally, you may have shared your WiFi or Netflix password with loved ones, who subsequently circulated it. It is therefore wise to update all your passwords in order to remain secure. Use password managers like LastPass to store your credentials, that way you only have to remember the master password hence you can make all the others as hard and secure as possible.
- KEEP AN EYE ON THE KIDS AND TRAIN THEM IN CYBERSECURITY PRINCIPLES.
It is now commonplace to find very young children engaging with or using connected devices. In a recent incident in Mississippi USA, a hacker accessed a family’s security camera and told their 8-year-old daughter that he was Santa Claus instructing her to destroy her room. We need to protect young ones by educating them on the risks they face online and how to react when they notice suspicious activity on these devices.
- SET YOUR PHONE AND COMPUTER TO AUTOMATICALLY DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL UPDATES.
Cybersecurity is a race between those working to keep you secured and hackers looking to gain unauthorized access to your devices. Every day new shortcomings are found in applications installed on your phone and other devices. It is therefore essential to keep your devices always up to date so as to take advantage of security updates that patch these vulnerabilities.
- SET UP AUTOMATIC AND FREQUENT BACK UP OF YOUR DATA.
Ransomware is a type of virus that caused a lot of chaos and damage across the globe the past year. It turns your data into gibberish by encrypting it and then demands payment in order for you to regain access. To quickly recover from ransomware and other similar attacks that target your data you need to have a dependable backup system in place. Ensure all your devices are backing up your data to the cloud. Use services such as MEGA.nz for free and secure backup space online.
- MANAGE THE PRIVACY SETTINGS ON WHAT YOU SHARE ONLINE TO AVOID SOCIAL ENGINEERING.
Information gathered from your social media accounts about your close friends and family can be used to target you by abusing the trust you have towards them. Hackers can also use your information through identity theft by pretending to be you and targeting your family members, workplace or banking institution. Protect yourself from such attacks by changing your privacy settings when posting sensitive information online from being public.
- INSTALL ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE AND PERFORM REGULAR FULL SYSTEM SCANS.
Antivirus won’t protect you completely from cyber threats but it will help reduce the damage by frustrating the attacker. Every personal computer and phone needs to have an antivirus like Kaspersky Internet Security installed. Regularly update your antivirus and run a full scan of your devices to take advantage of the new approaches to identify malicious files. A good antivirus will protect and even help locate your device in case it is stolen.
- ACTIVATE 2-STEP VERIFICATION ON WEBSITES YOU LOGIN INTO.
For extra security, most websites have an option where you get to use your phone for a second authentication step during login. A code is sent to your phone when you sign in whilst you have 2-step verification activated and you will be required to key in this code on the site in order to access your account. As a result, no one can access your accounts if they don’t have your phone.
- SIGN UP FOR REAL-TIME BANK DEBIT ALERTS.
Early detection of a cyberattack on your bank account can help you prevent greater detriment or even recoup the lost funds. Set up real-time alerts to be sent to your phone for every withdrawal made on your account. In the same vein, you also need to check your bank statement regularly to see if you will detect any irregularities.
- USE EMAIL WITH CAUTION, THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK ON ANY LINK.
It is highly likely that you have received phishing emails disguised as coming from someone trustworthy deceitfully attempting to get sensitive data from you. Such emails constitute the largest percentage of overall data breaches. Do not send sensitive information, or click on links on emails from questionable senders. Additionally avoid downloading attachments from such sender, and always scan files on emails with your antivirus before opening them.
- FILE A FORMAL COMPLAINT WITH THE POLICE IF YOU BECOME A VICTIM.
In the event you become a victim of cyberattack it is important that you file a complaint about the incident to the police as soon as possible. Reporting, particularly if the crime is still in action, gives the law enforcement agency a higher chance of being able to catch the criminals responsible. Records of breaches are also used to increase awareness and help in finding solutions.