Picture this: your bank account details, photos and videos, and other information are locked in a digital vault. What's on the other side of the vault? Many cybercriminals, fraudsters, and hackers that are doing all they can to break into that fault and steal your digital assets.
The thing is that you don't have to imagine this because that's the world we live in today. All it takes is one successful scam for bad actors to break through and access your data. The modern age has ushered in an era where online safety is a necessity and not an option.
In this article, we will explore the subject of cybersafety and the significance of protecting your digital identity. We'll also learn about some major cyber threats that you should know and share key tips to fortify your online defenses.
There's also a short test at the end to help you measure how safe you are on these internet streets and how vulnerable you may be to hacking and fraud attempts. Take the test and see if you can score 100%!
Major Cyber Threats You Need to Know
While your personal information makes online interactions meaningful and brings more life to them, they are also at risk of being exploited. For example, knowing your name makes it easier for your social media mutuals to connect with you and form meaningful e-friendships. However, as harmless as it is, that information also makes it easier for cybercriminals to track and target you for their fraud scams.
Some common cyber threats you need to know and guard against include the following.
- Malware: Malicious software like viruses, spyware, and ransomware that infect devices and steal people’s personal data. One major way cybercriminals affect devices with malware is by sending out emails with infected email attachments. Every day, 560,000 new pieces of malware are detected.
- Phishing: These are deceptive emails and websites that trick people into exposing their login credentials, financial information, or downloading malware. 3.4 billion malicious emails are sent daily, making phishing the most common form of cybercrime.
- Social engineering: This is where fraudsters manipulate people into sharing sensitive info. 98% of cyber attacks involve some form of social engineering.
- Unsecured networks: Public Wi-Fi hotspots in coffee shops, airports, etc., are not secure and make it easy for hackers to intercept data and traffic on the network. According to Forbes, 40% of people had their information compromised while using public Wi-Fi.
- Outdated software: A major reason companies ship software updates is to address loopholes in previous software versions. Cybercriminals can easily take advantage of the vulnerabilities in old software to infiltrate your systems and steal your data.
- Identity theft: After getting someone’s personal data through a successful phishing or social engineering attempt, cybercriminals use those details to make purchases or commit fraud with the person’s identity. Interestingly, 87% of people leave their personal information exposed online, and in 2022, India had the highest number of identity theft cases, with 27.2 million victims.
Key Steps for Improving Your Cybersecurity
Fortifying your cybersecurity is crucial to protecting your identity and data. Follow these tips:
- Use strong, unique passwords on all accounts and enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) when possible. This prevents hackers from easily guessing login credentials.
- Keep all software updated on all devices, including operating systems, browsers, and apps. Updates patch vulnerabilities that hackers target.
- Avoid clicking links or opening attachments in unsolicited emails. This is often how malware infects devices.
- Only connect to secure, password-protected WiFi networks instead of public hotspots. Use a VPN if you need to access public networks.
- Implement MFA to add an extra layer of security. This way, even if someone manages to hack your password, they will still need the second factor to access your account.
- Back up important data regularly, either online or externally. This helps protect your data in case you're ever a victim of malware or ransomware.
- Keep a close watch on cybersecurity news and threat intelligence reports so you can know when hackers develop new attack methods and techniques. You can stay updated by subscribing to trustworthy cybersecurity news outlets.
Why You Need to Regularly Assess Your Cybersecurity
You can never be too secure when it comes to cybersecurity, and adopting an 'it won't happen to me' perspective can be dangerous, as cyberattacks can come from anywhere.
Regular cybersecurity assessments allow you to continually update and strengthen your digital defenses. Hackers take advantage of outdated security systems to carry out their attacks. However, By constantly evaluating your cybersecurity, you can ensure that you are well protected from the dangers that exist in the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape.
Frequent assessments also help you become more aware of your digital environment and make it easier to spot patterns and anticipate potential threats. For example, it would be easier for a cyber-savvy person to detect the patterns of a phishing attempt, while someone new to the cyber game may not spot them.
Constant assessments and vigilance about changes to your digital surroundings will help you act swiftly at the first signs of irregular activities and prevent the risk of a successful cyber attack.
Key Steps to Assessing Your Cybersecurity Risks
Ensuring your cybersecurity begins with a robust risk assessment. Here are some steps you should take to assess and discover potential risks to your cybersecurity.
- Identify What You Need to Protect: Start by determining what you want to keep safe online. This could include your personal info (like your name and address), banking and financial info, media files (like photos and messages), and your social media login details.
- Know Who Could Be After Your Info: Think about who might want to steal your stuff. It could be cybercriminals trying to steal your money, hackers looking for their next victim, and phishing scammers targeting you for identity theft.
- Spot Weak Areas in Your Online Safety: Look for the weak spots in your online security. This could be things like having easy-to-guess passwords, using old software, or being on insecure or public Wi-Fi networks that can lead to viruses and malware.
- Protect Yourself: Once you know what you want to keep safe and where you're vulnerable, it's time to do something about it. You can boost your security by making your passwords stronger, keeping your software up to date, using two-step login, and getting good antivirus software.
- Stay updated Keep Up the Good Work: Remember, the internet is always changing, and new threats can pop up. So, stay updated on the latest scams and threats, and keep improving your security to stay safe online and protect your digital identity.
Take the CyberSafety Test to Measure Your Cyber Risks
While these tips can reduce risks, the best way to determine your level of cybersecurity is to take a quick cyber assessment. We've created a 1-minute online test covering core aspects of cybersafety to benchmark your current security.
By taking the cybersecurity test, you will:
Don't wait until it's too late – take the test today and clearly identify any cybersecurity gaps you need to address as soon as possible. Start the test now and take control of your cybersafety.