Cybersecurity: Protecting your internet-connected systems
s most all of us increasingly use technology in our daily lives, cybersecurity, the protection of electronic data, either business or personal, has become ever more critical. The technology industry is pulling digital infrastructure along in a manner that is constantly changing, and consumers are often left wondering “what’s coming next?” Much of this change is made with the best of intentions such as the advancement in cloud-based technology and intellectual property (IP). But like many areas of progress, there are stumbling blocks to clear. Now, more than ever, hackers are finding new and creative ways to infiltrate digital platforms, steal data and IP. As a firm, Vahanian & Associates consults and utilizes the services of various cybersecurity experts and we would like to share with you some of the input we have seen authorities in the field provide.
- Passwords and Online Account Access:
- Change your passwords regularly and use a different password for every account and website.
- Maintain strong passwords with a combination of lower- and upper-case letters, numbers and symbols, or even a random phrase or sentence where possible.
- Utilize additional security questions.
- Add two-factor authentication such as a pin number.
- Enable thumbprint activation for mobile applications.
- Limit the number of public Wi-Fi connections as cyberattacks can be initiated through a link or unsafe internet connection like public Wi-Fi.
- Utilize a firewall.
- Install antivirus software and maintain the latest version.
- Utilize an identity theft protection service such as LifeLock.
- Disable your FaceTime function or camera when it is not in use.
- Scams & Hacking Attempts:
- Do not open suspicious emails or texts that could be phishing scams. Many such scams include a request for bitcoin or cryptocurrency, and provide a deadline for payment. If you do not know the person or don’t know where the email/link in the email will take you, it is better to avoid opening or clicking the link.
- Do not provide any personal information via email or phone unless it is through a secure network such as a secure message system. Such information includes your bank account information, check images, social security numbers, etc.
- Be cautious when downloading external apps. Hackers often use apps as a way to drop malware designed to steal personal information. As a precaution, make sure you are downloading a reputable app – read comments and user reviews.
Additionally, if there is a corporate security breach, quite often, such companies will provide resources to see if you have been affected. In many cases, the company that was hacked will even provide affected customers with a free credit monitoring or identity theft protection service for a period of time.
While there is no silver bullet to completely insulate yourself from security threats, there are certainly ways that you can try to make it harder for someone to access data. This is a new reality of today’s society, so hopefully, we will continue to see protective technology make advancements while simultaneously making security and privacy of utmost importance.
This overview is intended to get you thinking about some steps you might take to protect your own information. For all of us, it is a work in progress and we encourage you, based upon your situations, to seek professional guidance applicable to the technologies you use in your daily lives.