Some things are well out of the usual internet user’s hands. No one has control over whether someone steals their data in a breach, for instance. But not all cybersecurity threats fly over the head of the average user. Many vulnerabilities instead stem from small mistakes and inaction on their part. Every one of those mistakes provides an opening for hackers to get into other’s private lives.
Everyone has control over where they share their personal information. Also, everyone decides for themselves how to protect their own devices and accounts. But here come six quick and easy tips anyone can follow to keep their accounts safe from hackers.
# Follow Safe Password Management Rules
Safe password management is the golden rule of cybersecurity. After all, passwords still are such a deep-rooted part of digital security. Cybersecurity experts are always talking about how important it is to create unique passwords. Also, how to protect those passwords.
An average email address is associated with over 130 accounts. Of course, a big part of having a secure password for every account is never reusing any of them. But that seems to be quite a challenge for most. 61% of people keep reusing their old passwords.
Password managers are the answer to this problem. They are the cybersecurity equivalent of a password guardian. They store account passwords in a vault, and all the user has to remember is one master password. Password managers can also generate super-secure unique passwords. You can also use them to store other private information, for example, credit card numbers.
# Take Up New Authentication Methods
Passwords may still be the main form of authentication method right now, but new, more secure methods are already cropping up. Biometrics is one of these new authentication methods. It includes fingerprint scanning, facial recognition, and similar ways to ID the person. So far, most people use this technology to access physical devices, like smartphones. But biometrics is gaining popularity amongst banks and business owners. They want to use it to provide more secure online account logins, as well.
While biometrics do have some security vulnerabilities, they are a much safer alternative than passwords. Biometric data is unique to every person, and hackers cannot steal or guess it.
# Set Up Two-Factor Verification
People can’t do anything about whether their passwords get stolen in a data breach, or brute-forced by hackers. But they can make sure that their accounts stay safe even when that happens. Two-factor verification adds another authentication method on top of password logins. It’s based on the principle that someone needs at least one other form of personal identification: something they have, know or are.
The most common form focuses on what people have, i.e., their devices. The device will receive a pin that one has to enter when logging in. It works so long as the hackers don’t have access to the device, as well. Most accounts enable setting 2FA up, and there are 2FA authenticator apps for those that don’t support it yet.
# Manage Third-Party Connections
Websites and apps have made it fast and convenient to sign up and log in through a social media account. That’s not a problem, for the most part. But it does give all these third-parties access to your private account information. Do some cleaning up every so often by going through third-party connections on social media accounts.
Delete any old ones that aren’t in use anymore, as they do provide hackers with a way to steal information. Data breaches aren’t the only problem. Third-parties can accidentally leak personal data as well. That is what happened to Elasticsearch earlier this year — exposing over a billion people’s data.
# Audit Active Sessions
People don’t often think about monitoring their account activity and active sessions. But many platforms, including Gmail and Facebook, provide this service. Suspicious logins on accounts can be an excellent sign of unauthorized access to the account. Be on the lookout for any unknown devices or abnormal account access times.
# Be Skeptical About Everything
A big part of cybersecurity is plain old common sense with a dash of awareness. Online scams and security vulnerabilities are so successful because people aren’t skeptical enough. Following the latest technology news can help you to identify new scams, malware, and data breaches that you need to be aware of.
The Bottom Line
Don’t take cybersecurity basics for granted. Everyone knows how to protect passwords. And many are aware of how to avoid an online phishing scam. But these necessary precautions should always be top of mind. Plus, they aren’t hard to understand and implement, so there’s really no excuse. Take a few minutes to go through every security tip, and make sure your online accounts are safe.