Protect Your Digital Self

Are your online accounts, devices used for the internet, and personal data safe? Nearly 155.8 million people got affected by ransomware attacks and personal data breaches in 2020. Giants like LG Electronics, the University of California, and the Hospital of Dusseldorf were high-profile victims of cyberattacks in 2020.  Protect your electronic devices from malicious invisible cyber terrorists by reading further and follow every step given diligently.

What Is A Cyber-Attack?

Imagine your laptop refusing to open one fine day. You get a message on your desktop asking to contact a number or transfer a particular amount of money to a bank account. If you fail to follow their instructions, the critical data in your computer will be erased or sold on the black market. It is called a ransomware attack.

Imagine the same happening to a bank, university, or hospital website. Their entire work will get affected even if their websites get stalled for one hour, causing millions of dollars losses. Such scenarios are just an example of a cyber-attack.

Every person using the internet from the comfort of their home is always at the risk of exposing their personal, financial, and health-related information to the black market constantly. Stealing your credit card details, stealing your details to get a passport for someone else, using your health-related information to sell you cheap and low-quality drugs are all thriving forms of cyber-attacks.

How to Protect Your Digital Self?

Maciej Ceglowski, a famous technology writer, once pointed out that all your computer and mobile data can be retrieved even if you stash it into the ocean. He also points out efficient methods to stay protected, like calling for productive legislative rules forcing high-players like Google and Facebook to adhere to privacy rules.

Ceglowski also mentions the public should get more awareness about digital data protection and choose services and companies that respect their privacy. Like any dreaming writer, his words will come true in the forthcoming centuries. But how to stay safe from being blackmailed for viewing an unwanted site today? Here are a few must-follow rules which will help you defend your digital self-online.

What Type of Data Will You Lose If Your Mobile or Laptop Is Lost?

Apart from some precious family photos and mundane work details, the laptop will have a detailed history of everything you had browsed from when you purchased it. It will also have all your credit card information, autofill settings that give out every detail from your door number and address, mother’s maiden name, and numerous passwords to various accounts. The person who steals your laptop can easily do the following things:

  • Use your financial details to buy things
  • Use your identity to commit several frauds
  • Track your address and try to steal physically from you
  • Blackmail you threatening to expose your morphed personal photos
  • Sell your work details to your company competitor

Utilize Encryption Services

Such frauds will happen from a lost mobile or laptop. If the hackers get their hands into your computer while using it, they can get way more details daily, compromising your security dangerously.

Always use a program like Bitlocker, VeraCrypt, FileVault, or DiskCryptor on your computer. These encryption services will ensure the thief cannot access your data even if your digital devices get stolen.

Ensure you take regular backups of the data in a protected cloud. Delete the computer or mobile records if they are lost to prevent hackers from accessing the core data in them. You can retrieve your data back from the cloud later when you get a new device or find the old one.

Two-factor Authentication

If a person is trying to access your credit card details without your knowledge, they will need the three-digit code at the back or CVC (card verification code). It is easy to derive the details online if you have entered the details previously.

Sign up for two-factor authentication from your bank. They will either ask a security question or send an OTP to your mobile when someone tries to purchase through a credit card without your knowledge.

Also, some banks provide the option of declining the credit card transaction if you do not do it. They also alert you if your mobile location and credit card location show conflicting details. It is only logical that San Francisco residents cannot use their cards in a Sri Lankan terminal. Sign up for such services to stay safe.

Internet of Things or IoT

In 2020, hackers used a GPS tracker in a car to control the vehicle’s windshield to scare the owner. Similarly, internet-based speakers like Google Home, Alexa, and Echo recorded conversations in the house unknown to its residents. Ensure you use proper Antivirus and firewall in all internet-connected devices to check for such breaches.

Cybercriminals can hack the USB, and various dongles you use as the Amazon firestick to control or monitor what you watch, show you particular programs you do not intend to watch with family, monitor you in the home, etc. Buy only USB or flash drives with smart vault security and always protect them with a password. Use the antivirus software to scan all electronic devices regularly and keep them updated to detect any extra intrusion.

Trust Legitimacy

If you are getting an email from a company regarding their impressive service, check who sent it. Open emails only from well-known companies. If you feel the email sender is legitimate, claiming to run a company, being the company’s marketing head, etc., use Nuwber to check their identity. Open the email only if they are really who they claim to be and are capable of offering you essential services. Avoid opening attachments in emails from unknown people at all costs, as it is the first way malware enters your computer.

Final Thoughts

Staying secure is not just being alert physically. Protecting your digital self is equally important. Use encryption services, be careful with your emails, opt for two-factor authentication and keep an eye on your internet-connected devices to stay safe and secure.

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