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Data Security and its Importance on the Internet

Hacking and data breaches are a common thing today, especially with the rise of open source platforms and electronic transactions.  Users are partly responsible for their own safety, and often the lack of security updates and knowledge of security protocol has made them vulnerable to malicious attacks.

Today, more than any other time in the past, people are committed to using laptops, tablets and phones to facilitate everything in their daily lives, from business to school to social needs.  Mail has almost entirely become digital and so has contacting friends and arranging meetings.  The world is completely interconnected, and while this functionality has made things very convenient, it has made people vulnerable and exposes them to the risk of fraud and malicious attacks.  When shopping or entering payment information on a secured site like ireland.casino.com, an ideal example of a website that needs to be extremely secure, knowing of simple practices such as checking for https:// in the beginning of a URL to be secure should always be considered.

Why Should You Care?

While the majority of people may be lucky to date, there are numerous reports issues over the past few years reporting the large financial cost of security breaches.  In 2015, the Wall Street Journal estimated that the cost of cyber crime in the U.S. was approximately $100 billion.  Juniper research predicted that the rapid rise of digital devices will increase the cost of data breaches to $2.1 trillion globally by 2019.

In recent years, we have seen many high profile companies become victims of cyber attacks:

Along with high profile cyber attacks are the even more frequent attacks on Windows users, and with the rise in Apple popularity, so come the more frequent attacks on Apple as well.  A popular form of cyber attack is by SQL injection, used in 51% of cases by hackers.  SQL injection attacks are often launched by injecting lines of code on a website form, enabling hackers to connect to areas without passwords. At a higher level, attackers can corrupt website databases an manipulate them to make malicious actions.

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Limiting Risk

Computer networks give numerous opportunities for cyber attack.  Digital users are constantly sending and receiving data using a variety of devices. Educating users on these threats while limiting the pass through of data can mitigate the risk substantially.

Targeted cyber criminal attacks are the most difficult to defend against, since the method and code used may be unique to to such particular attack. Often many  conventional defense mechanisms will be rendered useless in detecting or preventing the attack.

Sandbox and quarantine techniques offer some of the best defense when considering a targeted attacks. By allowing a possible threat to penetrate into a controlled environment before it has access to a network, security admins are given some time and the opportunity to analyze and monitor a threat.  Educating personnel in cyber security is more paramount than ever.

Stop Malware Attacks and Online Identity Theft

Think ahead, plan, and educate yourself, as well as your employees.  As technology advances, so will the complexity and sophistication of malware grow to the point that people must take drastic measures to safeguard their devices and personal information against malicious threats.

While no one prevention technique is 100% perfect, a few tested and trustworthy cyber security techniques should be in your arsenal for keeping malware attacks and online thefts away. Below are some useful tips on protecting yourself and knowing about data security and why it is important to protect yourself on the Internet.

Keep Systems Updated

A common way for malware to attack is for it to find exploits and vulnerabilities in a system.  Shield weaknesses by removing applications you no longer use, update software, browsers, operating system and plugins.

Install Anti-Virus

There are many well made anti-virus programs available.  Review them all and find one you like. Anti-virus programs can catch most malicious bugs that enter your system. It is best to catch viruses early before they become too much for even a good anti-virus to handle.

Thicken your Browser’s Security Layer

Malware is commonly spread through the Internet, especially from questionable or hacked websites in an effort to install malware on your system and steal confidential data.  Some threats can enter through public unsecured Wi-Fi or unsecured sites.  Keep in mind some of these prevention practices:

  • When making online payments, ensure that the URL of a site you are accessing start from “https” instead of “http” and is prefixed by a padlock icon for securing your connection.
  • Never share credit card details with unknown users.
  • Use a long password and do not write it anywhere; do not include personal information in it such as name or birth date, and change it frequently. Periodically changing passwords to websites can help prevent data theft. Take the time to change passwords and create complex passwords that only you can remember. If you have to save them do it with an encrypted password manager.
  • Avoid keeping the same password for different sites or pages.
  • Log out of websites instead of just closing the tabs. Hackers can grab your login information from cookies.
  • Enable a firewall and a comprehensive malware removal program like Malwarebytes to detect and keep all types of malware away. Set them to update regularly.

Unsolicited Scams and Email Scams

Attackers can easily make their way through social sites and emails.  Educate yourself and employees about email scams. Keep in mind some of these prevention practices:

  • Read e-mails carefully and check for the sender’s address, links in the body, and language. If the links are broken, language is weird, or an offer is too good to be true, avoid, report, and block them. The most common email scam is email phishing, which is a method of fooling someone into thinking that the email that as sent is in fact from their bank or commonly used platform.  Phishing is done to steal a person’s identity and rob them of confidential data.  Some other activities may include degrading performance, spy on a device, disrupt a service, and/or disable a targeted network or system for the purpose of misusing data or exploiting resources.
  • Do not share any bank, financial, login, or personal details for any purpose through chat or e-mails.
  • Do not any unknown person or group to your social media page.
  • Turn on your firewall
  • Keep cautious about attachments
  • Turn on spam filters
  • Do not trust unsolicited emails
  • Keep your antivirus up to date

Use A Safe and Protective Payment Method

Always pay with a service that protects your personal identity and offers additional protections. Services such as PayPal or major credit cards can recover your money if a transaction goes wrong. Beware of merchants who request unusual or confusing methods of transferring money such as mailing cash or wire transfers.

Be Careful What you Download

Do you enjoy downloading files? On of the most common ways to get malware attacks is through downloading and installing malicious files. These can include games, archived files, exe files, documents and other programs. Scan files with anti-virus or an online scanner before you install them.

Be Careful What you Share on Social Media

Be careful of sharing your current location or other sensitive information on social media for privacy reasons.  Why would you want strangers knowing where you like to go for dinner or even live? Giving this type of personal information makes it easy for someone to steal your identity.   All social media platforms offer privacy settings that help you decide who can see your content.  You can choose who sees what, from public to a select few.  Set your privacy to ‘friends only’ as a general rule, and set individual posts as public/limited as required.

Backup Important Information

Backup servers and critical information daily.  Consider a secure offsite backup service.  Redundancy is also crucial for businesses that require uptime.  A simple backup can save you a lot of trouble.

Resources:

How To Avoid Cyber Attacks: 5 Best Practices From SEC And FINRA

Protect Myself from Cyber Attacks

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3 comments

  1. Sometimes data can be collected even without our agreement. Facebook demonstrated that our rights can be easily ignored.

  2. DotSoft Solutions

    excellent post and good information.

  3. nice post.

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