7 useful tips to protect yourself from cyberattacks
One of the major security threats that are prevailing in today’s scenario is Social Engineering. It is a non-technical strategy used by cybercriminals to trick the individuals for attaining their private details such as passcodes, bank account details, OTP, access to their computer system, etc. with malicious intent. Other cyberattacks like phishing, malware, Intellectual property theft, data destruction/manipulation, etc. are also part of sophisticated cyberattacks that disrupt the digital life of companies and individuals.
The use of digital infrastructure is skyrocketing and there is a large-scale adoption of online platforms to carry out businesses and personal tasks.This comes with the possibility of keeping the data and important information assets at constant risks. One of the major security threats that are prevailing in today’s scenario is Social Engineering. It is a non-technical strategy used by cybercriminals to trick the individuals for attaining their private details such as passcodes, bank account details, OTP, access to their computer system, etc. with malicious intent. Other cyberattacks like phishing, malware, Intellectual property theft, data destruction/manipulation, etc. are also part of sophisticated cyberattacks that disrupt the digital life of companies and individuals.
It is difficult to predict cyberattacks. However, an individual or a company can adopt certain cybersecurity practices to be immune to such threats. Here’re seven tips or ways that can help the users in levelling up their cybersecurity level:
OTP frauds are one of the most common due to which a lot of people lose access to their important information or even lakhs of rupees. It is usually the lack of awareness that people share their OTP (one-time-password) considering that it has come from the bank or any official authority. However, only fraudsters ask for such information by asking for renewing debit or card cards, updating KYC, or offering reward points. Thus, it is important to remember that no bank, government, or any genuine private authority asks for OTP, UPI ID/Pin, login Password.
While creating any digital account, it is essential to focus on the complexity of having a strong password. Always use special characters such as $@#! %&, numerical, small, and capital letters together to ensure the password is strong. If you’re owning multiple digital accounts, it is significant to keep the passwords of each platform different. Additionally, never keep them in a single file whether saving in mobile, laptop, or any other cloud-based platform.
Apart from having a strong password, two-way authentication is imperative to protect your credentials and resources. It is a method that puts an additional layer of security to your password or passcode. It is highly recommended to use a two-way authentication method by presenting more than one piece of information as evidence of an authentic user.
There are millions of fake emails that are being sent everyday by hackers. They usually pose that they belong to an authentic organization or platform to trick and ask you for the desired information. Before acting upon any email, make sure that you thoroughly check and verify the email address. The best way to check the authenticity of the email is to find out the familiarity of the sender, look for any grammatical or spelling error that could make an email address suspicious. For instance, if you receive an email from any social media platform asking to reset your password, check the email’s domain carefully. Taken the desired action only if it belongsto an authentic platform such as @facebook.com, @twitter.com, etc.
Furthermore, it is also recommended to download attachments only after checking the authenticity of the sender’s email address. Opening or downloading files from unverified email addresses can make you lose access tothe system to any third party.
Beware of fake discounts and offers:
This is one of the most commonly used and trending ways of looting people through online channels. Fraudsters usually pretend to be offering heavy discounts, offers, and deals from online shopping platforms. They use malicious emails to drive the customers to fake websites and entice them for making a purchase. Additionally, they also circulate fake URLs on social messaging applications, pretending the link belonging to authentic and prominent platforms.Once the customer opens that URL and shares the bank account or card details, the fraudsters get access to the bank account and take away all the money. To keep yourself safe from such attacks, never open any inauthentic URL or email that directs you to other fake webpages.For instance, if you receive any offer from Paytm, make sure you respond to it only after ensuring that the URL belongs to @paytm.com.
Be smart with online information sharing:
Sharing important information such as passwords, debit, or credit card details through messaging apps or online platforms is associated with certain hacking risks. Even if you want to share the details with your family or friends, make sure you send it in piecesfrom different platforms. For instance, Debit Card No. Expiry Date, CVV, and Name should not be shared on a single platform. Additionally, never share the picture of your card or any other detail apart from the mentioned such as username or any sort of passcodethrough WhatsApp or any other online messaging app that can be hacked.
Be cautious with public Wi-Fi connection:
Public Wi-Fi connections are freely available to a wide userbase. They are unsecured and hence,more prone to activities associated with cybercrime. Though it is a convenient way to access online accounts, email, etc., it is equally important to know the privacy and security risks associated with it. To protect your personal information, never access online banking or financial accounts, or save passwords while accessing public Wi-Fi networks. Moreover, travellers or commuters are also advised to stop charging their mobile phones, and other data-driven gadgets at public USB charging points. Using such spots can put you at great risks by introducing the malware into the device, hence, stealing the private data and information.
Giving minimum permission to applications:
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While downloading and installing applications, it is recommended to give minimum permission to the platform to save your data. Allowing the apps to access the personal information stored on the smartphone such as contacts, call history, photos, etc. can put you at risk. Fraudsters can easily access to spy, send scam messages, or make calls using this information. Thus, think twice before permitting the applications to access your details. For instance, gaming applications do not have to do anything with your photo gallery. Similarly, messengers do not need to have access to your location.
Cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility. Hacking, phishing, malware, and other cyber-attacks are human-generated, thus, having complete awareness about cybercrimes can help in preventing such malicious activities.
(By Karmesh Gupta, CEO and Co-founder, Wijungle)
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