Would you know if you were a victim of a cybercrime? Awareness and detection are key. You see, if you don’t know that your sensitive information has been compromised you can’t mitigate the damage that is sure to happen.
With all the dangers, how can you protect yourself from cybercrimes? There are ways to protect yourself from cybercrimes.
Good personal cybersecurity is not only about protecting against attacks, but it’s also about detecting successful attacks and taking actions to recover. We can’t stop all the attacks from being successful but we can limit the damage.
Also, being able to recognize phishing attempts and other attacks will protect you from cybercriminals and other malicious actors.
This article can help you to understand the best personal cybersecurity practices and ways to protect yourself from cybercrimes and cyber fraud.
Protect Yourself From Cybercrime with Knowledge
There’s an increase in cybercrime and cyber fraud reports being made to authorities. With the proper knowledge, you can protect yourself from cybercrimes and cyber fraud. These crimes cost Americans billions of dollars in damages. According to a study on Identity fraud and identity theft, the scope of the problem is bigger than most people acknowledge.
A certain amount of blame should be put on the victims themselves. You must have the knowledge and take the necessary action to protect yourself from cybercrimes. In a hurry, skip ahead to “10 Ways to Protect Yourself From cybercrimes.”
It’s no longer just the big corporations that are the main targets of hackers. Cybercriminals are now targeting small businesses and individual internet users. These targets generally have fewer internet security safeguards in place than big corporations. Cybercriminals know they have a better chance of accessing sensitive information with less effort against these targets.
What is cybercrime?
Cybercrime is an activity initiated by criminals that use or attack a computer system, network, or individual computer. Most cybercrime and fraud are driven by the monetary gains that criminals are looking for. The criminals may be individuals or organizations. Some cybercrime is driven by political agendas and national security concerns.
Cybercrimes fall under two main categories:
- Criminal activity that targets computers, systems, and networks,
- and, criminal activity that uses computers, systems, and networks to exploit consumers, corporations, and government.
The Facts About Cybercrime and Fraud Against U.S. Consumers
In the United States, internet-based crime is one of the fastest-growing security threats to consumers. You are using your computer and phone differently from how you use to. In today’s landscape, you use them for financial transactions and new types of communication.
Statistics about U.S. Consumers and cybercrime and fraud
A recent survey indicates that more than 80 percent of consumers in the United States think that they protect themselves well, or very well while online. It also reveals that more than half of them have taken some type of action to protect their online presence.
However, another survey showed that more than 25 percent of adults in the United States use the same password for all their online logins, demonstrating that convenience can still stand in the way of security.
Is used as a password on 23 Million accounts
It’s important to know the ways to protect yourself from cybercrimes, but just having the knowledge is not enough. Good personal cybersecurity practices must be implemented consistently in your daily lives and where you live.
Different types of cybercrime to protect yourself against
- The sale of stolen corporate data.
- Financial and payment systems being compromised.
- The theft of personal information being used to commit identity fraud and theft.
- Online fraud involving email and internet ecommerce.
- Extortion and ransomware attacks.
- Cyber warfare and espionage against governments and large corporations.
Cybercriminals may infect computers with viruses and malware to damage devices or to stop them from working. They may also use malware to delete or steal data. Malware can be delivered in many ways, including email phishing campaigns. As a consumer, it is more important than ever to protect yourself from cybercrime and fraud.
What are 10 Ways to Protect Yourself From Cybercrimes?
1) Keep Your Computer and Other Devices Updated —
2) Practice Good Password Management —
3) Use Anti-virus and Anti-malware Software to Protect Your Devices —
4) Prevent Unauthorized Access to Your Devices —
5) Secure Your Home Network —
6) Educate Household Members on Personal Cybersecurity Practices —
7) Maintain Regular Backups of all Important Data —
8) Protect Your Sensitive Personal Information —
9) Don’t Fall Victim to Phishing and Other Scams —
10) Have a Plan in Place in Case You Become a Victim of Identity Theft —
Detailed list: 10 Ways to Protect Yourself From Cybercrimes
There is no one single precaution that will protect you from cybercrime and hackers. It’s a combination of things you do and actions you take. Cybercriminals constantly evolve their attack methods looking for new opportunities to bypass controls and ultimately steal your sensitive data, assets, and money.
Focus on learning these 10 ways to protect yourself from cybercrime, and make them part of your daily life. If you practice good personal cybersecurity you will bring good cybersecurity into your life and where you live.
1. Keep Your Computer and Other Devices Updated
Software updates are important and necessary to protect yourself from cybercrimes. Software updates can fix security vulnerabilities and minimize risks. They also enhance the way the software runs. Updates also replace outdated technology and add new features.
Remember, cybercriminals are looking for easy targets. By updating your devices you are safeguarding your data and protecting yourself from cybercrime and hackers that are targeting you.
Most manufacturers patch their software often. It is important to have your devices set up to receive these updates automatically. This protects you from cybercrime by patching the holes that cybercriminals use to infect your device and install malicious hardware.
2. Practice Good Password Management
Very few people practice good password management. Using strong passwords is important to protect yourself from cybercrime. Don’t make it easy for cybercriminals by using weak or reused passwords on your devices. The easiest way to ensure you always use strong and unique passwords is to use a password manager, like the Dashlane Password Manager. It’s free, why not use it?
Most people aren’t good at creating strong passwords. Don’t use the same password on multiple accounts. People lose passwords and that’s a waste of time for you and customer support representatives. Do not use browser-based password managers, they are not safe. Use a good password manager that has built-in protection against hackers.
Most people are aware that reusing passwords is a bad habit. However, more than two-thirds continue to use the same password or a variation of that password. Even on important online banking accounts, they continue this poor password management. That’s no way to prevent cybercrimes against yourself. Use a password manager and protect yourself from cybercrimes.
3. Use Anti-virus and Anti-malware Software to Protect Your Devices
Anti-virus and Anti-malware can help prevent malware attacks by scanning all incoming data. That can prevent malware from being installed and infecting your computer and other devices. Antimalware programs can also detect advanced forms of malware and offer protection against ransomware attacks. A good overall solution to protect all devices is ESET Internet Security.
Protect yourself from cybercrime by using antimalware and antivirus software. It can prevent your devices from being infected with malicious software. It can help to prevent you from visiting dangerous websites. It can do regular scans of your devices while also providing real-time protection from threats and help protect you from cybercrime and malicious actors.
These software solutions also protect you from cybercrime by preventing the installation of spyware on your devices. Spyware is a type of malicious software that cybercriminals use to spy on what you do and to steal passwords and other sensitive data, without your knowledge.
4. Prevent Unauthorized Access to Your Devices
Unauthorized access is when your computer or device is invaded without your consent. Most people protect their computers with some type of access control, like using a password or biometric solution. But, people don’t always protect their other devices.
Smartphones, small devices that are constantly online sending and receiving signals, are always a target for criminals. To help protect yourself from cybercrime you need to keep your device secure. Always enable a lock screen on your devices whether you access it with a password, a pattern, or any other method. Always avoid public Wi-Fi. Use your data from your service provider.
Always use a VPN solution on all your devices when in a public setting. VPNs help to protect you and your data from being compromised. A VPN can protect you from cybercrime and malicious actors. Also, consider disabling Bluetooth while you’re out and about unless you are wearing a smartwatch that requires it. And never pair a new device when in a public area.
Tip: Make a habit of restarting your personal devices on a weekly basis. It helps protect against some type of hacker attacks.
5. Secure Your Home Network
In the age of modern technologies and hyper-connectivity, it is a challenge to maintain a secure home and personal environment. It is important to utilize best practices to keep home networks secure. Home and personal networks include all the devices we use in our homes as well as our personal devices that make up our personal area network.
Typically home networks utilize a router/modem that is supplied by the ISP. In this case, the device is typically already set up with a unique secure password, which can be changed at the user’s discretion. However, if you are providing your own router it is necessary to take preliminary actions to ensure the network is secure.
Home networks are used by multiple smart devices in most homes. To help protect yourself from cybercrimes it is best to segment your home network. Connect your smart devices to a different network than you use for your home computer and office devices. Check out these best practices for keeping your home wireless network secure.
6. Educate Household Members on Personal Cybersecurity Practices
Good personal cybersecurity is not only about protecting against attacks, but it’s also about detecting successful attacks and taking actions to recover. We can’t stop all the attacks from being successful but we can limit the damage. This article can help you to understand the best personal cybersecurity practices. Understanding personal cybersecurity practices will help you protect yourself from cybercrime.
Good personal cybersecurity practices can protect your sensitive information, personal devices, and home networks. At your home or office, you and your personal devices create a Personal Area Network. Protecting this network requires good personal cybersecurity practices. Your personal area network is only as secure as your most vulnerable device.
Personal Cybersecurity addresses the self-needs of an individual. It is applied whether you are at work or at home, or anywhere in between. It involves the protection of personal information, personal devices, and our Personal Area Network (PAN). Effective personal cybersecurity practices require a personal awareness of the environment we are in. By possessing the knowledge and having the necessary resources we can protect our personal devices, our sensitive information, and our lively hood.
Related: What is Personal Cybersecurity?
7. Maintain Regular Backups of all Important Data
Backups are an essential part of computer security. Backups keep your data and files safe and prevent loss. Backups are important in order to protect yourself from cybercrime and ransomware attacks. A regular backup can restore up to 100% of your files with minimum effort.
When you take regular backups or automate the backup tasks, it gives you a sense of data security. And thus, you don’t have to worry about various factors that often lead to data loss, like ransomware attacks. Regular backups will protect you from cybercrime and hacker attacks.
Prioritize your data so you know what data is important and requires regular backup. Don’t wait till a data loss situation arrives; take regular backups. Make the process of data restoration part of your overall security plan.
8. Protect Your Sensitive Personal Information
By protecting your personal and sensitive data you help to protect yourself from cybercrimes and loss of data. It doesn’t take much to become a victim of identity theft. By protecting your personal information you take control of important data.
Know what personal data is stored on your computer and other devices. Keep it to a minimum. Be careful what information you make available on social media networks. Review privacy settings on your smart devices and prevent your personal sensitive data from being stored by third parties, like Google and Facebook.
In your home office always shred papers with sensitive information on them. Don’t just throw them in a wastebasket. Help to protect yourself from cybercrime by properly disposing of important records. If you don’t have a paper shredder tear the documents up into pieces and soak them in water before disposing of them.
Always encrypt your files when storing and sending them over the Internet. Dispose of old hard drives in a secure fashion. If you have online accounts that you use, close them.
9. Don’t Fall Victim to Phishing and Other Scams
Phishing is when hackers attempt to get users to do the wrong thing, such as clicking a bad link that will download malware, or direct them to a fake website. The term phishing generally refers to an attack conducted via email. However, it can be done using text messages, social media, and phones. The attacks are intended to install malware on an unsuspecting user. There are ways to protect yourself from these types of attacks.
Be suspicious of emails that appear to urgently ask for financial or personal information. Watch out for statements that sound exciting, they are just meant to get you to quickly react and click a link. If you don’t know the sender or suspect that the email is not authentic do not click any links in the email.
Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. They may say that they noticed some suspicious activity and your account has been locked. Then they go on to say ‘click this link to fix it.’
Some emails may say that that is a problem with your bank account or your payment information. Banks and financial institutions typically don’t send emails like that, they call on the phone. Beware of messages that say you are entitled to a government refund.
Don’t be fooled by a cybercriminal impersonating a person or company that you are familiar with. A simple request like clicking on a link or sending money may be completely normal if the email was really from someone you know, and not from a cybercriminal.
When browsing the web, always ensure you are using a secure website. Remember not all scam sites will try to
show the “https://” and/or the security lock. If you see something like this; “http://www.gotyouscammed.com/payp
Regularly check your bank, credit, and debit card statements to ensure that all transactions are legitimate. If anything is suspicious or you don’t recognize the transaction, contact your bank and all card issuers
10. Have a Plan in Place in Case You Become a Victim of Identity Theft
Online identity theft is when your personal information is stolen and then used in an attempt to commit fraud. The identity thief may use your personal information to apply for credit, open bank accounts, get medical services, or even file a tax return. When you become a victim of online identity theft you are vulnerable to losing bank accounts, experiencing a bad credit reputation, and having to spend countless hours restoring your good name.
According to a recent study by Pew Research Center data breaches have exposed the personal information of 64% of all Americans. The need to protect yourself from online identity theft is greater than ever. Many of these victims experience various levels of harm in many areas. Protect yourself from cybercrimes and have a plan in place in case you become a victim.
How to Report and Recover From Identity Theft
Prevention, detection, and mitigation are all part of protecting your identity and maintaining good standing in the financial arena. Reporting the theft and fraud is the first step to mitigating and or minimizing damage. Even if you practice the 10 ways to protect yourself from cybercrime bad things can still happen.
Report identity (ID) theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online at IdentityTheft.gov or by phone at 1-877-438-4338. This resource can help you to report and recover from identity theft. Here are the three steps to get started:
- Tell Them What Happened — Whether online or by contacting them on the phone, tell them what happened. They will ask you some questions, so be prepared with as much information as you can. This first step will help to assure you that you doing all you can.
- Get a Recovery Plan — based on your situation and the information you have supplied them with they will create a personal plan of action for you. Now you’ll have a plan, providing guidance to keep you on the right track.
- Put Your Plan Into Action — At this point, you can create an account. Once the account is created, the people at IdentityTheft.gov will walk you through each step. They will assist in updating your plan as necessary, as they track your progress. They will assist in creating necessary letters and filling out the needed forms. At this point, you will feel better knowing you are not alone in this battle to recover from identity theft and fraud.
At this link located on the IdentityTheft.gov website, you will find a list of things to do right away and a list of things to do next. It also covers additional steps you may need to take. In addition, there is information regarding actions that need to be taken regarding specific types of accounts.
Summary: Practice good personal cybersecurity in your daily life, and where you live
Cybercriminals are focusing on individuals and small businesses more now than ever. They look for easy prey and are constantly taking advantage of obvious vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals value your private and sensitive data and will find creative ways to get it.
So what can you do about it? Without the resources of large corporations, small businesses must be doing the obvious things that can protect themselves from cybercrimes. You, as an individual target, must practice good cybersecurity and know the 10 ways to protect yourself from cybercrimes.
10 Ways to Protect Yourself From Cybercrimes
1) Maintain close control of your computer, phone, and other devices.
2) Safeguard all your personal sensitive information.
3) Have a plan in case you become a victim of cybercrime or internet fraud.
4) Use best practices to protect against identity theft.
5) Discuss personal cybersecurity best practices with your family.
6) Keep computers and other devices updated with regular software updates.
7) Utilize anti-virus and anti-malware protection on your devices.
8) Use good password habits to protect yourself from cybercrime.
9) Verify your home network and router are secure using best practices.
10) Maintain backups of all important data in a safe and secure manner.
Read more: How to Create a Unique and Strong Password
Read more: What Does Good Personal Cybersecurity Mean?
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