Cyber Security: 15 Simple Steps To Protect Your Self Against Cyber Attacks

We live in an era, where cyber security is a momentous issue. Cyber crimes are becoming the new normal nowadays.so what makes you think that you will be spared by cyber criminals? we have suggested some steps to remember for the rest of your life to safe guard your self from very common cyber attacks. so, let’s get back to the original question!
how to protect your self from cyber attacks? or how to protect your self online?

Here’s what to do for protecting your self online.
1. Instead of ‘Passwords’, Use ‘Passphrases’ for Different websites
Use different user ID/password combinations for different accounts and avoid writing them down. you can create more complicated passwords by combining letters, numbers, special characters (minimum 8 characters in total) and change them on a regular basis.
Using pass-phrases is a wonderful idea, sentences such as ILoveFacebookSoMuch are very hard to crack!

You probably don’t want to remember too many passwords for too many websites.you can create your own format for passwords. for example: yourname(xx)@websitename, where xx is any 2 digits random number

2. Secure your computer/laptop physically and by:

Activating your firewall

A Firewall works exactly as the name suggests. it monitors all the incoming and outgoing traffic towards your computer. If your antivirus doesn’t include a  firewall, make sure you have windows firewall ‘Activated’.

cyber security:windows firewall

Using Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware software
Prevent viruses from infecting your computer by installing and regularly updating Licensed anti-virus software. New research from Microsoft shows that nearly 10% of Windows 8 users are running expired AV software on their systems, making them four times more likely to get infected.To ensure maximum cyber security, most of the antivirus softwares protects from virues, malwares and rootkits, so you may not have to install multiple softwares.

Prevent spyware from getting into your computer by NOT installing ‘cracked’ softwares

Do not install cracked softwares or apps, as they may install some other malicious softwares too!
Don’t just click NEXT..NEXT….NEXT..while installing a software.choose “custom installation” mode instead of “standard installation” mode.you will be able to save your self from installing other softwares, toolbars.check for them now and uninstall existing extras from “uninstall a program” in control panel.

3. Never upload your personal data ‘unencrypted’ to dropbox,google drive or any online file sharing services.
It takes not more than 5 minuts to encrypt a zip file or any single file such as a photo, video or a document with AES-256 bit encryption.but it saves you from getting your personal data leaked.and you can relax even if these big companies face a data breach!if using windows, use bitlocker to encrypt hard disk drives with important data!

you may use this software to encrypt your files: https://www.aescrypt.com/download/

4. Crosscheck your Social-Media security settings
Make sure your social networking profiles (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, google+ etc.) are set to private. Check your security settings. never post sensitive information about you online!.  Once it is on the Internet, it is there forever!commenting on various website may show up after 2 years in google search result of your name!try a google search for your name with double quotes. for example: http://bfy.tw/mnR

 

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If you see a weird/abusive facebook post shared by your friend.DO NOT…i repeat DO NOT CLICK THAT.
as it may make you the victim.you should report it to facebook, tell your friend..but never ever …ever ..ever CLICK that.if something is encouraging you to SHARE before letting you access/read it.you know where’s the close button! USE IT!

cyber security:facebook-privacy

5. Do not procrastinate update installations (even the “installing 127 of 1204” ones)  !
Keep your applications and operating system (e.g. Windows, Mac, Linux) updated with the latest security updates.these updates are not just limited to adding new features to your system, but it comes with security patches for vulnerabilities in your operating system.

keep common softwares /plugins such as flash player, Microsoft Office
‘up to date’.as they are widely used, hackers are always finding ways to exploit their vulnerabilities.

6. WiFi-The most vulnerable network Ever!!

Always secure your wifi with secure password, WPA2 encryption, etc. Do NOT use public wi-fi for transactions.
if not properly configured, every wifi is vulnerable.

Review and modify default settings and passwords. Never use public wifi, if you have some personal /secret information in your personal/office laptop, they are vulnerable. Avoid conducting financial or corporate transactions on these networks.

7. Encrypt your data (!Important) 
Use encryption for your most sensitive files such as tax returns or financial records, make regular back-ups of all your important data, and store it in another location. Do not leave your credit card around that tempts children to use them.

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8. Secure your Mobile Devices Physically and Digitally. 
Be aware that your mobile device is vulnerable to viruses and hackers.Take care of the security even though you download apps ONLY from ‘Google Playstore’.Worst case scenario is getting your phone camera hacked and the hackers may steal the photographs which THEY took from your mobile.

9. Protect your e-identity, look for https://

Be cautious when giving out personal information such as your name, number, address or financial information on the Internet. Make sure that websites are secure and using https.their address will be look like this.
https://www.facebook.com.cyber security: https
https is essential for websites which involve financial transactions. it means the data you send and receive is encrypted.
make sure that you’ve enabled privacy settings (e.g. when accessing/using social networking sites).

 

10. Do NOT store your card details on websites         
If a website insists for storing your credit card information, so that your transactions can be processed faster next time, back off! you will never want to find your credit card information if that website’s database is dumped on pastebin or ghostbin like websites. try searching for last 6 or 8 digits of your credit cards numbers in google with double quotes to make sure that your credit card info is not available on the internet.(it may be available in deepweb).

11. Got hacked??Call the right person/ lawyer / LEA for help
Don’t panic! If you are a victim, if you come to know about any illegal Internet content (e.g. child exploitation) or if you suspect a computer crime, identity theft or a financial scam, report that to respected law enforcement agency. If you have any problems with your personal computer, ask for help only to a trusted person or a certified technician.

Read also: Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Invite For WhatsApp Video Calling

12. Never Trust E-mails

Do not trust emails which offers prize money through lotteries of which you are not a participant. Similarly, don’t pay for the job works which you are not in correspondence through official channels. Don’t give your credit card number(s) and CVV numbers online unless the site is a secured and reputable site. Sometimes a tiny icon of a padlock appears to symbolize a higher level of security but it may be just an image. This icon is not a guarantee of a secure site, but might provide you some assurance.

13. Do not share a code received accidentally via 2 step verification!2-step-verification
Enable 2 step verification. In addition to entering your password, you are also asked to
enter a verification code sent via SMS to your phone(if logged in from an unusual device). So a hacker might crack your password, stealing your password may be an easy task for some hackers ,but hacking into your android and read the OTP /security code sent via sms can be a tough job.Hackers might try to get that code from you using social engineering.but don’t forward that code to anyone.
2-step- verification

14. Ignore pop-ups, drive-by downloads while Surfing                                                               
Pop-ups are another challenge to cyber security, they can contain malicious software which can trick a user into verifying something. If you download software setup file which can’t have a 1.2 MB size.then you should check for the file name and source of it. This is known as a drive-by download. Always ignore pop-ups offering things like site surveys on e-commerce sites, as they are sometimes where the malicious code is.

15. Review your credit card statements

Even after taking care of these, make sure you are not already being hacked! look for your credit card /bank statements.Don’t ignore even if a small amount is deducted suspiciously, report that.it may be part of a salami attack.in which small fraction of money is stolen from millions of people.

Share these tips,and comment here to add some extras! we are looking forward to add new tips to this article.

Image credits:Google,Flickr,troll.me

Co-Author:Kashyap Thakar

About Ashutosh Barot

Ashutosh Barot is a Security Researcher, Tech Enthusiast, Pursuing M.Tech in Cyber Security and Incident Response at Gujarat Forensic Sciences University,Gujarat. He has been acknowledged by various organizations such as Symantec Corporation, J.P.Morgan, Trend Micro, Verizon Enterprise, Go Airlines, Codecademy etc. for finding out security flaws in their websites.

Ashutosh Barot

Ashutosh Barot is a Security Researcher, Tech Enthusiast, Pursuing M.Tech in Cyber Security and Incident Response at Gujarat Forensic Sciences University,Gujarat. He has been acknowledged by various organizations such as Symantec Corporation, J.P.Morgan, Trend Micro, Verizon Enterprise, Go Airlines, Codecademy etc. for finding out security flaws in their websites.