As the world’s devices get smarter, so too do the hackers trying to steal your data. Here’s why your security matters, and how to stay safe.
Smart devices and other Internet-Of-Things (IoT) products have certainly made our lives easier. But as our tech gets smarter and more connected, your personal data has never been more vulnerable, and cybersecurity has never been more important.
We are definitely past the point of no return when it comes to having ourselves and our information online. From concert tickets to Covid-safe sign-ins, smart home hubs to paying bills, having your data online is basically a requirement to participate in the modern world. And having all this information online means that the ramifications of data breaches, often caused by malware or spyware, are far heavier than before.
While we as individuals can’t do much to stop big corporate or geo-political cyber attacks, we can take responsibility for our own safety online. Here is why cybersecurity is more important than ever, and what you can do to protect yourself.
We’re More Connected Than Ever
As mentioned, the nature of modern networks and IoT means we are always connected. There are generally multiple devices across an average home network, and the use of cloud technology has been steadily rising for years.
This means that there is a far greater incentive for hackers, since we have more devices and personal information online that is at threat. It also means that it is also much easier for malware to spread throughout a network and infect a number of devices before it is even noticed. If you think you’ve been hacked, here’s what you should do.
Cyber Attacks And Hackers Aren’t Going Anywhere
In fact, there are more of them than ever. Approximately 160 million new malicious programs have been or will be developed this year, according to recent research, and this is only set to grow. In parts of Asia last quarter, 97 percent of all mobile transactions were flagged as fraudulent and blocked. Meanwhile, new technological advancements make it easier for hackers, who can use AI and machine learning to automate attacks on a massive scale.
Add to the mix the huge amounts of vulnerable data, uncertainty created by Covid, the quick growth of ecommerce, and an unstable geo-political climate, and there’s little wonder why there are so many hackers out there. Or why you are indeed vulnerable.
Staying Safe Starts With You
While there are many things are outside of our control – international politics, the security systems of trusted gatekeepers, and the weather (to name a few) – keeping your data safe starts with you. You are the one using the internet and connected devices, and the onus is on you to make sure you’re protected and practicing safe online behaviour. This includes:
- Make sure your devices are protected. Keep up to date with the latest antivirus or security suite, and make sure all of our devices are receiving essential protection. Many cybersecurity products are able to protect multiple devices across different platforms; we recommend Bitdefender’s Family Pack – which protects 15 devices on all operating systems.
- Check for vulnerabilities in your network. Scan your devices regularly for malicious programs. You can also download this free Home Scanner tool, which searches for vulnerable devices and passwords on your home network, and offers detailed security recommendations.
- Stay informed with the latest security trends. If you’re here reading this, then you’re off to a good start. Cybersecurity trends are constantly changing, and so are the best practices to stay safe. The only way to stay up-to-date is to keep reading and staying informed. This IoT Security Insights blog is another good resource, as is PCMag’s own Security Page.
- Practice good web hygiene. Most of this comes down to common sense. Update and reboot your computer regularly. Use strong passwords (123456 was still the most common password in 2020). Avoid public Wi-Fi (and if you must use it, avoid any apps or devices with personal data). Don’t click on email links from unknown senders. You know the drill. If you don’t, check out this article.