When you have an internet-connected device like a computer or a smartphone, you run the risk of putting your information in danger. With every link you click, file you download, or website you visit, cyberattackers could access puts you at risk for a cyberattack. Instead of living in fear, you should be aware of the risk and work to combat all avenues of entry. Keeping yourself up to date on current attack vectors and methods is the first step in ensuring your cyber safety. Here are a few tips to keep your connected devices safe.

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Avoid Phishing/Vishing Attacks

Phishing and Vishing attacks are sometimes considered the most dangerous sort of attack. The amount of malware sent out by email is astounding; about 94% of all malware is sent through email. Furthermore, 66% of malware is downloaded through malicious email attachments. Avoiding these attacks can be a relatively simple matter as long as you pay attention. If you receive an email or text message stating that you must send your bank or tax information immediately, it’s obviously a phishing attempt. A sneakier method would be creating a webpage that looks legitimate to steal your personal information. Always make sure that the link is correct and is sending you to the right website. For an in-depth primer on how to spot a phishing or vishing attack, check out our recent blog, with eight tips for spotting an attack.

Use a Secure Email Gateway

A secure email gateway, or SEG, is a great way to keep an organization’s email safe and secure. SEGs work as firewalls for your email servers, blocking potentially dangerous attacks from going in and sensitive information from going out. When a suspicious email is received that could be detrimental to your company, it immediately quarantines the message before it can affect any other computer on your network. SEGs can also protect you from phishing emails from known, suspicious email addresses, especially if they contain malware or a virus.

Keep Hotspots Secure

Free wifi hotspots are a great perk while traveling or on the go. While you may be tempted to join these networks, you should be sure that the hotspot you are connecting to is safe. Some hotspots are fake, used only to get access to your internet-connected device. Once a cybercriminal has access to your device via your connection, they can steal personal information like passwords, usernames, and even your physical address. They can also install dangerous viruses on your device.

If you are still worried about keeping your devices secure, you can use your own hotspot to limit your risk. However, keep in mind that having your own hotspot comes with risks. Be sure to utilize a strong password and change it often to thwart a possible hijack. Also, make sure to encrypt your hotspot to protect against unwanted stowaways.

Use a VPN

A virtual private network, or VPN, is a way to establish a secure, encrypted connection to any server. VPNs scramble your data so a hacker can’t tell what you are doing online. The connection is private, making sure that any public connection you might be on is private for you. In addition, anything you send through a VPN is encrypted and less likely to be compromised. This can include email addresses, messages, login information, and downloads. Also, the VPN masks your IP address (depending on the kind of server you are connecting to), making it harder to breach your connected device.

It’s always a good idea to take measures to keep your internet-connected devices safe. Hackers are always looking for ways into your devices so they can steal personal information, money, or worse. Hackers can use multiple different avenues to get in, such as emails and the internet. By keeping those two avenues secure, you reduce the risk of infection. It’s everyone’s job to keep their devices secure for you, your family, and your company.