Understanding cyber-safety shouldn't be anything new in this day and age. Most young adults grew up learning how to be safe online; from talking to new people to keeping private information secure, this generation learned it all. However, with the rise of cyber attacks during 2020 and 2021, this knowledge is even more critical. More than 150 million people were affected by data breaches in 2020. With October being National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we’d like to take some time to review the basics of cybersecurity.

Here are Secure Data’s Top Four Basic Cybersecurity Tips.

Close-up dark keyboard with cyber security concept

Be Careful About What You Click

Links play a significant role in every part of the online experience. We have links in every online search, in normal online conversations and chats, and even in emails and pictures. Because of this, we can get lazy with our security. With so many links bombarding us daily, the idea of checking each and every one to make sure that it’s safe is exhausting. There are a few things to keep in mind when dealing with links, though, to keep your security as simple as possible. Only click on links from people you know and trust and, if you don’t know them, hover your mouse over the link. If the link does not match what the text says, the person who sent it to you probably doesn’t have the best of intentions and is trying to dupe you into clicking a mailicous link. You should also double-check that the addresses don’t have letters pushed together to look like an entirely different letter (using ‘rn’ to look like m).

Don’t Give Out Incriminating Information

This one seems like a no-brainer, but cybercriminals are really good at convincing people to give out personal or financial information. A common trick is using a business that most people use, such as Netflix, and creating fake web pages. These pages look authentic enough that people feel safe to put in their private information, such as usernames, passwords, and credit card information. Cyberattackers also tend to add sentences that create a sense of urgency. By saying things such as “your account is at risk of being shut down” or “there has been suspicious activity on your account,” people feel that they have to act fast, which makes it hard to think about being safe.

Double Check Email Addresses

Not only do we have to deal with links every day, but emails are also a common danger. It’s easy to create phony email addresses to ask for information or for money. Everyone has heard of the ‘Nigerian Prince’ scam, but there are some lesser known emails designed to con people out of money. These types of emails can pose as employers or managers asking someone to purchase gift cards and send the codes back. These scams are simply known as gift card scams and can be very dangerous. It’s best to double check the email addresses that these came from as many of them will be public email addresses or something that closely resembles emails from inside your organization. Also, check that the name is spelled correctly and that there are no double letters or doctored letters.

Understand You Can Never Be 100% Safe

Cybersecurity has a common saying, “not if, but when.” There is a lot of vectors cyber attackers can use to get into your networks. It’s not possible to be completely vigilant in keeping yourself safe from attacks, thanks in large part to a phenomenon called security fatigue. Security fatigue happens when you start slipping in your diligence towards online safety. The best way to avoid it is to talk about threats with coworkers, share stories, and work together on keeping your information safe. Cyber-attacks tend to be pushed under the rug as people and companies don’t want to admit to being tricked. Talking about common safe practices and ways to avoid attacks creates a positive effect on your overall online safety behavior

Online safety is essential in this day and age. We all know the tips and tricks to avoid getting hacked, but following them is a different matter. If security is something you have issues with, getting a managed service, like Secure Data, can help keep your data safe. Managed services are helpful in every aspect of a cyberattack as they monitor your networks before the attack, shut them down during, and help you with a plan to recover afterwards. Remember to stay safe this Cybersecurity Awareness Month and to do your part to stay cyber smart.