Our most recent survey of more than 1,000 US adults found that 32% of respondents had experienced hacking as a result of visiting dubious websites. For people and businesses who want to interact with customers online, that is a major concern. How, after all, can small businesses increase their online visibility when customers are concerned about their safety?

The 20th anniversary of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which among other things aims to address this issue, is being commemorated by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). The Secure Our World initiative raises awareness of the threat posed by online criminals. It is our responsibility to protect ourselves, our businesses, and the products we use in a world where everything is online

Attack Statistics

Those whose accounts were compromised by visiting dubious websites:

  • 53% got a computer virus
  • 51% had their information phished
  • 43% had credit card information stolen
  • 35% had their username and password stolen
  • 17% had their identity stolen or cloned

Despite these alarming statistics, you shouldn’t stay away from the internet. Instead, people and companies should follow these five easy steps to lower their risk and safeguard their online privacy.

1. Use Safe Password

Your first line of defense against hackers is a secure password, so you don’t want to waste time using ones that are simple to guess, like “password” or “1234” Having those credentials only invites trouble.

A mix of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and unique symbols make up a strong password. Avoid using personal information, such as the name of your cat (sorry, Fluffy), and aim for passwords that are between eight and sixteen characters long.

2. Enable Two Factors Authentication

MFA, or multi-factor authentication, offers several levels of protection against hackers. The first layer is your password, and the second and third layers could be biometric scans (like your fingerprint) or codes sent to your device.

MFA should always be turned on when it’s an option. It’s one of the simplest ways to give any personal information in your email, social media, and banking accounts an extra layer or two of security.

3. Defend against phishing attacks

You have probably encountered phishing at least once if you have an email account. Phishing attempts happen when criminals pose as employees of your bank, place of business, or the IRS, for example. The criminal wants to access your passwords, banking information, or personal information.

Threatening subject lines like “Fraud Department: Your Credit Card has Been Stolen,” dubious links, and misspelled or unauthorized sender addresses like IRSFraudDepartment@gmail.com are some typical warning signs of phishing emails. Remember that Gmail.com is never used by official institutions.

4. Regularly Update Your Devices and Apps

Software updates reveal historical security flaws, so it’s critical to update your software as soon as new releases are available. Set your apps and devices to automatically update their software for even better results.

You won’t have to worry about manually managing updates or rebooting your device in the middle of the workday if you set your devices to update automatically.

Maintaining the most recent versions of your apps and devices is also a good idea in general. Bug fixes and the newest features that enhance the functionality of your apps are frequently included in updates.

5. Install Antivirus Software

Using antivirus software is an easy way to shield your devices from malware and viruses. These dangers are fairly typical, and acquiring a computer virus is simpler than you might imagine. All it takes to get a virus is one click on a dubious link from a spammy website.

McAfee and Norton antivirus software programs find and eliminate malware before it harms your devices. Make sure it is turned on because it is a built-in feature of the majority of operating systems.

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