Cybersecurity: A Complete Guide to Protecting Yourself

If you want to improve your cybersecurity but don't know how to, then this is an all-in-one guide to safeguarding your personal data.

Everyone has heard of Facebook and its major cybersecurity breach, the Wipro phishing attacks, or the Chegg website attack. What did all these companies have in common? Data. Our data. Even if the company that was attacked has their data lost or abused, so was ours. So essentially, we are responsible for our data and we should know how best we can maintain and protect it!

There are various ways in which you can be attacked digitally like phishing, hacking, accessing backdoors, etc.

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What is cybersecurity?

Let’s clear out the misconception regarding cybersecurity: it is the protection of all computer and its systems which are connected by the internet. It includes both the hardware and the software and is used by enterprises to protect their data from being accessed or used by third-party software and people with malicious intent.

We all know about the common types of cybersecurity threats like phishing, spyware, trojan horses, and basic viruses, so let’s see some other nonfamous but equally if not more threatening cybersecurity threats which your computer may face.

cybersecurity
An illustration of Cybersecurity. Source: Jeff Lanza

7 Cybersecurity threats that you may be susceptible to

Rogue USB sticks

cybersecurity
Source: Shutterstock

A specially designed USB is like a bomb packed into a minuscule object. It has the potential to wipe out your entire OS and your computer, without you even realizing it!
A USB stick becomes a trojan horse for various malware and spyware which can misuse your data.

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For preventing such an attack you should, plug in a USB stick from reliable sources only, keep your OS up to date and have an antivirus installed.

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Zombie accounts

A zombie account is an account that you may have created in the past and are not using now, something like an app account that has served its purpose and moreover you have deleted the app now. Such accounts give hackers more place to breach into, and then link on to your main account. It is advisable that you periodically check and remove all zombie accounts which you may have created and forgotten about.

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and few minutes of cyber-incident to ruin it.

Stephane Nappo

Untrusted browser extensions

A browser extension is a tool that is used when you are on the browser to make your overall task easier and quicker. Although it may seem harmless if you install the wrong extensions, it can also lead to serious spyware issues and virus issues on your device.

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For prevention, you should have reliable browser extensions only. You should check what type of data the extension is demanding, and also read up on the reviews left by others for that extension.

cybersecurity
Source: Bit Defender

Online quizzes

Source: Generous Work

This is one of the best ways that hackers get your private information and misuse it. The quizzes which ask you all about yourself to answer a question like “which house of Game of Thrones do you belong to” or “what is your personality is like” is bait to which all of us fish prey upon and lose our privacy in the process. Most of the personal questions asked can be used to impersonate you and therefore you may be at risk.

Hence you should avoid answering such quizzes and also you should discourage others from doing the same as well. It will greatly improve your cybersecurity.

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Pictures that you upload

This is one of the biggest sources for other people to gather data on you. The places that you visit, the place you live near to, and the people really close to you, can all be deduced from the photos that you upload. Hence you should take utmost care when you upload a photo.

You can prevent this threat by making your account private and allowing only people you trust to see your photos and posts, so the predators behind you cannot access your photos. You should also spread awareness to all your friends and family.

Smart device spying

Taken from wired.com

We all know about Alexa and its previous controversies regarding our privacy, but if you look at it in another sense – all smart home devices which you have can be used to spy on you. Hence it is not advisable to have private conversations near a smart device. You should also have weird and non-default passwords for the smart devices so that your main accounts are safe.

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Pernicious charging cables

How hackers can get access to your information. Source: Picbear

Much like the rogue USB sticks as mentioned above in, specially manufactured charging cables also exist. Once plugged into your device, it may affect your computer or send its data somewhere else. The only way to prevent this and to safeguard your cybersecurity is to use proper and authentic charging cables from reputable sources.

Conclusion

In this age of 0s and 1s with so much data all around us, it is quite easy to lose our heads and also in the process of our privacy. We should all become responsible for our own cybersecurity and not do anything which can give the piranhas out there a chance to bite us.

True cybersecurity is for preparing what is next, not what’s last

Neil Rerup

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