Cybersecurity threats will keep getting worse in 2018, experts say. Individual Internet users, as well as businesses, will experience a rising number of breaches, including ransomware attacks, phishing emails or WiFi hacks.
NordVPN has put together advice for staying safe in 2018:
* Be careful with public WiFi. The number of public Wi-Fi scams only seems to be increasing, showing that people still don’t treat their online security seriously. For example, hackers may position themselves as hotspots, they can use wireless sniffers to capture data or watch over a shoulder to memorize passwords. It’s important to be vigilant when using public WiFi, to use a firewall and to install a VPN, which encrypts information shared online into a secure tunnel.
* Use stronger passwords. Perhaps the most basic requirement for any online account set up is using strong passwords. Weak passwords make it simple for hackers to break into your account and cause severe damage to you. It’s advisable to use one of password management tools that generate unique passwords for each account.
* Shop online on secure websites. The first thing you should always see while making an online payment is whether the payment gateway has an https URL. The ‘s’ in the URL means that it is a secure protocol and your data is encrypted properly. Also, whenever a website requests more information than is normally required, like your Social Security number or any other kind of personal information, it usually spells fraud. You should always be cautious before giving your personal or financial details anywhere on the Internet.
* Don’t click on suspicious links. Hackers will often send an email with an infected link, so it’s very important to make sure the email and the link are legitimate before clicking the mouse.
* Don’t overshare on social media. Each time a social media user announces that they are in the Caribbean with the family, it’s a signal that their home is empty. Or when a user says they are leaving town, there might be a wide audience reading that. It’s wiser to wait till you get home to post holiday pictures. Never share your personal address or phone number on social media, adjust your setting to private, and realize that everything you share online, will stay there.
* Always keep devices updated. Security updates are there for a reason. Damage done by the last year’s ransomware attacks could have been mitigated if only devices would have been kept up to date.
The company also recommends that users employ online privacy tools, such as VPNs, which encrypt all the information that is being shared between the user and VPN server.