This article was contributed by Cynthia Madison who works as an author at SmallBizClub.com.
While not everyone may be familiar with cybersecurity, this topic is now brought more into discussion due to the way people use technology. Cyberattacks pose significant threats, particularly for UK businesses.
Recent research has shown that cybercrime in the UK has hit epidemic proportions, as about 39% of companies have become victims of hackers' malicious activities in the last year. Among these attacks, 83% were Phishing attempts. What's more concerning is that 31% of businesses experienced some form of cybercrime once a week.
Data Breach Compensation Expert states that a data breach happens when critical information is destroyed, altered or lost due to a security incident. According to Statista, a data breach cost businesses around 4.24 million dollars in 2021. The numbers are alarming, and as cybersecurity experts state, they show that cybercrime has reached epidemic proportions.
It's even scarier to think that some of these attacks occur so often that they aren't even regarded as cybercrimes. Incidents like internet pop-ups that you struggle closing may seem innocuous.
And yet, these issues should prompt individuals to check for malware. Hackers lurk behind digital mishaps to make money all the time. Internet users shouldn't make things easy for them; instead, they should stay updated on the best security practices and implement them to stay safe from cybercrime.
Pop-up adverts are among the most frequent attacks, and hackers make them extremely difficult to close. Email hijacking is another common form of hacking that enables cybercriminals to monitor the conversation between a customer and a provider and use the data for malicious purposes.
While the cybercrime wave affects many UK businesses and citizens, not everyone in the country suffers malicious activity. The people in this category are likely the ones who take more precautions regarding online security.
According to the NordVPN provider, there are several things individuals can do to stay safe while using the Internet.
Use strong passwords
Passwords are vital in the online world, and they should be able to protect you from cybercriminals attempting to gain access to your accounts. If they fall into hackers' hands, the consequences can be dire, as you could not only lose your accounts but also sensitive personal information. Moreover, it could also affect your finances significantly.
Cybercriminals use multiple tactics to get access to your password, and they keep improving them every time. This is why staying up-to-date with the latest cybersecurity practices is so important.
If you use a short and less complex password, you leave the door open for hackers to access your data. To prevent this, you must create a strong password that is not easy to guess. You may think of using a single password for all your accounts, but this method isn't practical due to security reasons.
A better practice is creating a unique password for each account. A password manager can keep your passwords in one place, so you don't have to worry about remembering them all.
As the proverb says, it's better to be safe than sorry. That being said, you should always be extra careful with everything you do online. Phishing is one of hackers' most common tactics that they use to trick people and gain access to their data. Thus, you should be aware of the links you get on your email – if you think something seems suspicious, then most likely it is, and you should never click on it.
As a rule, you should never enter your company or personal data in response to a pop-up webpage, email or another similar communication form. Cybercriminals use phishing for identity theft, and you surely don't want this to happen. Be aware of the software you download and the sites you visit online.
Don't share personal information online
Every Internet user should employ safe practices to secure their personal information. If they don't, they could be at risk. While you may assume you aren't a target unless you use a public device, this is not true. Many times, cybercriminals carry out attacks through a personal device. If they can breach major companies with excellent security systems, your home network won't impede hackers from getting what they want.
Hence, you should never overshare personal information online. Social media platforms may seem like having a private conversation with your friends, but they expose you to risks – always remember this.
Hackers aiming to steal your identity can use personal details on your social platforms to find your location, answer security-related questions, and even access your birth date. If it sounds scary, it's because it is.
The effects of cybercrime are truly devastating, and you shouldn't wait until something happens to you to take action. If you're an Internet user, your number one priority should be keeping your data as safe as possible. Technology brings risks with it, but it also gives people the tools to combat these threats.
Use a VPN service
VPN (a virtual private network) may sound intimidating when you first hear about it, but it's actually easy to use and can benefit both individuals and large organizations. Briefly, VPN software keeps your data safe by encrypting it. In other words, you can keep your identity anonymous while browsing the Internet.
Public Wi-fi may seem highly convenient, but it has a downside: it comes with security threats. Suppose you answer emails at a coffee shop or scroll through social media while waiting at the airport. These activities may seem harmless; however, there may be someone who tracks your online activity.
The solution is to use a VPN that protects your data and hides your browsing history, banking information, and account passwords from malicious hackers. What's great about VPN is its adaptability to different smart devices. VPN services don't only protect your desktop computer but also your tablet and your phone. VPN enterprises provide different protection plans, but most providers offer plans that enable you to stay safe on various devices.
Cyberattacks have become increasingly successful and sophisticated, which means everyone must always be one-step ahead. At a time when the Internet is such a significant part of life, it's paramount to implement the best cybersecurity practices and stay safe from digital attacks.
About the author
Cynthia Madison is an author at SmallBizClub.com with a solid technical, business, and financial foundation. She's responsible for providing share-worthy articles that deliver value straight to the point. Cynthia enjoys watching thought-provoking TED talks on technology advancements in her spare time. She lives a “never stop learning” life.