The best way to protect your documents is through a means of external storage within your home or work space. Cheap and easy-to-use hardware, such as flash drives and external hard drives, can be used to store large amounts of documentation and other pieces of data should a cyber attack occur. To illustrate this picture more clearly, imagine that your home or place of work was infiltrated by burglars. If the expensive items that they're interested in aren't stored in the place of intrusion, the attack proves to be relatively useless for the attackers. In the same regard, storing your files on a flash drive, or on the cloud, will give a layer of security between your data and the people in question.
Many of the large technology companies that run the internet today, like Google, Microsoft, Snapchat and Twitter, use obscurity to hide their sensitive data from numerous hackers trying to steal user information. In fact, many of these same technology companies--Google specifically--store their information, software and other bits of data in various countries around the globe.
Limit Social Media Usage
The amount of time we spend looking at our smartphones, checking our email, liking Facebook posts and checking our Instagram feeds has grown astronomically throughout the years. A study has revealed that the growth pattern between 2005 and the current year is well over 60%. With staggering numbers such as this, it's no wonder that more of outside attacks and data theft is coming through the funnel of social media usage. By limiting the amount of private data that we put on our online profiles, we reduce the chance that a hacker will want to steal our data. Names, street addresses and places of employment should never be used.
The biggest threat in 2017, without a doubt, is the growing use of ransomware to infect various systems around the globe. Ransomware, in simple terms, locks the victim's machine and only allows them to access their documents after a fee has been paid. Holding a computer hostage, as comical as it may sound, has brought hackers hundreds of millions of dollars in short periods of time. The majority of ransomware attacks that have taken place, shockingly, came through random Facebook spam placed within user's chat interactions. Facebook users were advocated to click on an image file with a .SVG file extension that would download the virus and render their computer useless until the hacker was compensated.
In conjunction with safe social media usage, people are advised to practice some form of logic when dealing with strangers on various software platforms. The large social media companies will never ask their users for passwords, social security numbers or login credentials through email or chat interaction. If anyone asks you to give your private information to them, ignore the request and report the incident immediately. Social engineering is routinely used as a means to convince victims and authorities to release pertinent data that could be used to hack an individual's account, or compromise a large system.
Downloading and installing a high-quality antivirus and malware protection suite is one of the best ways to ensure the integrity of your machine. Stealing data and corrupting hardware has become so popular in malicious attacks that it's speculated 32% of the entire computing population on the planet has some form of virus or malware on their operating system. Many of the compromised machines could have been kept secure if they would have incorporated some form on protection from non-trustworthy sources.
Many of the popular antivirus programs on the market today, such as BitDefender, offer an extensive array of options and software tools that allow the user to remain safe regardless of their online activities. With speculations that damage and costs from cyber attacks will reach well over a trillion dollars by 2021, it's essential that individuals, both personally and professionally, consider using an antivirus product to thwart future events and malicious actions. Similarly, clients need to be aware of smartphone interaction that can lead to the accidental installation of malware, trojans, worms and viruses that can spread throughout a home or work environment.