You check for card skimmers every time you stop at an ATM or gas pump. You cover up your webcam with tape. You may be asking yourself if you’re too paranoid, but really- are you paranoid enough? In today’s world, it never hurts to be too paranoid when it comes to cybersecurity. Cybercrimes have been on a steady rise in the recent years and show no signs of slowing. It is estimated that by 2019, the global cost of cybercrime will reach an estimated $2 trillion, a three-fold increase from the estimates of 2015.
Here are some precautions you can take to minimize the risk of becoming the next victim of a cybercrime.
1. Cover Up That Webcam
There have been numerous stories that have emerged over the years of people being spied on through their laptop webcam. In 2010 a lawsuit was filed against a school in Pennsylvania for secretly spying on students through the webcams of the laptops that they themselves issued. In 2014 a man was arrested and sentenced to 18 months in prison for hijacking the webcams of several young women, including Miss Teen USA. This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are multiple websites dedicated to the sole purpose of webcam spying.
2. Choose Strong Passwords and Keep Them Safe
It is also important to use different passwords for different online accounts. Using the same password for all of your accounts is much like using the same key for all of your locks. Be sure to create passwords that are lengthy and contain multiple different characters, numbers, and symbol. It’s also a good idea to change your passwords regularly.
3. Don’t Store Your Credit Card Information on Websites
While mass breaches of stores and online retailers are rare, they still do happen. It’s best to play it safe when it comes to your bank account and credit card information.
4. Make Sure You Only Shop On Secure Sites
Before entering any credit card information, make sure to check that the URL says “https” and not just “http.” If the S is not there, the site is not secure.
5. Secure Your Computers
Make sure all of your software and antivirus programs are up to date and your firewall is activated. It is important to scan regularly for any malware, Trojan horses, and other malicious software that can be used to obtain your personal information.
6. Play it Safe on Social Media
Don’t check in to places while you’re out. Don’t post pictures of your plane tickets, vacation, or otherwise let everyone know that you’re currently away from your home. There have been multiple instances in the past few years where vacationers have returned home only to find that they had been a victim of burglary while they were away. Even if you have your account locked up tight so only your friends can see your posts, you never know who may be looking at your information through your friends’ accounts.
With cybercrime on the rise, it is in your best interest to be too paranoid rather than not paranoid enough.
Every day thousands of people fall victim to cyberattacks– don’t let the next one be you.