How To Avoid Becoming The Victim Of A Cybercrime

According to the Identity Theft Resource Institute, the number of U.S. data breaches in 2016 increased by 40%. As recently as May 2017, a widespread “ransom ware” attack targeted personal computers across the globe. While software companies are continually developing strategies to combat the latest cybercrimes, there are some steps you can take to help protect yourself online.

The stronger, the better
Most of us have a large amount of financial and personal information that’s readily accessible through the Internet, in most cases protected by nothing more than a username and password. 

Create a strong password by using a combination of lower- and upper-case letters, numbers, and symbols or by using a random phrase. Avoid using a password with your personal information such as your name and address. In addition, have a separate and unique password for each account or website you use.

If you have trouble keeping track of all your password information or you want an extra level of password protection, consider using password management software. These programs generate strong, unique passwords that you control through a single master password.

Follow the 3-2-1 rule
Backing up your online data is critical to avoid losing valuable information due to a cyber attack. If you have digital assets you don’t want to risk losing, back them up regularly. This pertains to data stored on both personal computers and mobile devices. 

When backing up data, a good rule to follow is the 3-2-1 rule. This rule helps reduce the risk that any one event — such as a computer hacker gaining access to your computer — will compromise your primary data and backups.

The 3-2-1 rule is as follows:

·      Have at least three copies of your data (this means a minimum of the original plus two backups)

·      Use at least two different formats (e.g., hard drive and cloud-based service)

·      Ensure at least one backup copy is stored in a separate location (e.g., safe-deposit box)

Stay one step ahead
Finally, the best way to avoid becoming the victim of a cybercrime is to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals. Here are some extra precautions you can take before you go online:

·      Consider using two-step authentication — this involves using a text or email code along with your password to provide another layer of protection for your sensitive data.

·      Keep an eye on your accounts — notify your financial institution immediately if you see suspicious activity. Early notification not only can stop the cyber thief but may also limit your financial liability.

·      Think twice before clicking — beware of emails containing links or asking for personal information. Never click on a link in an email or text unless you know the sender and have a clear idea where the link will take you.

·      Be careful when you shop — when shopping online, look for the secure lock symbol in the address bar and the letters https: (as opposed to http:) in the URL. Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks for shopping, as they lack secure connections.  

Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2016.

Speak Your Mind