The first step in protecting yourself is to understand the threats, so here are a few terms to better understand the risks:
- Hacker ia a term applied to a person who seeks to exploit weaknesses in software and systems for personal gain. Actions violate the intended use of the systems they are exploiting. It results in malicious activity such as stealing private or personal information.
- Malware is an unwanted program that can cause harm to your computers by compromising your data. Malicious code can come in the form of a virus, worm or Trojan. It may have these characteristics:
- Requires the user to perform an action before it can infect your computers. The action can be opening a simple email attachment or landing on a webpage.
- Some malware propagates without user intervention and typically start by exploiting software vulnerabilities. Once the victim’s computer is infected, the malware will attempt to find and infect other computers on the same network. It can propagate by email.
- Vulnerabilities are software or firmware flaws that can be exploited by an attacker to perform unauthorized actions in your system. Attackers take advantage of these errors to infect computers with malware or perform other malicious activity.
To minimize the risks, follow basic cybersecurity best practices:
- Keep software up to date. Install software patches so that attackers cannot take advantage of known problems or vulnerabilities. Many operating systems offer automatic updates.
- Antivirus software applications are an important protective measure against known threats. It automatically detects, quarantines and removes various malware.
- Use strong passwords that are difficult to guess and use different passwords for each program and device. It is best to use long, strong passphrases consisting of 16 characters or more.
- Change the default username and password which are available to hackers. Change the default password as soon as possible, to a sufficiently strong and unique one.
- Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) which uses at least two identity components to authenticate a user, minimizing the risk of a hacker gaining access to your personal data.
- Installing a firewall may eliminate some types of attack vectors by blocking malicious traffic before it can enter a computer system and by restricting unnecessary outbound communications.
- Be suspicious of all emails because Phishing is currently one of the most prevalent risks to the average user. The goal of a phishing email is to gain information about you or install malware on your device.
Contact us for more information on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security. We can help you improve your cybersecurity posture and protect yourself from cyberattacks.