2024 Cyber Security Tips and Best Practices

_As we continue to spend a large amount of our time online, we are sharing more of our personal data with the internet, visible to anyone online. If this shared information falls into the wrong hands, irrespective of the type of information, a lot of things including your identity can be at risk. It is extremely important to protect this sensitive information from all types of cyber-attacks._

_*Why Cyber Security?*_

_Cyber Security has become a necessity in today’s world where all the information is often stored online and easily available for anyone who wishes to access it. Recently, Facebook and Google made headlines in several newspapers with regards to how they practice the privacy of their data. It is important to protect your data, however, for organizations, it is also important to understand how to handle confidential and sensitive information shared by the users. Data breaches attack personal information, private data does not remain private. Attackers may hack networks, systems, and accounts to steal your bank information, confidential data of an organization, credit card details, etc._

_Now, we will read in detail about some of the numerous Cyber Security measures that you can take to keep your data safe and secure from external threats._

*1.* _Think Before You Click_
_This is one of the most important Cyber Security email tips that you can use and follow regularly to keep your data safe._ _Stay cautious of the unknown links you receive through emails, messages, or while visiting other web pages that are not secure enough._

_*Clickjacking* is among the most common methods used by hackers to gain access to your personal data. Just because you are capable of clicking these links does not imply that you should because if these links are malicious then, it can cause you to lose hefty amounts and can damage your life in several ways._

_Links in mails in the form of password recovery emails, bank statements, etc. are among the most popular methods used by hackers to trick you and gain your personal information. The fake sites connected to these links are too similar to the real ones where the hackers will get you to provide your personal details and gain access to your account using the same._

*2.* _Use Strong and Varied Passwords_
_This is another one of the most significant cyber safety tips for users. It may be easy to use and remember the same password across multiple platforms for all your accounts but it makes your account more insecure._ _You should use distinct passwords for all your different accounts. With this practice, even if a company where you have an account is breached or hackers have gotten access to one of your account credentials, these credentials would not work on other websites._

_Also, you need to use strong passwords for your accounts as they are important for online security. To make your passwords strong and secure, you can refer to the password policy guidelines of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and consider the following:_

Use passwords with more than 8 characters and a maximum of 64 characters
Never make use of the same password twice

_Use at least one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, one number, and a few symbols other than &, #, _, @, etc._
_Use passwords that are easy to remember and also, do not leave clues in the open or make them available to the public_
_Change your password often and reset it._

*3.* _Use a Password Manager Tool_
_It may be difficult to remember so many passwords for your various accounts, which is when a password manager comes into the picture. A password manager is a program or software that will help you store and manage all your passwords together. You will be able to access all these passwords using a single ‘master key’ password. This will help you keep these credentials secured and also prevent you from writing down your passwords, which is one of the most unsafe methods of keeping a track of your passwords. It is extremely important in this digital era for you to have cyber safety and security awareness._

_Some of the most commonly used password managers include KeePass, LastPass, 1Password, Dashlane, and Roboform. While some of them are entirely free, the others offer both free and paid versions._

*4.* _*Set up Two-factor or Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)*_

_Generally, you require only your user id and your password to sign in to your account but the MFA service enables you to add extra security layers to the standard method of using passwords for online verification. With this, you will receive a prompt to add another method of authentication along with the password, like a code, fingerprint, OTP in your phone number or email, etc. With this method, you will be required to enter more than two credentials while logging in, keeping your account more secure by making it more difficult for hackers to access your data. This is another one of the most significant Cyber Security measures that you must take._

*5.* _*Check CERT-In Updates on a Regular Basis*_
_CERT-It stands for Computer Emergency Readiness Team- India. It came into operation in January 2004 and falls in the constituency of the Indian Cyber community. CERT-In basically serves as the national agency to perform various functions in the Cyber Security domain such as cyber security incident forecast and alerts, emergency response actions for tackling cyber security events, etc. Hence, regular checking of CERT-In updates is very important to deal with cyber emergencies._

*6.* _*Keep Your Systems Updated*_
_Another one of the most crucial cyber safety tips is that you must keep all your browsers, software, and operating systems up-to-date. This is especially one of the most important Cyber Security tips for the workplace and also for users. If your organization firewalls for security purposes, you must update that as well. The older your system and its configurations are, the longer the hackers have to find and exploit all the weaknesses. Updating them will prevent attackers from exploiting them for enough time until new updates._

*7.* _*Use Firewalls and Anti-viruses*_
_Hackers can attack your systems and networks through various methods, such as malware, viruses, phishing attacks, trojans, spyware, etc., to gain access to your data. With the help of anti-virus software and firewalls, your system will be capable of defending itself against these attacks. You need to ensure that your firewall or the software that you are using is updated regularly and prevents such cyber threats before they occur._

_You can use antivirus software like McAfee, TOTAL AV, Norton, etc., and firewalls, such as NGFW, NAT firewalls, etc. In order to keep your data protected from all possible threats, it is important for you as a user or an employee to have Cyber Security awareness._

*8.* _*Avoid Online use of Debit Cards*_
_One of the most useful Cyber Security measures that you can take is regarding online transactions and payments. When you purchase services or products online, try to avoid paying through debit cards or any other payment method that is connected to your bank account directly. Rather, you can make use of applications like PayPal or credit cards, which will provide more protection to your bank accounts._

*9.* _*Learn About Phishing Attacks*_

_In phishing attacks, hackers assume a different identity in order to trick you so that you provide them with your credentials, click on a malicious link, or open files or attachments that can attack the system with viruses or other malware. This can lead to a ransom attack. Some of the tips you can use in order to prevent this from happening and avoid getting caught in a phishing scam include:_

Do not open emails from unknown people or sources
Hover over the links before clicking to figure out where they direct and if the link seems unsafe, do not click it
Check for any type of grammatical errors and the id of the sender
Educate your friends and family about such types of errors so that they avoid opening such emails or forward them to you without any knowledge

*10.* _*Avoid Unfamiliar Websites*_
_When you come across new sites shared by your friends or even strangers online, be cautious of visiting them because some of them may contain drive-by download attacks that can attack your system data._

_This type of attack does not require you to click on anything in order to get the computer infected. It attacks your system by injecting malicious code as soon as you click on the link of the website. So, it is recommended to steer clear of such websites and visit only well-established websites that you are familiar with._

*11.* _*Avoid Useless Downloads*_
_Downloads are among the top tricks used by attackers and hackers to gain access to your networks and systems. You should limit your downloads to save your systems and data from any such threats. You must avoid downloading unnecessary software and browser extensions. In the case of an organization, employees should be given authorization before they download any software using the internet._

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