As technology becomes more advanced, every day brings new ways to work, play, and interact with one another using our devices.
At the same time, hackers are finding new strategies to breach these devices and steal our information for their own personal gain. Because of this, how can you be sure you’re taking every precaution necessary so that you don’t fall victim to a security threat?
It all comes down to your digital security efforts. If you aren’t sure what digital security is, and the extra steps you can take to prevent a cyber security breach, just keep reading.
Digital security 101
Before you can know if your digital security is strong enough to protect you, first, let’s define it.
What is digital security?
Digital security is an all-encompassing term for the tools that are used to secure your identity, data, assets, and devices.
These tools can be anything we use to safeguard our data, like anti-virus software and web services. Other digital security devices include the SIM card in your phone and an ePassport, since these are both tools we use to communicate and travel using our digital identity in a way that is both convenient and secure.
The three pillars of digital security
Digital security falls under three main pillars, and to remember them, just think CIA.
First things first, it’s an absolute must that you keep your data and identity private, or at least limit the data’s availability to specific people or organizations.
Everyone has information that they want to keep secret. Whether it be your bank account statements, credit card numbers, trade secrets, or even government documents.
There are many ways you can go about keeping it confidential, from creating a strong password to using a fingerprint scanner. You could also store your information through cloud security or invest in an encryption device.
Related: Interested in going the route of encryption software? Check out our list to narrow down your search in finding the right tool for you.
Integrity makes sure that the data you’re keeping confidential and secure hasn’t been modified or corrupted. You also need to consider the source of the data. Can you be sure that it is coming from the right person, and that person is who they say they are?
Hackers are only interested in stealing your information if it’s correct. You could go about maximizing the integrity of your data by utilizing file permissions and user access controls. There’s also version control to prevent incorrect changes to your data. And, of course, it’s always in your best interest to back up all of your data and secure information to have in the event of a corruption.
Lastly, digital security needs to work properly and run at all times for it to be effective. This happens by maintaining all hardware, performing hardware repairs in a timely manner, and ensuring your operating system is free of any bugs, worms, or viruses.
Are you familiar with that pesky software update you keep ignoring and telling it to “remind you tomorrow”? Keeping up with the availability pillar means that it’s time to install that update, which can patch holes left vulnerable to attackers.
It’s also a good idea to make the most of extra security equipment or software, such as firewalls and proxy servers, to protect against downtime and malicious acts, such as DDoS attacks.
Intensify your digital security efforts
Whether you’re a regular user, a public figure, or heck, even a spy, there are ways to go about ramping up your digital security efforts even further. I’ve already broken down the fact that you need encryption and backups for your data, but what else can be physically done to defend yourself?
Tape over your webcam
Have you ever seen people typing away on their laptops at coffee shops or airports with tape over the webcam and thought, “what the heck?”
I know I have. Essentially, think of this as a high-reward, low-tech digital security step. If you think this step is overkill, let me remind you that in April 2016, cyber attackers hacked into people’s devices through their webcams and then streamed live footage on YouTube.
Whether you like it or not, this is a very real, very creepy, threat that we have to consider. Rather than becoming a victim in this situation, invest in a little painter’s tape and put it over your laptop’s webcam. Or, if you want to get fancy about it, you can buy an official webcam cover to stop hackers in their tracks.
Use multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication is becoming more common in the ways of protecting data and identities. These extra layers of security are when a site requires a password to gain access, in addition to another form of verification, like something you have.
A good example is when you’re logging into an account via a password, and then the account sends a numeric code to your smartphone for you to then type in before you can access your account. For instance, any time I am making a change to my online banking settings, the app sends me a code that I then enter in before any changes can be saved.
Apply a privacy shield
Something we all do, whether we want to admit it or not, is sneak a peek at the laptop or smartphone of the person next to us when out in public. It happens when we’re on the train and waiting in line, and it’s becoming perfectly natural to casually look at someone else’s screen.
To avoid others from seeing what's on your screen, apply a privacy shield. These thin covers make your screen dark from certain viewing angles. When you apply a privacy shield, you’ll still be able to see your screen normally when looking straight on, but if someone tries to snoop sitting next to you, it’ll look like your screen is turned off.
Whether you’re sending a private work email that includes sensitive information or playing Words With Friends, no one will know but you.
There’s a time and place to be vulnerable
As long as it doesn’t include your identity or data. Save yourself the time and money that comes from being hacked by ensuring you take digital security seriously. You never know when you can fall victim to a cyber attack, so be sure to protect your data whenever possible.
Now that you’ve protected from cyber security hackers, learn all about the popular romance scam called catfishing.