How Do You Stay Safe From Cybersecurity Attacks?

Our lives are increasingly becoming digital dependent. It's no secret that we spend a great deal of time online—for work, social interaction, and entertainment. This trend has exposed us to the risks of cyber-attacks.

Cybersecurity Attacks

We now live in a world where a cyber-attack happens every 39 seconds. Being cyber aware is not just a safety tip but our guarantee for truly living our best lives in this digital age. Understanding what these cyber attacks look like will help us recognize them and defend ourselves against them. 

This article explores the common cyber attacks you may encounter and how you can stay safe on the internet. 

Types of cyber-attacks you may face 

Malicious agents are always seeking loopholes and vulnerabilities to exploit. They are usually after the theft of sensitive data. They either use the data to carry out illegal activities or demand cash from the owners of the data. 

The following are three popular forms of cyber-attacks:

1. Phishing Attacks: Attackers use social engineering techniques to deceive victims into sharing sensitive information like bank details. They then carry out criminal activities with this information. The victims may get emails, text messages, or voice calls that pretend to be from legitimate sources; in reality, they are not. 

2. Malware Insertion: Malware is simply MALicious softWARE. It can come in the form of spyware, ransomware, viruses, or worms. These kinds of software make a digital device inoperable. It is also an avenue for the originators to steal the victim's data.

Malware is activated when a user clicks on a malicious link or attachment, which leads to installing the dangerous software. It can also be transferred physically via storage devices (e.g. USB stick) or connecting to unsecured public WiFi. 

3. DDoS attacks: When you visit a website that responds slower than usual or is unresponsive, that website might be under a DDoS attack. Your internet connection will likely be slow if you are targeted by the attack. The perpetrators of these attacks use compromised devices (called botnets) to achieve their aims. Your device could be one of the part of these compromised devices.

Six Ways to Increase Cybersecurity  

Here are six things you should do to stay safe from cybersecurity attacks. 

1. Use Strong Passwords 

Passwords are considered as the equivalent of house keys on the internet. Will you ever face a situation where you lock your door and leave your keys at the keylock? When you make use of weak passwords, that's what you do. 

Good password etiquette is critical to keeping cyber security threats at bay. Use strong passwords. A strong password is

  • unique, and
  • long, at least 15 characters. 

Consider a rule of thumb, make sure to change your passwords once a year, and also every time you forget them. Also, never reveal your passwords to anyone. Use different passwords for different accounts.

Always use multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), also called Two Step Factor Authentication, provides an extra layer of protection. When you use MFA on your device, you need more than your correct password to access the device. Thus, when unauthorized persons access your devices or accounts, they need some form of code only you can provide. 

2. Control access to your devices

Many cyber attacks begin with physical access to your devices and connecting networks. Unaware users may leave their devices vulnerable to malicious agents. USB sticks can be a source of malware that grants them access to your device. You must control who has access to your digital devices. You would increase your cybersecurity and also prevent break-ins.

3. Use Security Software (e.g., antivirus, firewalls)

You will experience an additional level of security thanks to a trustworthy cybersecurity solution. They aid in your continued readiness for a cyber attack.

Examples of cybersecurity software include antivirus software and firewalls.  A firewall system will block any brute force attacks made on your network and system before they can do any damage. 

An antivirus software actively scans and removes all forms of malware it detects on your devices. It cleans your house for you and leaves no hiding place for malicious agents. 

4. Practice good internet etiquette: think before you click

You would follow a path only if you know where it leads. On the internet, too, only follow links you're sure of their destination.

Before you click on any link, make sure the link comes from a trusted source. In spite of that, verify that the link does not have malicious intent. A simple way to do this is to check for pointers. For starters, look out for pages without SSL encryption—Make sure the URL begins with HTTPS; the ‘S’ is vital.

When a link doesn't reflect the intended use, it is safe not to click. For example, when a link reads, and you expect to get news related to technology, it is better not to click it. 

5. Update your devices always 

Malicious people look for and use any opening they can find.Outdated software has big holes and entry points for them. To avoid becoming a victim, keep your devices up to date at all times. The best thing you can do is to turn on settings for automatic updates on regular basis. 

6. Backup your data

Data Backup serves as insurance in case of an attack.  It is a crucial step because if you eventually get attacked, you will not be left helpless and at the mercy of the attackers. 

Ensure that all critical data on your devices are backed up automatically. You can follow the 3-2-1 system used by tech experts, meaning, you'll keep three copies of your documents on two different storage devices and one copy in an off-site location (usually a cloud storage). 

Infographic created by Donnelley Financial Solutions, an SEC filing software company


Being cyber aware is the ultimate cybersecurity advice. The steps outlined in this article will help build a solid defense against a cybersecurity attack—but they are not one-time actions. Our digital world is constantly changing, and it is imperative that we stay informed and adjust accordingly.


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