Though nothing is a replacement for solid advice from a Cybersecurity professional, here a good few tips to give you a head start in protecting your intellectual property today.
1 ) Combine ASCII, alpha, and numeric characters to further your security. Having a password that combines ASCII characters letters, and numbers will take password generator software much longer to crack the password, or in the case of a password-dictionary based attack, it may render it a futile effort, as opposed to when your password is without variation in its character type. Combining uppercase and lowercase characters, as you can imagine, furthers the security even more.
Alphanumeric password with ASCII characters example : gLoBaLl10n!-;.&
2) Change passwords often – In the case that a hacker gets your password, if you have a habit of changing your password regularly, say 90 days, the length of their access is cut short. It’s an easy way to further your security.
3) Length of Password : We suggest a minimum of twelve characters. The power of this suggestion is in the length of the password, and not the characters that make it up. Twelve characters will take a password generator software two centuries to crack, and this calculated using a password composed only of letters. If your password is longer than twelve characters, and/or includes ASCII, numeric, and alpha characters, it will take the software many, many lifetimes before your account password is cracked. (source: https://www.betterbuys.com/estimating-password-cracking-times/)
4) Two-factor authentication – Many e-mail providers and software provide two-factor authentication for free. This requires you to verify a login using a separate method of validation, such as your phone, or a separate e-mail.
E-mail and Spam
Everyone knows it’s very important to scrutinize e-mails from unknown senders, but sometimes hackers disguise e-mails as if they’re from reputable companies. Make sure to look at the e-mail address to see if it matches the company they purport to be affiliated with. You can open the e-mail and read it, just don’t download attachments from unknown senders.
It should go without saying that one does not download attachments from unknown senders, but sometimes, as mentioned previously, accounts that we may know can send us attachments that may be infected with viruses. If you are not expecting an attachment, or it is out of the sender’s character to send attachments, these are details that should dictate whether or not you decide to open the attachment, in this case, you guessed it – don’t. A simple e-mail or phone call to the sender can potentially prevent a costly mistake of downloading an infected attachment.
Links, whether from unknown senders or colleagues, should be scrutinized as a matter of security policy. Maybe your friend is sending you a virus unwittingly, or perhaps their account has been hacked and used a vehicle for more cyber attacks. In all cases, one should hover the cursor over the link and see where the address points — if the first part of the link is from a company you recognize, say, www.bestbuy.com, and not a variation such as www.bestbuy.me, or www.bestbuy.io, you can trust the link. Keep in mind there could be many different variations, but the real website is www.bestbuy.com. The only really important part is the first bit of the link, as the second half, although seems suspicious, is perfectly fine in 99.99% of the cases. When in doubt, back out of the e-mail, and try Googling the website.
Antivirus and Malware Protection
Antivirus you pay for is usually with many more benefits that heighten security, but there are many free antivirus programs and malware protection programs that are helpful in protecting devices vulnerable to attack. You can find reputable companies that offer free security software. A quick Google search for “2019 Best Free Antivirus” will yield helpful results, and you can choose the one that best fits your personal needs. Make sure your devices are protected by antivirus software, and make sure to scan your device regularly– either through prompting the software manually, or using its interface to properly schedule at least a weekly scan.
Plugins for your Internet Browser
Many of the same companies that produce free antivirus and malware protection software offer plugins for your browser which will warn you of dangerous websites before you’re allowed entry to them. In some cases, they will altogether prevent you from accessing it.
These are some tips that could help you improve your security regimen for your devices, and protect your information today, for free.