In the past, traditional antivirus software was sufficient to protect your computer from malicious threats, but not anymore. Today, cyber threats have become increasingly complex, the internet has evolved, and users conduct almost every transaction online on their mobile devices. What does this mean for cybersecurity? Well, malware is no longer confined to computers. Hackers are hijacking social media accounts, cloud services, and mobile devices.
Once you’re connected to the internet, you’re at risk, and an antivirus does little to protect against attacks on web accounts. Just last month, hackers managed to bypass Twitter’s security system and hijacked prominent accounts of politicians, celebrities, and a tech billionaire.
Top security threats in 2020
The advancement in technology has made hackers smarter and more aggressive. According to a McAfee report, in the first quarter of 2019, there was an average of 504 new threats per minute. To stay ahead of threats, businesses and individuals must be on high alert to prevent disruption rather than managing them later. Here are three top security threats to be aware of in 2020.
Ransomware is a common threat where hackers encrypt your data or device and hold it at ransom. They make a demand for payment in return for a decryption code to release your data. The rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin has sparked an increase in ransomware as hackers can get paid anonymously.
Phishing attempts have become more sophisticated over the years. Persons have to be extra vigilant because emails are looking more convincing. Clicking on an unauthorized link can expose sensitive data such as credit card details, user login and other personal data to hackers.
– Machine learning poisoning
Through machine learning, applications can make automated decisions based on the data it ingests. Poisoning takes place when that data is manipulated to skew the results and compromise the decision-making process.
5 effective security tools to protect yourself
To protect yourself from the aforementioned cyber risks —and many others, here are five effective security tools you should consider using:
– Download a VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a great way to secure your device because it blocks intrusion attempts from cybercriminals. Installing a VPN ensures your information is encrypted by hiding your location and IP address.
– Email security
We often take for granted that the email we send or receive is secure, but hackers are savvy and can use it to spread malware and phishing attacks. Strengthen your email security by including measures such as creating strong passwords, encrypting messages, using web app firewalls, and spam filtering software.
– Vulnerability scanner
If you have security weaknesses on your device, network or software, a vulnerability scanner can detect and outline the steps to remediate them.
– Password management
Let’s face it— remembering passwords for multiple accounts can be tedious, but it is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your data. And by using a password manager to store and retrieve multiple passwords, you eliminate the need to remember them. Passwords should be strong, unique, and include no personal information.
– Update software
An effective security tool is to update your software as soon as they are available. The constant alerts about a new update can be annoying, but it’s for your protection. Each time you receive a software update, it is telling you that vulnerability is detected and should be fixed immediately. Be vigilant about updating your antivirus software and operating systems.
In 2020 and beyond, we must be extra vigilant as hackers are becoming more sophisticated.
With the now ubiquitous mobile device and evolving internet, individuals are no longer confined to a computer. In addition to using an antivirus, implementing measures such as downloading a VPN, updating software regularly, using a password manager, and a vulnerability scanner can significantly reduce your cybersecurity risk.