For many years, the importance of cybersecurity has been overlooked. Many people believe that the industry is far too complex for them to understand. While it’s true that the majority of cybersecurity articles and educational resources are filled with technical jargon that only IT experts can wrap their heads around, there are simpler ways to explain cybersecurity to the average person.
The reality is that cybercrime is on the rise and it’s more important than ever before to focus on the industry and understand it. Unfortunately, cybercrime doesn’t just affect your laptop or your smartphone, but rather, it can have a devastating effect on your personal life in many different ways.
In this article, we’re going to be exploring the importance of cybersecurity. But it’s not all fear-mongering here, we’ll also explore three essential cybersecurity tools that you need to keep your devices secure at all times. Keep reading to get your crash course on cybersecurity before it’s too late!
Why is Cybersecurity so Important?
Cybersecurity is more important than ever before. The ugly truth is that there have been millions of attacks over the past two years alone, and there has been a dramatic increase in the frequency of cyber attacks, as well as the success rate of these attacks. If your device is not protected by at least one cybersecurity measure, you’re at risk of falling victim to a cybercriminal’s schemes.
Two main factors have contributed to the rise in cybercrime over the past two years. The first of these is the fact that more and more people are buying personal devices. Whether it’s a smartphone, a laptop, or even a tablet, think of how many households you know of that own at least one device.
Secondly, the recent lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has directly contributed to an increase in cybercrime as well. With citizens being locked inside their own homes, people had to find ways to keep themselves entertained, stay in touch with their friends and families, and work from home using their devices.
Both of these factors have contributed to an increase in screen time, which is ultimately why we have seen a spike in cybercrime as a result. Many of these people are unaware of the importance that cybersecurity has, and therefore many people fell victim to the traps set out for them by cybercriminals.
The Threats You Face Online
Before we dive into our top three essential cybersecurity tools let’s quickly take a look at the threats you might be facing in the virtual world. The ultimate goal for a typical cybercriminal is to steal — doesn’t matter if it’s login credentials, banking information, or even personal information. Any of these elements can allow a cybercriminal to commit various crimes such as fraud, identity theft, blackmail, and much more.
So, how do they get their hands on this information? Hackers have several different strategies they can use to steal the information they need from you, but the most common method that cybercriminals use is phishing.
Phishing involves getting a victim to interact with a link. This link can be sent to the victim in various ways, from emails to social media messages, and they can even be disguised as icons or images on a website. Hackers use social engineering to drive and manipulate their victims into interacting with the links. They do this by posing as a person or company that the victim might know and trust, and they will use emotional triggers to urge the victim to interact with the link. One example is that the victim can click on the link and enter their personal information and in return, they will win tickets to their favorite band’s live concert.
Once the victim clicks on the fraudulent link, one of two things could happen. The first is that malicious software can be installed on the victim’s device. This can range from viruses to spyware and even ransomware. Secondly, the victim could be taken to a website that has been rigged with a keylogger. Keyloggers will copy all of the information that the victim types into the website and send it to the cybercriminal, allowing them to steal whatever information has been submitted.
The first essential cybersecurity tool you need to install on your device is premium antivirus software. Antivirus software will constantly scan your device for any viruses or malware, and it can then take action to remove them from your device before they do any further damage. It’s always a good idea to invest in antivirus software that has anti-phishing features capable of detecting fraudulent emails and links before you open them.
Installing antivirus software on your device is just one step, you also need to ensure that it is always kept up to date. Cybercriminals are constantly adapting their malware and tactics to bypass antivirus software. Software updates will be released to counter these developments that hackers have made, which is essential to keeping your devices secure.
Virtual Private Network
Another essential cybersecurity tool is a virtual private network, also known as a VPN. These cybersecurity tools have become popular thanks to their unblocking capabilities that allow users to bypass internet censorship, geo-blocking, and even find new movies and series to watch on Netflix. VPNs allow their users to do so by masking their IP addresses (a unique string of numbers used to identify your device on the internet) and connecting them to a secure global server in another country.
However, a VPN is also important when it comes to the security and privacy of your device. When using a VPN, your internet connection will be encrypted, preventing anyone from seeing what you are doing on your device. Not even the government or your internet service provider will be able to keep track of your internet history. This tool is essential for when you are using an unsecured network such as the ones found in public WiFi hotspots. Cybercriminals thrive on these networks as they can “listen in” on your device as it sends and receives data from the internet.
If you want to ensure that your accounts are secure, you need to make use of strong and unique passwords. Strong passwords are made up of random letters, numbers, and symbols that do not have any relation to your personal information. This will prevent hackers from using your personal information to crack your passwords. Having unique passwords for each of your accounts will prevent hackers from breaking into multiple accounts once they have breached one of them.
Remembering all of your strong and unique passwords can be a hassle though, and the default password manager on your browser or device is not secure enough to store them safely. However, you can invest in a premium password manager which will act as a virtual vault, securing your passwords behind a master key that only you have access to.