Nina Kazmierczak- Partner and Principal Adviser
Sovereign Wealth Partners
As more of our work, play and business is conducted online, it’s becoming increasingly more important to use a diverse set of cybersecurity measures.
So, what Is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting systems, networks, and programs from digital attacks. These cyberattacks are usually aimed at accessing, changing, or destroying sensitive information; extorting money from users; or interrupting normal business processes.
Ideally, you already follow several cybersecurity best practices, but many users don’t believe they’re worth the time or they believe that “Apple or Microsoft has my back“. You don’t need to be a cyber security specialist to understand and practice cyber defense tactics. here are a few simple ways you can get protected:
- Multi-factor authentication (MFA)
This could potentially keep you safe, even after a hacker has stolen you password. That’s because MFA requires more than one form of identification to grant access.
Some examples of MFA include- receiving a temporary code SMSed to your mobile, the use of an authenticator app that generates one-time passcodes, fingerprints or facial scans.
- Password managers
Every online account linked to your name should have a unique password with at least 12 characters that doesn’t contain facts about you (avoid anniversary dates, pet names, etc.).
Creating one strong password that you can remember is hard enough; doing it for every website is just about impossible! Passwords are the bane of online existence.
Password manager applications assist in generating and retrieving complex passwords, encrypting and storing them in a database. They download as a browser plug-in to capture and handle your passwords.
The alternative, change your passwords regularly- and not by just adding a number on the end.
- Software Updates
Hackers are constantly evolving and searching for vulnerabilities that can be exploited. Update your software regularly. Software developers may find loopholes before hackers and provide updates with patches, alternatively, the hackers find the loopholes forcing developers to create patches. Either way, update your software. Any inconvenience can be overcome by setting up the auto-update feature to ensure you’re protected as soon as possible.
Just a few years ago, most websites used unencrypted connections, which meant anything you typed into a form on that site would be sent in plain text and could be intercepted with little effort. HTTPS, S for ‘secure’, was created to facilitate safer and encrypted connections. If the URL includes “http://,” — note the missing “s” — avoid entering sensitive information.
You can add a browser extension- HTTPS everywhere, that helps ensure you use encrypted website connections whenever possible, alerting you to the fact when a page isn’t secure yet requires sensitive information.
- STOP. LOOK. DELETE
You need to limit the number of click-throughs you perform on emails and even text messages. This may be a hard habit to develop, but you need to move a touch slower when you check all your email accounts. Why? Because cyber-crooks are now using phishing and other social engineering tricks to get you to open emails, click on links and possibly even share some information, even if it’s someone’s name or email. Be vigilant- if you cant see the full email address, don’t open the email.
Here’s an example. On your device the screens tend to shorten the display.
But, once you look at the actual sender…
6. Avoid Public Wi-Fi networks! Full Stop.
The list is by no means exhaustive. There are hundreds of ways to protect yourself from hackers. Be vigilant, do your homework and ensure your devices (all of them) are protected as best as possible.
If you’re ever unsure either- don’t click through, don’t open the message/link… go old school and call.
If it’s a message about providing sensitive information, pick up the phone and verbally confirm any information ‘required’.
If you suspect something fishy, call the genuine organisation using contact details from their main website or simply… block and delete.