Are You Practicing Good Cyber Hygiene?
Ever heard of the term cyber hygiene? Whilst we all have daily routines to maintain our personal hygiene, it is just as important to follow a set of strict rules to keep our devices squeaky clean — both inside and out.
Practising good cyber hygiene will protect your digital footprint, which can be thought of as the trail of data you create whilst accessing the internet. Your digital footprint can seriously impact the relationships you hold with those around you and your future job prospects, so you want to be sure that your online behaviour reflects you in the best possible light.
Cyber hygiene, in combination with the use of trustworthy security software, will also protect your private information from being stolen by cybercriminals and reduces the likelihood of you coming into contact with viruses and malware.
It’s a new year; now is the best time to review your cyber hygiene level and identify areas in which you can improve. So, let’s take a trip through common cyber hygiene-related problems and identify top strategies to combat them.
Symptoms of poor cyber hygiene
Maintaining a regular cyber hygiene routine for all of your hardware including mobile phones, computer systems, and connected devices is necessary to ensure smooth and seamless functioning. Poor cyber hygiene typically manifests itself through the following symptoms:
1. Lack of storage
Running out of data storage indicates an immediate need to update your device software. It could also be a sign that your device’s storage is being clogged by useless files — which could include harmful malware and viruses. Clearing your cache can help get rid of such files; consider also setting aside time every few weeks to review your filing system and delete unnecessary items.
2. Loss of data
Loss of data can occur for many reasons — your system can crash, you can forget to click save or your device may be infiltrated by hackers.
Backing up is an essential practice that must be followed to protect your data. Cloud storage is one of the best ways to ensure that your data is backed up and saved, and you can access it from any device.
3. Misplaced files
A poor cyber hygiene routine can cause your files to be misplaced within your device. There are many places for files to be stored in a server, including spam folders where important information can be lost forever.
4. Outdated security software
Updating security software is an essential step to safeguard your device’s cybersecurity. Outdated security software (or worse, none at all) is a serious threat to your overall data security.
Best cyber hygiene practises
Now that the warning signs have been identified, let’s talk about how you can combat poor cyber hygiene and enter the new year confident in your online security practises.
Strategies you should employ to protect yourself online include:
Conducting regular software updates
Performing regular software updates is the most essential and significant aspect of any cyber hygiene routine. To protect you from evolving threats, adequate and updated security software must be installed.
Regularly changing password and pins
Regularly updating your passwords and choosing complex codes that are a combination of uppercase letters, lower case letters, numbers and special characters is an easy thing you can do to protect yourself online.
Using a VPN connection
A virtual private network or VPN connection harnesses protocols, servers, and encryption to protect and hide your location and data from prying eyes. A VPN connection in Australia offers data encryption, which acts as an obstacle for anyone attempting to sneak a look into your online activity or execute a cyberattack.
Also Read: What Is a VPN, and Why Would I Need One?
Performing regular data backup
Backing up your data to cloud storage is non-negotiable when it comes to good cyber hygiene. Doing so reduces the risk that you will lose information through both malware attacks and regular system failures. Apart from cloud storage, hard drives are also a viable backup option.
Confirming installation details
Think of these steps as being similar to taking a daily shower — essential and will leave you feeling confident in the cleanliness of your digital footprint and internet security habits.
Also Read: How VPN Works?