Cybersecurity and all that comes with it are just as relevant to individuals as it is to businesses. These days, a simple antivirus program simply isn’t enough. You need to understand some basics of cybersecurity and do what you can to protect the sensitive data and transactions you likely make every day from your computer or smartphone.
However, it’s true that the average person doesn’t have the scale of concerns that a business might have with cybersecurity. So, what is it that regular people need to worry about most? Here’s a look at what cybersecurity means to individuals and how they can protect themselves, their families, and their data with good cybersecurity practices.
What Does a Cybercriminal Want from You, Specifically?
As an individual, you have a lot of value to cybercriminals. Typically, the cybercriminal will want your identity or credentials they can use as if they’re you. With even a little of your personal information, a cybercriminal can do a whole host of things.
Identity theft can lead to you losing access to your accounts online. This can include things like your email or social media. But this can also include far more serious things, such as your access to your medical portal, banking institution, business, or other important portals you use the internet to gain access to.
Losing access is only the start of potential concerns. If someone also uses these services as if they’re you, they can create huge problems in your life.
Cybercriminals want your information. The thief may not want to use the information themselves. They can sell it, auction it, add it to a large database with other stolen credentials and share it. They can also use the information to extort you or they may ransom it for money.
You may also have to deal with people who want to gain access to your systems and devices just to corrupt or destroy your data. As you can see, you face the same potential issues that businesses face.
Which of Your Devices is Most at Risk and Needs Cybersecurity Measures?
Most people know they need at least an antivirus program running on their computer or laptop. The problem is, many people assume that’s enough. A larger problem is that many people don’t think of their other internet-connected devices as things that also need protection.
If a device can access the internet to any degree, then that device can also become a gateway to your network and systems. Did you realize your smartphone requires as much protection as your computer or laptop? It requires more for many people because of the sheer number of things people do on their mobile devices.
Consider that a smartphone connects to multiple networks and systems. Just think about it. Your phone wants to connect to Wi-Fi at your home, in public, and where you work. Smartphones have Bluetooth connectivity, access to networks from your service provider, near-field communication, and more connection methods besides.
And that’s not getting into the sheer amount of sending and receiving done by every individual app on your device. Every single one of these connections can allow malicious code in or sensitive data out.
How Can Individuals Protect Devices and Data from Cybercriminals?
The good news is that various solutions exist to help individuals protect themselves from cybercriminals and the myriad of methods they use to enact their cybercrimes. A lot of cybersecurity starts with common sense protection methods.
Some of the basic measures include:
- Keeping all software updated to the latest version
- Using strong passwords and two-factor authentication (2FA)
- Keeping a backup of your most important data
- Never leaving your devices accessible to others
- Avoiding public Wi-Fi or hotspots when possible (and using them with care when you must)
You should also practice good online habits. Don’t open unfamiliar emails or attachments. Don’t download any shady software. Make sure you’re on the right website or in the right app before doing anything that requires you to submit personal information.
All these good practices go a long way, but you will also need an internet security solution. The days of just needing an antivirus program are far behind. These days you need a premium internet security solution that can cover all your devices.
You want the software to deal with viruses, malware, and other things that can invade your devices. However, you also want a solution that can help with other security measures. For example, many modern internet security solutions include password managers, a VPN, email protection, and privacy protection features.
You may not have the larger concerns of a business, but you have yourself to worry about and any family that shares devices or your network with you. Keep cybersecurity firmly in mind, and make use of the solutions available to you to keep your data safe and your systems free of malfeasance.