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Date ArticleType
4/14/2020 General
The 8 Steps to Prevent Cybercrime

The 8 steps to prevent you from being a victim of cybercrime while working from home

Over the past decade, cybercrime has been a continually growing threat. While the media often details a story of a large corporation being affected by cybercrime, hackers actually focus most of their efforts on victimizing small businesses and individuals. Now, with so many working from home, hackers have hundreds of thousands of new targets.

Why Working From Home Makes You a Target
Hackers are relying on many working from home to not be engaging proper cyber security measures to prevent unauthorized access to the data on a computer or a network. Without adequate protection from cybercrime, it can be all too easy for hackers and cyber criminals to commit a security breach or identity theft. Thankfully, protecting yourself and your data isn’t difficult — follow these steps to set up a strong defense against cyber criminals when you work from home.

1. Use a Secure WiFi connection
Make sure that your WiFi network is secure and keep access restricted only to your family or other authorized personnel. Create a second Wireless network for IoT Devices and another one for guests when possible.

2. Use a VPN
A virtual private network encrypts all the data sent from your computer to other destinations, ensuring that hackers will be unable to intercept and utilize sensitive information such as usernames and passwords.

3. Use Strong Passwords
Use a strong and different password for each account you access, as well as for your VPN and secure WiFi connection. Strong passwords consist of a series of random capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Use a password manager to organize and keep track of passwords.

4. Use Two-Step Authentication
This is a process by which you first enter a password, and then use a secondary means as gaining access to an account, such as a code sent to your mobile device. This makes it especially difficult for hackers to gain access to one of your accounts and is also a viable ransomware solution.

4. Use Antivirus and Network Security Applications
A major cyber security defense is, of course, antivirus software. It is even better if you opt for a full network security suite, strengthening your firewall and offering constant, real-time protection against hackers, viruses, malware, and spyware.

5. Keep Software Updated
Set your applications to automatically update, and manually update any that don’t as soon as an update becomes available. This is because updates often contain security fixes that protect against newly discovered and developed threats. A cloud-based security program or service will update automatically and instantly, ensuring you are protected from the latest dangers.

6. Be Careful on Social Media
It can be all too easy to put potentially sensitive information on social media if you aren’t careful. Many of the little games and quizzes proliferating on social media sites are actually developed by hackers and identity thieves, and are designed to acquire possible passwords or the answer to common security questions asked by many businesses and organizations.

7. Beware of Phishing Scams
Phishing scams are emails that appear to come from a legitimate company you may have an account with, such as a bank, an Internet provider, or even a government organization such as the IRS. The email often details a matter of urgency, such as your account being closed, or a detected security breach. You are instructed to sign in to your account to fix the problem. Clicking the link in the email takes you to a cleverly designed imitation of the actual website, at which you will enter your username and password, unknowingly giving it to a cyber criminal.

To avoid this type of cyber threat, never click on the link in an email; instead, type the web address directly into your browser’s address bar so that you can be assured you are going to the actual company website. Also be aware that companies will never ask for your username and password in an email. Pay attention to the spelling and grammar in an email — many phishing emails have mistakes.

8. Keep Access to Your Computer Restricted
Do not allow your family to access your computer without permission or supervision, or, at the very least, educate them about cybercrime. A potential threat children may not be aware of is the accidental downloading of malware and spyware via downloads from unsecured sites.
In conclusion, you can significantly reduce the risks of being a victim of cybercrime if you simply engage in the above cyber security measures and remain aware of potential threats on the Internet.

Erick Solms is the Founder of Simplitfy in West Palm Beach, Florida. Simplitfy provides a myriad of professional IT Services for small and medium sized businesses. To contact him personally or to inquire about information technology services, please email esolms@simplitfy.com or visit www.simplitfy.com