Common Cybersecurity Mistakes or Tips
Updated: Nov 23
Cybersecurity is becoming increasingly crucial for everyone, as cyber crime involving theft of private data processes and information, financial scams and phishing leading to lost money, and many other threats and attacks become hyper-prevalent in this new age of technology.
Cybersecurity in This Day and Age
You may have heard of the term Cybersecurity, but what is it exactly? Cybersecurity refers to the application and employment of strategies on the governmental, organizational, and individual levels to combat cyber threats and crime. To protect ourselves against such attacks on our devices, data, and networks, we would have to adhere to certain good practices and controls so that we are kept protected from the multitude of threats in the cyber world.
In the future, the Metaverse is the new world we will all live in – except that it is virtual. Cyber attacks directed toward you in the Metaverse and the virtual applications that power this virtual world would be able to gain access to all your movements and personal information in the digital sphere. This could lead to severe and uncontrollable outcomes, including malware or hackers gaining access and control to your accounts and passwords, digital impersonation, and stealing your money, private information, and even identity.
Now, more than ever, protecting one’s digital identity is of utmost importance, since an increasing amount of private information becomes interconnected digitally.
Cyber crimes could be large-scale and involve major money. In 2021, hackers from ransomware group REvil got a hold of data files from PC manufacturer Acer, and demanded $50 million dollars for a universal decryptor to unlock and get back their files. However, ransomware and cyber attacks could also happen to the individual in many malicious ways, such as extortion or phishing. Prospective victims who click on a phishing link open up ways for scammers and hackers to obtain large amounts of personal information on an individual, leading to theft and further attacks.
The risks are great, the consequences are severe. So how should we deal with this problem? Read on for some recommendations and resources you could utilize in order to maximize your digital security and prevent cyber attacks from happening to you.
Safeguarding Your Identity and Assets With An Encryption Key
Digital theft of cryptocurrency is commonplace, and with the growing prevalence of cryptocurrency and digital currencies, it makes it all the more essential to follow some precautionary measures in order to protect our digital assets.
As cryptocurrency is stored in a wallet, the best way to protect your currency is to ensure that your wallet has maximum security. Many wallets and platforms do have 2FA options, but did you know that an SMS 2-FA is not as safe as you may think?
A SIM swap is a method that some hackers use to gain access to your information and wallet full of currencies. How does it work? When a hacker gains access to databases or simply your login credentials of the account you used for the e-wallet, they may call your phone company and transfer your number over to theirs. Via this method, they would be able to get past all the security barriers and successfully gain entry to your account.
A tip that we have to avoid the risks associated with using SMS as your 2FA would be to use YubiKey, a rock-solid and yet accessible way for individuals and corporations alike to safeguard their data, as well as wallet. YubiKey, developed by the company Yubico, is a physical device for authentication, which adds an extra layer of security and protection for you.
Have An Overview and Keep Track of All Your Passwords Securely
One of the most frequently preached tips you would have heard before is to always use different passwords for different online services and accounts that you use. The rationale behind this is to prevent hackers from gaining control of all your accounts after successfully hacking and accessing one.
It does sound like a good idea. But both you and I are probably thinking the same thing – with so many accounts and passwords to remember, how would we ever keep track of them? If we forget all of our passwords, we risk being locked out of our own accounts, which is an even worse outcome.
Well, password management sites are here to the rescue! There are many to choose from, such as 1Password and LastPass. These password management sites offer extremely high security by syncing with various security applications to provide you with the best security for all your passwords. They also allow you to store your passwords securely in their vault so that you can keep all your passwords in one place, so you don’t forget any of them.
Protecting Your Digital Identity and Activity
All online activity can be easily tracked. In this day and age, where a greater proportion of our lives are spent online, our digital privacy becomes even more at risk. In order to better circumvent governments, businesses, and malicious hackers or software from gaining access to our digital activity and identities, it is recommended to use a VPN, or virtual private network, whenever we browse the web and conduct any online activity.
In simple terms, using a VPN helps to mask your online identity and activity, so that your private information, such as your browsing history and passwords are not sent to the network or server that is hosting it, for example, public Wi-Fi. It is particularly important, especially when accessing private information like your banking accounts, or when remotely accessing work files, and avoiding exposure of such sensitive information to malware is of absolute importance.
If our data is collected by the network or internet service providers, which happens when we are not connected to a VPN, this puts us users at immense risk and a position of vulnerability. The data could always be leaked or breached due to malicious hackers or malware. Even if there is no data breach, such data may sometimes be sold by networks and service providers legally to businesses and advertisers, even without your consent.
Some of the VPN providers which offer top-notch security and layers of encryption include NordVPN and ExpressVPN. For a small monthly fee, you could equip yourself with an extra layer of protection and defence against potential attacks against you in the cyber world.
Ensuring Wallet and NFT Collection Security
The popularity of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) grew explosively in 2021, with many, including celebrities, buying into the trend and making NFTs an even hotter topic. NFT owners need to take precautions and follow best practices to protect their NFT collections.
The most essential step in protecting your NFT collection is to protect your wallet’s seed phrase, a private string of words that gives someone access to his or her cryptocurrency wallet. If hackers gain access to this seed phrase of the wallet, they would be able to steal the NFT owners’ holdings.
In order to prevent this occurrence, many use hardware or cold storage wallets which are considered more secure. How do they work? Well, whenever a user wants to sell their holdings or buy new ones to add to their wallet collection, they would require the hardware wallet to be in hand, making it harder for digital theft by hackers. It is important to store your wallet seed phrase offline, as Internet-facing seed phrases can be extremely prone to compromise.
Take Charge of Your Cybersecurity Now
Protect yourself now, against all sorts of cyber threats in the virtual world. Many of them, like fraud, theft of credentials and digital identities, and phishing, could lead to severe outcomes and cause major losses to you. Whether at an organizational or individual level, no one is free from this risk and the responsibility to take charge of your digital security is yours. With cyber crime on the rise, it is time to safeguard yourself from all these harms in the digital world.
In line with the ever-changing digital era, it is important to keep up with the latest knowledge in this new generation of the internet. Learn more about the upcoming Web 3.0 by attending ‘Diving into the Metaverse’ and ‘Understanding DAO’ courses occurring at SMU on 10th February 2023 and 1st February 2023 respectively.