Improve Your Defenses Against A Cyber-Attack With This 5-Point Guide To Online Security

Here’s how you can prevent yourself from being a victim of cybercrime.

The Department of Justice, in its latest Cybercrime Report, recorded a total of 614 cybercrime incidents from January to December of 2014. It’s an alarming increase from 2013, when the Philippine National Police (PNP) – Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) tallied only 288 incidents of online theft.

“Cyberespionage attacks or intellectual property theft is considered as the major threat that increasingly hits the manufacturing sectors as well as small businesses,” says the report. “Consumers [also] remain vulnerable to ransomware and mobile threats.”

And now that everything we do more or less involves the Internet, how do we keep our personal information away from hackers’ hands? We’ve listed a few ways to help you improve your defenses.

1. Use stronger passwords for all of your accounts.

Nine times out of ten, you’re using the same password for your email, social media accounts, and other applications. And chances are, your password is a combination of words and numbers that are relevant to your life. If you’re guilty of this, it’s about time you jumbled your password-formulating habits. These types of passwords can be easily be cracked with a little keyboard tinkering and social engineering. Try to be more random—you can play around with a string of alphanumeric numbers with the help of a randomizer—and memorize your passwords by heart. For a complete list of the kinds of passwords to avoid, check out this list by Time magazine.

2. Pick a trusted password manager.

The thing is, you just can’t trust your feeble brain to memorize multiple passwords. Fortunately for all of us, password managers exist. PC Magazine has compiled a list of the best password managers. They all come at a price, but it’s better to pay a little than lose all of your money, isn’t it?

See related topic: (Online Shopping Tips: Your Guide to Savings and Security)


3. Protect your offline data too.

To protect your offline data, you need to be wary of one thing: paper trail. If you want to avoid criminals from getting their hands on your financial records, you need to dispose of them properly either by shredding or burning. If you want to keep them for filing, you need to look for a proper storage at home that cannot be easily accessed. Think of a simple vault or a locked storage area in your house. Limit access to your files as much as possible.

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4. Change your online habits.

Do you love clicking on enticing ads and subscribing your email to different websites? Is your Facebook connected to a lot of websites when you’re too lazy to log in? These can be linked to your financial data. These are possible leads that crooks can work on. Be more careful when it comes to your online behavior. Never access your banking accounts on public computers or WiFi networks since there a chance people are snooping on your browsing activity. Be extra vigilant whenever, wherever you go online.

5. Spread the word about online security.

Not to thieves, but to your friends. Keep your squad aware of this vital information. The less vulnerable people there are, the less hackers can siphon from people. And once everyone fortifies their security, online criminals will be discouraged and hopefully drop their act for good. Think about herd immunity: more people proactively protecting themselves means better protection for everyone. –Dino Mari Testa