14 Currents Tips for Safe Online Shopping Anywhere

Today, millions of people shop online across the world. There are several reasons why people love shopping online. First, online shopping allows customers to bargain. Second, it is easier to select goods or services online. Third, it is safer. This is especially true during the COVID 19 pandemic. Fourth, online shopping is fast. For most people, online shopping is easier. More importantly, it is convenient.

But online shopping comes with some challenges. According to the FBI, online shopping increases opportunities for cybercrimes. This involves two crimes. First, some people don’t pay for delivered goods. Second, some people don’t deliver the purchased goods or services.

The challenges of online shopping can scare you. But the advantages are more. So, you need to stay calm. With the following tips, you can shop online safely.

14 Tips for Safe Online Shopping

1. Use familiar websites

A search for online shops will give you several results. If you trust any site, you are more likely to be conned. You need to find a familiar website. You can even ask friends for referrals. A familiar site is less likely to rip you off. For example, you may start with Amazon.com. You must be familiar with this website. If not, you must know some other online shops. Ensure that you visit the right site. Some people use similar names with top shops. For example, you may find Amazon.net. If you are not careful, such people can trick you. The fake sites can even offer cheaper prices. But you must avoid these offers. Chances are that they will not deliver what you purchase.

2. Ensure there is a lock

Find a secure online shop. Their website should have a lock. The site should have an installed secure socket layer (SSL) encryption. How can you tell if a site has SSL? First, the URL will start with HTTPS. This is a standard requirement for all sites. Unsecure sites will start with HTTP. Second, you will see an image of a locked pad. Normally, this will appear before the URL. A lack of these two elements should be a red flag. Avoid using your credit card on such sites.

3. Do not overshare personal data

To avoid being conned, keep personal data private. Online shopping does not need your birthday or social security number. If they ask for more details, consider it an alarm. Scammers need more personal data to steal from you. Just give little personal info. Even if you know a site, be careful. Scammers are everywhere. If they ask for more data, pose. Ask yourself why they would need that data.

4. Use Blur

Blur is an online privacy solution. It ensures that you shop online without revealing personal data. For example, Abine’s blur acts as a password manager. For less than $40 a year, you shop online with hidden personal data. This means that you don’t reveal contacts, emails, or credit card numbers.

5. Create strong passwords

Shopping online requires you to create an account. This account will need a password. If you use a weak password, scammers will crack it. Then, they can use this opportunity to steal from you. This is the reason you need a stronger password. This doesn’t mean that they won’t crack it. But at least they will have a harder time. Consider using a password manager. It will help in creating a password that they may not crack.

6. Check your statements often

The risk of fraudulent behaviors online is too high. So, stay alert always. Don’t take too long before checking your online transactions. Keep checking your accounts. Ensure that there are no unknown transactions. Scammers have many tricks to get to your money. You must ensure that they don’t get to steal your hard-earned money. Be alert even if you find charges from sites such as Venmo or PayPal.

It is also advisable that you use a credit card to shop online. A compromised debit card can land you in more trouble. Scammers can use it to access your funds in the back. Also, be alert with sellers that use payment systems like wired money. Such sellers are more likely to con you.

In case you find a problem, call relevant authorities immediately. It is good to solve any issue as soon as possible. For most banks, you only have 30 days to address a problem. After this period, you may have to be liable for the transactions.

7. Install an antivirus program

Thieves are smart. They also know you are smart. They know you may not give them more personal data. This is the reason they will try to out-smart you. They will do something that will help get your data. For example, they can launch phishing attacks. They can also use spam to steal your info. This can do this by copying a message that looks legit. Luckily, an antivirus program can help. Install the program to protect against malware. Keep it up to date. Without regular updates, an antivirus may not be helpful. It may not protect you from new threats. Being safe is better than having to deal with scammers.

8. Protect your WI-FI

You can find many free public hotspots. For example, you can find a free WI-FI at Starbucks. Well, you can use this public hotspot to shop online. Some of these free WI-FI can be trusted. The problem is that most of them cannot be trusted. They make it easy for scammers to access your data. To be safe, consider using a virtual private network (VPN).

9. Avoid online shopping in public

It may be tempting to shop online in public when you have your laptop. But did you know this is not safe! Imagine doing all this in a public café;

  • Entering your credit card number
  • Entering the expiration date
  • Entering your 3-digit code

Doing all this in public is unsafe. It gives a scammer enough time to get your info. If you have to shop in public, find a strategic place. This will reduce the risk of exposing personal data. The best option is doing online shopping at home. This is safer.

10. Think mobile devices

Legit online shop offer apps you can use to do online shopping. When you select an online shop, check the online shopping app. Download and install it on your mobile phone. Use this app to visit the store and shop directly. This reduces the chances of being conned.

11. Pay via your phone

Today, paying for online shopping is easier. You don’t have to use a credit card. You can simply use your smartphone. You just need a mobile payment app. More places are accepting phone-based payments. This means you don’t have to carry your credit card. Apps like Apple Pay offer a safe phone payment system. You can also download and use Google Pay. What are you waiting for? Get yourself a phone payment app. Let’s avoid scammers who are always after our credit cards. You can do online shopping without the fear of losing your money.

12. Be careful with gift cards

Gift cards create a good opportunity for scammers to steal from you. This is the reason you must be very careful. You will find scammers auctioning off gift cards on different sites. Some gift card exchanges are good. They let you exchange your gift for a better one.  But don’t trust everyone. Some will exchange your card for others with no value.

13. Find out about the seller

Before you do online shopping, find out more about the seller. Try and read reviews. Read as many reviews as possible. See what customers are saying. If you only find positive reviews, be careful. This should be a red flag. At least, you should find some negative reviews. No one can be too perfect.

Apart from online reviews, get some contact info. Find a real address. Also, get a working telephone number. This can help when things go wrong. For example, you can call the seller if you don’t get your order. You can also make a complaint through the physical address.

If you doubt a site, find more about it. If you have ever been tricked you know how it hurts. Just take time before you pay for any product. Some people out there are always ready to cheat others. Don’t fall into their trap. Be smart.

14. Complain and report scammers

What happens if you are scammed? First, don’t be ashamed. We all make mistakes. Take this as an opportunity to know more about online shopping. Second, talk to the seller. Complain about the failed deal. If you are not satisfied, report to the relevant authorities. You can even report to the FBI. This will work better if you do online shopping on US sites. If you are scammed in foreign sites, it may be harder to follow. Good luck.

Understanding the Basics of Cyber Security for Small Businesses

Cyber attacks are a part of the many risks online business owners face. It is estimated that cybercriminals will steal 33 billion records by 2023.

Therefore, businesses of all sizes must understand and practice cybersecurity. Even knowing only the basics of how to protect your website and its data is an effective prevention of potential cyberattacks.

With that in mind, let us discuss the basics of cybersecurity along with best practices to implement for your business. 

Cyber Security Risks for Small Businesses

Before implementing the cybersecurity strategies, let us go through the common cybersecurity risks. After all, it is essential to understand what kind of potential attacks you will be defending against.

Common cyber threats for online businesses include:

  • Malicious code. It falls under malware and is also called malicious software. Malicious code can attack your computer and access sensitive information by disguising itself as legitimate links sent via email.
  • Unsecured wireless internet networks. Compared to a wired connection, wireless networks are more prone to cyberattacks. Hackers can easily access unsecured wireless networks to steal sensitive data, like login information or intellectual property.
  • Security breaches. Breaches can happen through several scenarios, like carelessness or lack of knowledge. However, the most common cause is employees forgetting to sign out of their work or personal devices.
  • Phishing attacks. This type of attack includes pretending to be a legitimate business and attempting to take users’ information, like phone numbers, addresses, or credit card numbers. Unfortunately, phishing attacks have become more sophisticated with the disguise, so it is important to look at them seriously.

7 Basic Protection Strategies Against Cyber Attacks

These seven basic protection strategies combined can improve your cybersecurity a lot. They’re relatively simple to implement and can make a massive difference in the security of your website.

1. Choose a Secure Hosting Provider

A secure hosting provider increases not only website quality but also its security. But, most importantly, it protects your system and all of its essential information.

Standard security features good hosting plans include are SSL certificates, firewalls, DDoS prevention, malware detection, and user access management.

However, these features depend on the hosting provider you pick. So make sure to compare and choose one that includes everything your website needs. 

One example to consider is Hostinger, which offers hosting plans starting from $1.39 to $3.99/month. Its plans come with robust security features and other great benefits your website may need.

2. Update Your Software

Cybersecurity can be as simple as regularly updating your software. By constantly using the latest software version, you make sure all previously found security loopholes are patched up, and the software is safe.

This is because updates fix and remove bugs. They also include crucial patches to improve security and remove outdated features. In addition to security, by regularly updating your software, you also maintain the website quality.

Whenever possible, always enable automatic updates. Doing so will ensure that you’re always up to date. For plugins or software with manual updates, always check the developers for any software information.

3. Train Employees

Doing security training on your employees helps bring awareness of potential cyber threats and educates them of what they can do to prevent them. The training can include phishing basics, information security, and other cybersecurity measures your business may need.

The point of security training is for the employees to protect themselves and their workplace by taking the safest measures when browsing, logging in to apps, and sharing personal information.

The key to successful employee security training is the planning process. Some of the methods are:

  • Research the latest cybersecurity threats and solutions before presenting them to the employees.
  • Plan and schedule the training sessions to fit the employee’s preferences.
  • Use the suitable tools and techniques for the training.
  • Ensure all employees follow the training protocols when attacks happen.

4. Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are one of the most straightforward but most efficient cybersecurity efforts to make. They make it more complicated to hack into the company systems, improving the overall security of your business.

Strong passwords consist of different characters, symbols, and numbers. The longer your password is, the better it protects against hacking and brute force attacks.

Test your passwords and improve them if needed. Alternatively, use a password generator to create strong combinations. Afterward, manage your passwords by using tools like LastPass or print them out for extra safekeeping.

5. Install Antivirus Software

Antivirus software works by detecting and expelling viruses from the computer and also prevents future attacks. Without antivirus, your system is unprotected, making it very vulnerable.

Research existing antivirus software and choose the one that suits your needs. Check the user reviews and create a free trial account if possible to understand the software better. If it meets your expectations, create an account and make the payment.

6. Back Up Files Regularly

Similar to software updates, regular file backups prevent data loss and secures your latest files. Additionally, you always have a copy of your files if a cyber attack happens.

Fortunately, most hosting providers offer automatic backup daily, weekly, or monthly so you can avoid the hassle of doing them manually.

However, if you prefer to backup manually, do it via the control panel from your hosting provider. WordPress users can also use plugins like UpdraftPlus and VaultPress.

7. Use Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a method where users must enter their credentials on at least two separate systems in order to log in. These extra credentials can be your phone number, fingerprints, voice recognition, or authentication code via SMS text message.

Naturally, MFA is stronger than two-factor authentication and can adapt to changing workplaces – at the office or home.

Enabling MFA depends on the devices and software or app you’re using. Therefore, check the MFA tutorials for each platform before the activation.

Conclusion

As cybercrimes rise, understanding basic cybersecurity becomes more crucial. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple and practicable basic security measures that you and your employees can take to protect your business.

This article covered seven essential cybersecurity tips, ranging from choosing the right hosting provider to enabling multi-factor authentication.

Implement these seven tips as soon as possible to secure your business and its data. Good luck!

Why a Masters in Cybersecurity Could be Right for You

There are many reasons why gaining a degree in cyber security could be a great fit for you. This is a challenging career with lots of potential for advancement, and you will always be learning new things. If you are already working in a similar field and want to move your career into a cyber security role, boost your existing skills or add to your qualifications, taking a cyber security degree online could help you do this. Furthermore, there is the option to study this course even if you don’t have coding experience or previous information science qualifications. Therefore you could work towards a cyber security role with little prior experience. Whatever your level of experience or qualifications, a cyber security degree that you take online could help you achieve your career aims and propel you to working in higher-level positions.

What is Cyber Security?

First things first, it is important to understand what cyber security is. In general, cyber security is the practice of protecting networks and computer systems, such as devices, software, or servers, from data theft and malicious attacks. Cyber security is essential in many industries, and you will be performing many roles and duties. There are several categories into which the types and roles of cyber security experts fall, such as:

  • Operational security – This is concerned with handling and protecting data assets, and the processes and decisions that help this happen.
  • End-user education – In order to reduce the risk of viruses being accidentally introduced to secure systems through human error, cyber security experts train and educate individuals in order to prevent this from happening.
  • Network security – This is concerned with securing computer networks.
  • Application security – Focuses on keeping software and devices free from threats.

An online cyber security degree will give you an understanding of many types of cyber security, software and techniques that are used in the industry, as well as simulated real-life experiences in order to put these newly learnt skills into practice and help get you ready for the workplace.

What is the Masters in Cybersecurity?

The masters in cybersecurity is an online cyber security degree that can be completed 100% online in under 18 months. It will give you the skills and experience to work in various cyber security roles in different industries, as well as allowing you more control over your learning environment and the pace at which you work. There are no GRE/GMAT requirements, and you can begin learning as soon as you are accepted. There are numerous modules covering a range of areas, including Foundations of Cyber Security, Ethical Hacking, Penetration Testing, Data Mining for Cyber Security, Risk Management and System Hardening and Protection, Enterprise Security and Machine Learning with Applications in Cybersecurity.

If you do not have previous coding experience or experience in computer or information science, then you can still study the online cyber security degree. There is the opportunity to complete a Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security, which is a 6-month course that will provide you with the basics and background knowledge required to then undertake the online cyber security degree. You will also have the opportunity to work with industry professionals and put your new skills to the test in hands-on interactive experiences. The online cyber security degree is also partnered with the EC-Council and CISCO Academy and will help you prepare to become certified.

Is It For You?

This course is mainly aimed at systems engineers, security specialists, networkers, and software developers who would like to move their careers into a more cyber security-focused role. However, it also available to be studied by those without previous computer or information science experience and qualifications, as you can undertake the Graduate Certificate that will give you the foundational knowledge required to complete the masters.

The online cyber security degree will prepare you with the professional and personal skills you will need to succeed in these roles. There are many traits and characteristics that will help you in this field, and they include:

• Teamwork and communication

As a cyber security specialist, you will be working with individuals or organizations and may also be working across different departments. You need to be able to collaborate with others in order to achieve common goals and find the most appropriate solutions. Furthermore, good communication and presentation skills are essential, as you may be educating employees, speaking with many people who may not have the same level of understanding as you, and also conveying complex technical ideas and methods.

• Willingness to learn

The digital world is always evolving, and so are the threats that could damage a company or individual. Therefore, you need to be constantly willing to learn and absorb new information, regardless of your position or how long you have been in the role. Keeping up to date with the latest ideas and technology will keep you and those you are working for at the forefront of cyber security, using the latest tech and methods to keep them safe.

• Leadership

You will often be working as part of a team and leading one. Many cyber security experts move into leadership roles, leading teams, planning and organizing, and motivating your team in order to achieve the best results. You will also have to communicate and collaborate with your own superiors in order to deliver the best services possible.

• Problem-solving

The majority of cyber security revolves around solving problems, so these skills will have to be developed within yourself in order to do this. As well as problem-solving, you will also have to have great critical thinking and decision-making skills in order to decide on the best solutions for the situation and implement them efficiently.

There are many great skills that you will gain and develop over the course of your online cyber security degree that will help prepare you to work in a variety of interesting and important roles. You may already have many of these traits and just need some guidance as to how to apply them in the new situations your new cyber security role may present you with.

Career Outcomes of a Masters in Cybersecurity

The online cyber security degree will prepare you to work in a range of roles in different industries and give you the opportunity to explore your strengths. This can help you decide on the kind of role you would like to work in when you have graduated. A few of the potential cyber security roles include:

  • Cryptographer – This role involves developing algorithms, ciphers, and security systems in order to provide privacy for individuals and organizations.
  • Penetration tester – Also known as ethical hacking, this is the process of evaluating the security of a computer system using an authorized simulated cyberattack.
  • Security engineer – This role focuses on designing computer systems that can handle disruptions, maintaining the systems, and planning for potential future security issues with the aim of preventing them.
  • Security director – This is a leadership role that involves planning and developing security training programs for members of the security, ensuring that they are aware of the most up-to-date ideas and developments.

There are many different roles and positions within the cyber security industry, and the online cyber security degree can help you explore the options that are available to you and the areas in which you are passionate.

Choosing to Study Online or Not?

If you are ready to take the next step and apply for a course, then you might be wondering whether you should study online or not.

Think about Your Location

Your physical location can have an impact on the kinds of courses that are available to you if you plan on studying in person. If your local institutions do not offer the courses that you want or need, then you may be forced to choose something else or not further your education at all. An online cyber security degree can give you access to a high level of education from the comfort of your own home, at any time that works for you. This is particularly useful if you do not enjoy learning in a physical classroom environment, as having more control over the area you learn in can help you absorb information more efficiently.

Top Tip: When preparing yourself to work and learn from home, you should create a productive study environment and learn more about the way in which your mind works.

Costs

Being a student can be very expensive, and this can put a lot of people off studying for their dream career. From travel to accommodation, tuition fees to textbooks, the financial requirements of a degree can really add up and make it seem unviable. However, an online cyber security degree can allow you to study whilst reducing or removing some of these costs. The course is competitively priced, and you may also be eligible for financial support and student discounts. When you study online, you will not have to commute to classes daily or rent campus accommodation, which are two of the largest costs that students face. Furthermore, being able to study at home allows you to work and maintain your current job, fitting your studies around your prior commitments and continuing to earn money.

Is Online Learning Right for You?

The online cyber security degree is perfect for those who want more control and flexibility when it comes to their studies. This is because it is taught 100% online, which provides you with the opportunity to fit the course around the rest of your life. There are numerous benefits to studying online, from saving money to learning at home, and there are further benefits for furthering your education and completing a masters. Often, job applicants with masters degrees can apply for higher-level jobs, which usually come with higher salaries. A masters degree shows that you have a genuine interest and passion in the subject and are keen to continue learning more. Furthermore, a masters degree gives you access to education, resources, and industry professionals that can boost your career and that you may not get to interact with outside of an educational scenario.

What Can You Do to Prepare?

If you have decided that an online course is the right decision, there are several things you can do to help in preparation for the start of your course.

Soft skills

The online cyber security degree will arm you with plenty of technical knowledge and skills, but it will also allow you to develop your soft skills by learning online. To ensure that you have the most success with this during your course, you can always start to build on your soft skills now.

Soft skills are non-technical skills that help you stand out in the workplace and are looked upon favorably by employers. Specific soft skills are very useful for cyber security specialists, such as communication, problem-solving, attention to detail, and teamwork, but they are all useful in a range of industries and positions. The benefit of this is that you will also have practical examples to give to employers during an interview of times when you have utilized these skills.

Learning style

The online cyber security degree is designed for those with prior commitment, such as jobs or a family, who want to fit their education around this. It is a flexible and accessible course that allows you to work at your own pace and at times that suit you. If you find a physical learning environment too overwhelming or simply not have the time and availability to attend in person lectures full time, then this could be an ideal alternative. An online cyber security degree can give you a high level of education that can be adapted to your lifestyle, previous experience and schedule. However, it can be difficult to motivate yourself at times. This is why it is crucial that in preparation, you understand what type of learner you are and how to implement learning techniques that work best for you. This is really important in cyber security, as you will constantly have to learn and absorb new information in the workplace.

Starting Your New Career

An online cyber security degree is a valuable addition to your resume and can help you grow both personally and professionally. You will learn plenty of new skills, as well as expanding on existing ones, in order to make you a confident and capable individual upon graduation. Whether you are looking to move your career in a new direction or have very little experience in information science, there are ways to make the online cyber security degree work for you, preparing you for a rewarding and challenging career in a growing industry.

Identity Theft: This Biggest Threat of the Century

Identity theft is a billion-dollar industry and is rightly considered one of the biggest threats to your security and wellbeing, but if we are honest, how much do we really know about it and are you doing enough to prevent it from happening to you?

The answer to those two questions, if you are being honest, would probably be a resounding negative, but it’s time to take this threat very seriously indeed.

In 2018 over 16 million Americans were the victim of some form of identity theft, and this level of threat has steadily increased year upon year. Indeed, the cost of this breach of our personal security amassed almost $20 billion by 2018 and the signs are that this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Clearly in 2021, and for the foreseeable future, our level of online activity is only growing and the use of our computers and mobile devices for key financial uses will only increase and as it does, so invariably do the ways in which criminals will seek to profit.

What is Identity Theft?

In simple terms, identity theft is the practice of an individual being the victim of some level of illegality resulting in the use of their identity to procure financial gain.

Typically this would entail an ID thief securing relevant banking details needed to raid your accounts and this can happen in a myriad of ways, most commonly being carried out virtually via access to key information online.

What’s the Worst That Can Happen?

It would be fair to say that far too many people either don’t view the threat of identity theft highly enough or feel that any such occurrence would be low-level and easily dealt with by either law enforcement or your banking provider.

Sadly, this isn’t a fair characterization of the potential pitfalls.

While in the past, and still today, ID theft can come from offline means (such as a criminal stealing your wallet or seeing you enter your pin codes at an ATM), a far more common occurrence is online.

Phishing

Phishing occurs when cybercriminals send you what appear to be genuine communications and links to what appear to be ‘actual’ sites/banks but turn out to be sophisticated duplicates, they then mine your account information and before you can even report what appears to be dubious, your accounts have been cleaned out.

Hacking Your Internet or Wi-Fi Signal

Another common ‘trick’ used by cybercriminals is the act of hacking into your internet supply, accessing your browsing history and looking to secure relevant saved passwords or recording your keystrokes, all with the end goal of getting hold of the key information that will complete the ID theft.

Malware and Data Breaches

The use of malware; which is essentially software designed specifically with the intention of hacking your device, sometimes wrapped up in the ‘apparent’ guise of being a genuine form of virus protection, is growing and you need to do all your can to protect yourself from such an attack.

There are a raft of legitimate virus protection services, far more than we can appropriately cover in one article, but the upshot is this, you need to be running one of these permanently on any device you use to access important information. Failing to do so is basically issuing an open invite to hackers.

Another form of access that breeds ID theft are data breaches, i.e. the act of an entire company or services data by an illicit party, and this isn’t something that you can personally do much to prevent, other than perhaps keeping yourself aware of which banks and financial services offer the most protection.

Can I Stop It from Happening to Me?

Yes you can. There are many ways to keep yourself protected and a lot of these resolve around using common sense. Whether that means keeping your access to important information to just one device (and not in public) or avoiding communication with any parties that appear even slightly dubious.

Virus Protection

When it comes to protecting yourself, start by protecting your computers and devices, making sure to use the relevant protection for the specific model/software. If you are looking for the right way to do so, try to compare between the id theft options that are covered by each service. Do the relevant research and always err on the side of caution when doing so as the threat, and repercussions of, identity theft are serious enough to warrant the need to go that extra mile to prevent such fraudulent activity..

Be Aware, Be Cautious, Be Smart

On the subject of being cautious. That should be a maxim you follow across the board. Think twice before clicking on any link sent to you, avoid accessing any service that you didn’t specifically search for yourself.

Don’t engage in communication relating to your personal details with anyone, especially when in relation to phone calls that were not solicited. Think of these details as akin to the nuclear codes. I.e. there is no need to mention them at all, to anyone, failure to adhere to such a mindset could well have explosive repercussions.

6 Ways To Perfectly Secure Yourself Online

Online security is no joke. More and more of our data is being stolen, bought, then sold by hackers and big corporations alike. In this day and age, data about us is even more valuable than the products we are purchasing, as it allows companies to learn about their target market. 

Online vulnerabilities also mean that your credit card information, address, family names, and more are sometimes leaked to hackers. This is dangerous, as identity theft becomes more common online, leading to loss of finance and other nasty things. With all that in mind, below we have six tips for helping you stay secure online. 

1. Use A VPN

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are handy little tools for keeping yourself secure online. In fact, it’s the first thing that Josh, an online security blogger over at All Things Secured recommends. He says that “After using a VPN for the last decade to access the internet, I can safely say it’s one of the key tools needed to protect your identity online.” VPNs create a secure connection – which could be anywhere else in the world – to mask your actual IP address, location, and web traffic. This means that many experienced hackers won’t even be able to tell where you are logging on to the net from, or what you are looking at. This is, therefore, such a great way of protecting your data.

2. Password Managers

One of the biggest issues with personal security online is the use of simple, repeated passwords. Using a maiden name, a row of numbers, or a simple word from your life is simply not secure enough. Instead, we are recommended to use combinations of letters, numbers, and special characters. 

Many secure passwords look something like “xpV9s-4jKwW-2azxp-9l2L5”. This is obviously super hard to remember. However, with a password manager app, you can store all these complicated passwords behind either a face ID, thumbprint, or another special password only you know. This means your passwords are secure and you can never forget them. The app can also track any data breaches your password may have been exposed to.

3. Double-Blind Password Storage

To take this to the next level, you could even use double-blind storage. By this, we mean that you don’t even store the full password in your password manager app. You always replace the last few characters with a special code only you know. In the example from above, the last few keys recorded would be “-9l” leaving the “2L5” in one place only: your brain. This works if you change all passwords to end with the same special key, so even your app doesn’t have full records of your passwords.

4. Use Two-Factor Authentication

A two-factor authentication is a clever tool where you will need to prove your identity on two devices before being allowed to log onto an app or into an account. This works by linking devices such as tablets, laptops, and phones to one account. Then, if you try to log in somewhere new, a message will pop up saying that you need to validate this login attempt on one of your other devices. The system will then either provide you with a code to enter, a call to verify, or simply a yes/no button to push on your other device, validating that it is you and you trust this login attempt.

5. Identity Monitoring

There are also apps that can help track your identity. Again, these apps themselves are hyper-secured, so there’s little-to-no risk of data breaches here. These apps will track the internet for traces of your personal data being used in any fraudulent or malicious way, alerting you if they find such activity. This means any breaches or sales of your personal data can be caught and hopefully stopped in their tracks.

6. Secure Email

Believe it or not, many of our favorite and most-used email providers have suffered security breaches. In 2019, for example, it was discovered that 770 million email addresses and passwords had been exposed –crazy numbers! So, how do you know if your email is secure? Well, you just have to find out! Different email companies have different encryption and security standards. These can differ quite wildly. But, for most users, any of the main email account companies, such as Gmail, will be secure enough if you take advantage of their advanced protection settings.

These are our top six tips for staying secure online, all of which can be worked on from today. There is no need to delay in getting started on these, as your personal data is very important and valuable. Get secure online ASAP.

Expert Tips for Choosing the Right VPN

A VPN can be used for a variety of reasons, from use within your personal/home life, to use within your business and work life. No two VPN providers offer the same packages and because of this, it can make your decision a little more tricky. Choosing a VPN needs to be done once you have researched the market and once you have established exactly what it is that you want. If you are not aware of what is out there then it is wise to browse the market first and foremost. Once you have done browsing you will be able to compile a list of must-haves. So, what must-haves do you need – Is speed important, is server location essential?

How To Get The Right VPN – The Considerations

With a VPN provider, there are lots of other things you still need to consider. From cost and coverage to reliability and usability. With so many choices out there it can feel a little bit overwhelming so it is best to use VPNBrains who can, and will narrow down your choices to ensure that you get the right VPN for your personal use and business use. Comparing providers ensures you get the best value for money too! In addition to comparing providers you can also establish which VPN is right for you by considering the following:

Security And Protection On Offer

Not all VPNs offer the same level of security. For example, some cannot guarantee top-level security in certain countries. If security is one of the main reasons you want to use a VPN, for example, you want to use a public or shared computer but you don’t want to share your data and information, or, you want to browse websites with added security behind you then it is crucial you check the VPNs security offer. If they don’t highlight how good their security offering is then it is probably best to look elsewhere.

Price Monthly Or Annually

If affordability is a consideration you need to think about how you can pay and when you can pay. Some providers only accept PayPal or Payoneer. Is this right for you and your lifestyle. Some providers demand an annual subscription – Can you afford this. Price consideration is important as paying month by month can also end up costing you more in the long run. It is also wise to track prices for a few days as lots of well-known VPN providers change their prices, even by a few cents every so often to attract new custom.

Reviews and Recommendations

What other users are saying and how they are reacting to a brand is important. Pay attention to the customer service that they provide, and pay attention to how quickly issues get resolved. For example, if you have an issue will they resolve it quickly or will you be paying full subscription costs for a while until they can be bothered to rectify any issues you may be experiencing. Some reviews can be fake and malicious, so it is important to have your guard up when using reviews. Also, on the flip side, there can be fake reviews stating how good a VPN is, when it is a load of rubbish, so watch out for this too. Doing due diligence and utilizing a few recommendation and review websites will ensure that you don’t get caught out.

Usage Within Your Country

This sounds simple enough right, but in reality, not all VPNs work in your country or provide adequate servers for you to use. Choice and selection are important when choosing a VPN. Everyone deserves a good selection for their subscription price and if you are not getting it, or you are not going to get it within your country then look for another provider. If a provider offers limited coverage within your country of use then you will quickly be left feeling frustrated and annoyed. Coverage and quality are important especially when purchasing annual subscriptions so always check the terms and conditions before signing up and parting with any money, and, of course, don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as possible.

A few days of research and use of comparison websites should be all that you need to ensure you choose the right VPN provider for you. Remember to ensure the site is legitimate and authentic before paying for any services as there are lots of fakes out there who look very similar to the real thing, and once you have parted with your money it can be very difficult to reclaim, so, always ensure you use real and trusted sites no matter what.

8 Cyber Security Best Practices For Your Small Business

There is a dangerously incorrect mindset that is common amongst small business owners and that is the idea that they are virtually immune to cybercriminals on account of there being ‘not much to steal’.

The reality is that, according to the U.S. Congressional Small Business Committee, 71% of cyber attacks occur upon businesses with fewer than 100 employees. More concerning still, is that a State of SMB CyberSecurity Report found that as much as 50% of all small businesses had experienced a security breach in that past year.

But why is this? Almost all cyber attacks are designed to procure personal data to be used for identity or credit card theft. According to CSO.com, it is the less-secure networks that are commonplace in small businesses that make them ideal targets. Those looking to automate attacks can breach potentially thousands of small businesses in much less time than larger targets.

Without an IT security specialist at your disposal, what can you do to prevent your small business from falling victim to a cyber attack? Here are 8 best cyber security practices you can immediately implement to better protect your business.

1. Install a firewall

The Federal Communications Commision (FCC) recommends that all small-medium businesses install a firewall to create a barrier between cybercriminals and sensitive business data. In addition to external firewalls, many companies are now also setting up internal firewalls for added protection. It is also sometimes overlooked that employees who work from home require a home network firewall as well, so consider providing support and firewall software for your employee’s home networks to ensure comprehensive compliance.

2. Document your cybersecurity protocols

No matter how intuitively or informally you run your small business, one area that is essential to document is that of cybersecurity policies. On-line training is available through the Small Business Administration (SBA) Cybersecurity portal, including checklists and general information on protecting businesses that operate online. Consider utilizing the FCC’s Cyber Planner 2.0 to help you to create your security document and also investing in Security Information and Event Management to spot and respond to security incidents.

Additionally, the C3 Voluntary Program for Small Businesses includes a detailed toolkit for deciding upon and documenting the cybersecurity best practices for your business.

3. Don’t overlook mobile devices

According to the Tech Pro Research BYOD, Wearables and IoT, as many as 59% of businesses cater for employees to use their own devices, so it’s imperative to incorporate this risk into your security plan. With wearables such as smart watches increasing in popularity, it is important to include these devices within a security policy. Norton recommends the requirement of all employees to set up automatic security updates and ensure that the business’s password policy be applied to all mobile devices that have access to the network.

4. Prioritize employee education

Small businesses often require employees to wear many hats, making it all the more essential that they are all adequately trained on the business’s network cyber security policies.

As cybercriminals become savvier, it’s imperative to regularly review and update your security protocols. For employee accountability, ensure that each employee has read a company handback and signs an acknowledgement document stating that they have received and understood the policies, as well as the consequences of not correctly following them.

5. Ensure safe password practices are upheld

According to a Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 63% of data breaches occurred as a result of weak, lost, or stolen passwords. In today’s BYOD (bring your own device) world, it’s more essential than ever to ensure that all employee devices that access the business network are password protected and that original wifi codes are also changed. 

It is recommended that all employees ideally be required to use passwords that incorporate upper and lower case letters, as well as numbers and symbols – and that small businesses enforce that all passwords be changed every 60 – 90 days.

6. Backup all data regularly

No matter how well protected we are from cyber attacks, it is still possible to be breached, so protecting your data from loss is vital. It is recommended that you backup databases, word-processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, financial files and accounting records regularly and keep them in a safe, separate location in case of flood or fire. Be sure to back all of your data up in the cloud for maximum protection, too.

7. Utilize multi-factor identification

Regardless of your security preparation, at some stage it is likely that an employee will make a mistake that compromises your data. Using multi-factor identification settings is easy to do on most network and email products and provides an added layer of protection. A solid choice is to use an employee’s cell phone number as a secondary identification form, as it is unlikely that a cybercriminal would have access to both the password and the PIN.

8. Install anti-malware software

While one hopes that all employees know never to open phishing emails, reports indicate that a considerable percentage still do. Phishing attacks are designed to install malware onto devices when the unknown link is clicked, so installing anti-malware onto both the business network and all accessing devices is essential.

Cyber criminals advance in their security-breaching skills every day, making the effective security of your business data an ever-moving target. It is essential that you train your employees to prioritize cyber security and that you stay ahead of the latest trends when it comes to new forms of attack and emerging technologies that prevent cybercrime. The longevity of your business may depend on it.

3 Cybersecurity Tips for Entrepreneurs

In 2017, a number of 24.089 records were compromised based on the average data breach records. This cost businesses over $3.62 million in a single year. At this point, it is believed that one in four online businesses can expect a data breach at some point of their existence on the online market.

Cyber security is a huge concern of people who use technology. It has received a lot of press in the past few years, which results in continuous updates and changes that aim to reduce, if not eliminate, cybercrime on the Internet. As a person who has an online business, you need not only learn what is cyber security, but also learn how to protect your online business from criminals.

Seeing how the numbers above are only expected to grow, there are some things you must do to protect your business from cyber-attacks.

1. Make Good Use of Cloud Storage

Did you know that 43% of all cyber-attacks occur on small businesses and startups? This means that, even if you’re an entrepreneur at a small business, your data is still at risk. Thanks to clouds, you can now keep your data safe from breaches and incidental losses.

However, remember that clouds aren’t always are completely safe. You’re still at risk when you store your data in a cloud format. Some of the more popular cloud options like Google Drive and Dropbox do their best to secure your content. But, no matter how hard a cloud server plants cyber security into their products, you are still vulnerable.

Therefore, you should choose the safest cloud you can find, but also provide an extra layer of encryption to protect your data. To keep it secure, you need to use various encryption SSL systems and tools. This doesn’t make a cloud service bad, but it makes you a responsible and cautious entrepreneur. Think of it this way – it is like when you order assignment help in Sydney from the most popular company, but still use a plagiarism checker to make absolutely sure of the originality.

2. Always Use Strong Passwords

A password can determine whether a cyber-criminal accesses your data or not. It’s the part of the security keychain that’s most commonly the reason for breaches. Therefore, you need to make sure that you have the most secure password on all your systems, data, e-mails, and even profiles on websites.

Your cyber security plan must include utilization of stronger passwords with complex order and more characters. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools and apps that can help you pick the best password.

3. Require Multi-Factor Authentication

To make it even harder for attackers to use your business data, require multi-factor authentication to keep your accounts protected. You can combine passwords, make use of your hardware and smartphone, and even use your fingerprint or face recognition to unlock an account.

The face recognition feature is currently under debate when it comes to security. It is really handy, yes, but a single picture of your face can unlock the account. However, taking into consideration that most cyber criminals don’t know what you look like but are only interested in business data, you can definitely consider it as one of the authentication methods. It may be necessary to use one of these top VPN providers.

Conclusion

Technology has been one of the best and most effective changes in the business world. However, all great things come with their own set of risks, which in this case, is cybercrime. As an entrepreneur, it is your obligation and job to keep the business data safe and confidential. Therefore, it is time to make some changes to implement a safer and stronger cybersecurity strategy that will give your business a better chance to thrive and survive. In the unlikely event that you still got attacked by cybercriminals even with the necessary precautions taken, look for a digital forensics company to help you.

10 Ways to Secure Your Information Across Your Devices Online

The digital revolution has brought great advances in public access to information. Before the internet, you needed a set of encyclopedias or a visit to the library to find things out. Now, almost any information you desire is at your fingertips, on the computer. But the same technology that permits information access online makes us vulnerable to invasion by others seeking valuable information or resources from us. So it is vital in this digital age to take strong steps to protect yourself and devices.

Here are 10 ways to secure your information across your devices online:

1. Pick Strong Passwords

This is the obvious one, but you’d be amazed how many people choose simple passwords that are easy for sophisticated hackers to hack. Algorithms can go through millions of simple possibilities in seconds. A good password should contain/include alphabetical, symbolic, and numeric characters. It should be of sufficient length, 10-12 characters, and not contain obvious names or words. Acronyms make good passwords because they are easy to remember, yet do not present discernible patterns for hackers. Also, obviously your passwords across different apps should be different, not the same.

2. Protect Your Passwords

They are the keys to your digital kingdom! Do not give your passwords to others. Password manager apps are one great answer for those who have many passwords. If you do use a password manager app, make sure their reputation is excellent and security strong. After all, someone who gains access to that information will pretty much gain access to all that you own, in one form or another. Change your passwords when notified of any security breach

3. Maintain Separate User and Admin Accounts

Maintaining separate user and admin accounts is a common, almost universal, practice in business settings these days. It is a good idea for your home devices as well. Protect your admin account with a password. Use this account only for admin purposes. If your computer is hacked, the hacker will not automatically have access to make administrative changes. It also makes sense to protect your user account with a password. If your computer is stolen, the thief will need to know the password to immediately access any information you keep on file.

4. Keep Software Current

This is done automatically, in large part, these days on many computers. If you don’t have your computer set up to automatically update at specified times, do so. Many updates are security fixes to combat vulnerabilities in programs. There is a continuous race between developers and hackers who wish to exploit these vulnerabilities. If you are not updating, hackers can easily win this race! Back up your files. It is also a good idea to back up all vital information on two flash drives. Store one and keep the other with you when you go places. In the unlikely event of some kind of disaster (fire, hurricane, theft, etc.) you will maintain your vital information.

5. Connect With Care

Connect only to secure sites. Do not use public Wi-Fi to conduct personal or business affairs. If you must connect to sites where security is questionable, use a strong Virtual Private Network (VPN) like Surfshark. Try it here.

6. Practice Multi-Factor Authentication

Two-factor, or multi-factor, authentication is the use of more than one form of identity verification to gain site access. Passwords are one method. Security questions are another often-used form of authentication. But many times the information commonly used is easily available to identity thieves as well. So, if you are going to use a security question, make sure the information is personal and truly private. Biometrics is another method growing in sophistication and popularity. Facial recognition or iris identification should someday be the norm in all computers. Fingerprints or voice identification are other good examples. Biometrics authentication is the future state of the art, although all methods still face challenges. Some devices have biometric capability now. Passwords will become a thing of the past, although they’re still vital currently! Setting alerts on your online accounts is another good practice.

7. Use Caution with Emails

One of the most common security breaches comes from replying to or opening links in fraudulent emails. This is commonly known as phishing. Never open a link in an email unless you are absolutely certain it is from a trusted source. Don’t even open it then. A common hacker practice is to gain entrance to one account and use that account to send phony messages to all contacts, with requests for money or information. Phishing emails have led to many notorious security breaches. Think of the 2016 elections, when a phishing email led to the massive DNC security breach.

8. Use a Good Security App

This is just good common sense. In this day and age, a good security app is a must. Many decent apps are free, but this is one area where it likely pays to pay. Consumer advocate sites rate the top security apps each year. If you don’t have one, hurry to check these ratings out, then purchase a good app. Visit at least 2 or 3 sites to get a consensus. Then check customer reviews as well.

9. Minimize Physical Access Possibilities

Physical access to any of your devices may be the easiest way for someone to gain vital personal information. Don’t leave your computer up and running in public. Do not leave important applications open anywhere while you are absent. Protect access with a strong password. Although best practice with passwords is to not keep physical copies, in the real world, where you might have 50 passwords, this is often not practical. Keep password information in a secure spot.

10. Utilize a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

The VPN has become vital to maintain strong internet security. VPNs encrypt information and route your connection through a remote server. Your actual identity and location are masked by that server. VPNs also permit connection to sites that are geographically restricted or forbidden. They protect information when using public Wi-Fi. VPNs can be used to stream video such as Hulu or Netflix. VPNs permit download access without a digital footprint. Business users can log on to their business networks while traveling. One of the highest rated VPNs is Surfshark. Surfshark has more than 500 servers in all parts of the globe to facilitate strength and speed of connection. They were recently named a top VPN newcomer. Surfshark now offers annual plans with decreased cost and 24/7 support. Presently, a no risk trial is available. This is an excellent opportunity to secure a strong VPN network at an unusually low price.