Personal cybersecurity tips for 2021

In 2021, everyone has to take responsibility for their cybersecurity. Yes, businesses and software manufacturers are beholden to do everything they can to protect users, but ultimately it is up to individuals to follow the advice and do what they can to mitigate the risk. 

Thankfully there are many things that you can do to boost your personal cybersecurity – but it’s important to prioritise the tactics that actually work and remain relevant today. Here we take a look at the top personal cybersecurity tips you need to know to help keep you completely secure in 2021. 

Stay up to date

Keeping your software and hardware up-to-date is one of the most important elements of personal cybersecurity that is still ignored by many people. It is unfortunately common for people to turn off automatic updates to their computers, and purposefully delay them when they are available. 

A good example of this is the number of people who are still using Windows 7 – even though it is no longer supported by Microsoft. This means that anyone using it can be vulnerable to new attempts, and there are no updates happening to bring in fixes. It has been suggested that this number could be as high as 1 in 10 computer users.

Use multi-factor authentication wherever possible

If you log into all of your accounts using only a password, then you are put completely at risk if any of your passwords are compromised. This risk can be easily mitigated simply by opting for multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible. 

MFA simply requires you to use more than one form of authentication when you log in to an account. So, as well as a password, you might be able to use a PIN code, memorable word, SMS message, or even fingerprint scan in order to access your accounts. 

Many websites and services are bringing in MFA as an option to help keep your account more secure, you should choose it where possible. 

Install antivirus and firewalls on all devices

In 202,  it is definitely still relevant and appropriate to use traditional defences such as firewalls and antivirus. In fact, it is most important to ensure that you have this software on all of your devices; mobiles and tablets as well as laptops and computers. 

Use powerful passwords and a password management tool

It is well understood that strong passwords are required to minimise the risk of cracking tools being effective. However, many people still don’t understand what constitutes a strong password. Ultimately, what you are looking for is a combination of capital and lowercase letters, along with numbers and symbols. And at no point in the password should there be a word from the dictionary. 

It can actually be a better idea to invest in a password management tool. These allow you to save all of your passwords and keep them protected behind a highly secure account. LastPass is a popular choice but there are various options available. 

This makes it possible to have entirely unique, highly complex passwords for all of your different accounts without having to remember them. 

Take your work cybersecurity seriously 

Many people are working at home through 2021 – and this places a great onus on the individual to ensure that they are following strict cybersecurity procedures at home. It is not just your own cybersecurity that is at stake, but your whole company’s. 

“With remote working the new norm, it’s easy to slip into bad habits,” says Juliette Hudson, Senior SOC Analyst at Redscan “however, with cybersecurity risks being greater than ever and remote workers lacking office protections, it’s important to maintain a high, if not higher standard, of security awareness.”

“If you’re a homeworker, security protocols should include locking your workstation whilst away from your desk, preventing other household members from sharing your work devices, exercising vigilance before clicking and opening unknown links and attachments, and shutting down your machine at the end of each working day”. 

Stay informed 

It is also important that you should keep up-to-date with the latest news and information regarding the cybersecurity risks and the techniques that hackers and scammers are using. Doing so can put you in a position to see through the scams before they can harm you, and ensure that you are using the right technologies.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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