As anyone who’s ever been on the receiving end of a cyberattack can attest, cybersecurity should never be taken lightly. A single error in judgment is all it takes for your computer to be infected by a virus, bricked by ransomware, or robbed of precious data. Even if you’ve never been the victim of a cyberattack, expecting your good luck to last forever is pure folly. In the interest of keeping viruses and a wide assortment of other cyberthreats at bay, take the following measures to step up your cybersecurity.
Improve Your Browsing Habits
Putting just a little more thought into your browsing habits can do wonders for your online security. Since viruses, malware, and other cyber threats are commonly spread through unsafe websites, it behooves every safety-conscious internet user to be mindful of the sites they visit. For starters, before visiting a site, you’ll need to confirm that it has a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate. In short, an SSL certificate secures data that passes from your browser to the site’s server. On the flip side, this data may be visible to third parties on a website that lacks SSL certification. Luckily, the presence of an SSL certificate is easy to confirm. Just make sure a site’s URL begins with “HTTPS” instead of “HTTP.” By the same token, make sure to browse the respective privacy policies of any new sites you visit, as this will provide you with a solid understanding of who is able to see your data.
You should also double-check any URLs that you find in emails or text messages. In many cases, cybercriminals will create links to malicious sites whose URLs are very similar to those of legitimate websites. So, before proceeding to visit any such URL, make a point of doing a quick search for the business it claims to be from. Next, compare the business’s official URL to the one you received to confirm whether or not it’s legit.
Exercise Caution with Ads
You should always exercise caution with online ads. Since ads are a very common vehicle through which viruses and malware are spread, you should avoid clicking ads on any site that isn’t 100% secured. Instead, if you see an ad that strikes your interest, do a search for the business and/or product advertised therein.
As an added security measure, consider using a dependable adblocker. While some browsers come with built-in ad-blockers, others will require you to install them as extensions. If you’re looking for a way to definitively end the threat of ad-based viruses, a good ad blocker is an absolute must.
Get a Good Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A solid virtual private network (VPN) can be a boon to your online security efforts. First off, a good VPN ensures that no third parties are able to view your data or browsing habits. Secondly, it provides you with a secure virtual tunnel through which to safely access the web from virtually any network.
In essence, a VPN serves to encrypt your network data and network traffic, thereby masking your network identity and making it impossible for third parties to intercept your data or track your online activity. By redirecting network traffic through a remote server, VPNs conceal your IP address and create a data tunnel. So, whether you’re looking to enhance your cybersecurity or are simply uncomfortable with having your online activity monitored by third parties, there’s no time like the present to start seeking out the right VPN.
Invest in the Right Antivirus Software
Although modern-day operating systems contain a multitude of virus-fighting features, dedicated antivirus software is still essential for anyone who’s serious about cybersecurity. When it comes to stopping viruses in their tracks, ransomware removal, or in-depth threat scans, the right antivirus software can do you a world of good. So, if any of your internet-enabled devices currently lack good antivirus software, equip them with it posthaste.
Far too many of us fail to appreciate the importance of proper cybersecurity practices until it’s too late. Waiting to step up your cybersecurity until after you’ve been victimized by viruses, malware, data theft, or other cybercrimes is practically guaranteed to result in massive frustration and regret. Fortunately, getting your cybersecurity apparatus in order is far from difficult. Taking the measures discussed above can go a long way toward bolstering your digital defenses.
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