Cybercrime prevention is something you have to think about every time you go online. With the right precautions, you’ll stay safer and reduce your risk of identity theft, ransomware, and more. All of these tips are easy to implement and make your online experience a much better one.
Cybercrime Prevention Tips
One of the easiest things you can do is keep your operating system and browser updated. For instance, the WannaCry ransomware exploited a flaw in Windows. Installing security patches helps protect you from these flaws. Luckily, Windows and most browsers have settings to update automatically, so you don’t have to do anything other than stay protected.
Use Strong, Unique Passwords
Cybercrime prevention starts with using strong passwords. According to a report by Verizon, 63% of data breaches were the result of weak or stolen passwords. Just by using stronger passwords, many breaches could be prevented. It’s also important to use unique passwords on every site and avoid social login to prevent hackers from getting your login information once and using it everywhere.
Consider using password managers to help you keep track of your passwords. You can also use special techniques, such as a password made from the first or second letter of every word in a sentence.
Always Use an Updated Antivirus
Your antivirus is only as good as its last virus definition update. Antivirus has to update often to protect you from current threats. With cybercrime on the rise, new threats emerge daily. Allow your antivirus to automatically update both the core program and virus definitions.
Lock Down Windows
Windows has built-in security features, such as requiring a password to access a locked computer. You should always lock your computer when it’s not in use, especially in public. Remember to use a strong password for your computer to prevent unauthorized access.
Read More: How to Control Your Windows 10 Security
Look for HTTPS
Always look for HTTPS in the address bar of your browser when visiting any sites where you’ll provide personal or financial details, such as shopping and banking sites. This identifies that the website is using a security certificate the encrypts the data sent between you and the site.
Most browsers provide details on a site’s security certificate to help you determine if a site’s legitimate or not. Taking those few extra seconds is just one way to take charge of cybercrime prevention.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi is a playground for hackers. Most data isn’t encrypted, so it’s easy to pick up credentials as you log in to email, social media, and banking sites. For best results, avoid using public Wi-Fi or use a VPN to protect your data.
Read More: 4 Public Wi-Fi Security Risks to Know
Skip Emails and Texts You Don’t Recognize
Phishing emails, texts, and social media posts are easy to avoid. If something seems odd or you don’t recognize the sender, delete or avoid it. Sadly, 30% of phishing emails get opened, leading to identity theft, malware, and ransomware. Cybercrime prevention means avoiding any messages you don’t trust.
If you receive a message from a site you use that tells you that something’s wrong with your account, don’t click the link in the email. Instead, exit the email and visit the website directly via your browser. If you can’t find any issues, contact customer service to explain the email. It’s safer and prevents many phishing scams from succeeding.
Limit Online Sharing
Cybercriminals can learn intimate details about your life simply by how much you share on social media. They can figure out your passwords, especially those that use important dates or family and pet names in them. They know what sites and apps you use. For best results, limit your sharing. Set your social media profiles to private so only your friends see what you post.
Read More: Oversharing on Facebook Again?
Check the Site You’re Shopping On
While you might feel safer on major websites, such as Amazon, it’s a good idea to protect yourself by looking for warning signs on any site you shop on. Scammers may lure you in only to steal your information. Some signs to watch for include:
- Numerous grammatical mistakes
- Currency listed strangely, such as 100$ versus $100
- Extremely low prices – if it’s too good to be true, it probably is
- URLs with hyphens and symbols, such as shop-here-low-prices.com
- No HTTPS
If anything feels suspicious, leave the site immediately.
Always Monitor Your Accounts
Cybercrime prevention techniques aren’t always perfect, but you can limit the damage by monitoring your accounts. Even when you protect yourself, the sites you use may still experience a breach. Keep an eye on your credit card and bank statements and check your credit report (sites like CreditKarma let you do this for free).
If you do spot strange activity, contact your bank or credit card company immediately. They can put a hold on your account to prevent any further charges and may even refund unauthorized charges.
Read More: Social Media Security Checkup
Never Provide More Details Than Necessary
Some websites ask for your entire life history. Most of this is just for marketing purposes. However, you don’t know what the site might do with that information. The only details you should ever need to provide while shopping online is your payment details and your shipping address.
Be wary of any sites that ask you for additional personal details, such as your social security number. Basically, if you don’t think a site needs certain information, skip it. If it’s required and you don’t feel comfortable providing it, move on to another website.
Be Careful About Downloading
A common scam is to scare you into downloading an app via a pop-up that says something is wrong with your computer or you need antivirus right now. One of the best cybercrime prevention tips to remember is to never download anything you don’t trust. This includes attachments in emails and texts. If you’re not expecting an attachment, contact the sender to see if they really did send it or not.
You should also pay close attention to any programs or apps you install. Sometimes these include extra apps that could compromise your computer. You usually have the option to opt-out of the installation for the extras. Or, you choose a different app altogether that doesn’t try to sneak any extra software on your computer.
Read More: How Malicious Files Infect Your Computer
Cybercrime prevention starts with you. Take control and stay safer online.
Contribution by Crystal Crowder
About the Author
Crystal lives and breathes tech. She’s spent over a decade writing tutorials, reviews, and more on tech, business, and lifestyle sites. Her idea of fun is settling down with the latest tech and gadget news.