How to Secure Your Device From Cybercriminals

Cybercriminals are evolving, adapting, and developing new strategies to fleece unsuspecting users of their income. At the moment, even, you have to be wary of the loss of not just finances. You could get hurt in more ways than losing a few thousands of dollars to cybercriminals. In this discussion, we will analyze the most common cyber threats and how to prevent them.

Who are Cybercriminals?

Simply put, cybercriminals are those who commit crimes online. Their modus usually involves targeting devices and systems. They search for or instigate breaches in mobile networks and then leverage on the loopholes. The crimes that result from the activities of these individuals range from identity theft, security breaches, revenge porn, cyber-stalking, bullying, and harassment, amongst others.

Cyberthreats to Devices

Here are some very common cyberthreats:

Malware
This is a general term used to refer to threats to devices.

Ransomware
This is malware that literally holds you the ransom. When it infects your device, it locks you out till you pay a ransom. Thus, you will be unable to carry out any actions on the device till you sort out the ransom. This is quite insidious because there is no guarantee that you will gain access to your device even if you pay the ransom.

Spyware
This malware is not as obvious as ransomware. It is designed to go unnoticed on your device while wreaking havoc. It collates your personal information. Details such as bank records, location, and passwords are all compromised when your device is infected with spyware. The hacker usually installs spyware without your notice. You can also accidentally download it when visiting the hacker’s website.

Riskware
These can also be known as malicious apps. These are apps that are designed to infiltrate your device and mine data. They do so by asking for data access, claiming to need so for improved user experience. Instead, these apps steal your information. The hackers could then sell such data to data mining companies. Or, they could sell to criminals, who then steal your identity through this means. 

How to Secure Your Device from Cybercriminals

Below you will find actionable steps you can take to keep safe from cybercriminals.

1. Update All Devices’ Software

Most people expose themselves to risks by making use of outdated software. Device companies, as well as browser developers, provide regular updates of their software. They do this in order to stay ahead of the antics of cybercriminals. When you fail to make these updates, you leave your device exposed.

You can manually update your apps when they get outdated. All you need do may be to download an updated version of the app. Also, you can automate the update process by turning on your automatic update feature. Most devices and apps come with this feature. Alternatively, there are software that prompt you, reminding you to do regular uploads. You can make use of those to tighten your device’s security.

2. Enable Multi-Level Authentication

Enable multi-level authentication to improve your security. Here, instead of requiring just your password, the website/app could require authentication through some other means. This could be in the form of a code sent to you via SMS or email. This makes it harder for a hacker to break into your account.

3. Backup Your Data

Make copies of important personal data like medical files, family photos, etc. These duplicate copies can then be stored at a secure secondary location. Thus, if a hacker accesses your primary device, you can still have copies somewhere else. You can back up in two ways: using a cloud storage system or an external hard drive. You should explore the two options as they’ll keep you better secure.

4. Be Wary of Public Wi-Fi

A shared connection, such as public Wi-Fi, is unsafe. This is because everyone on the network can view and access your online activities. Thus, always look for a way to encrypt your connection when using such platforms. One way to do this is through making use of browsers like Tor that encrypt your traffic. Alternatively, you can make use of a Virtual Private Network.

5. Be Careful to Prevent Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when a person ‘steals’ your identity. It usually involves a measure of deception. Thus, identity theft typically occurs when a person fraudulently obtains your personal information. When a person assumes your identity, they can carry out unauthorized transactions on your behalf. You could potentially lose millions this way. To guard against identity theft, always be wary of sharing personal information online. Also, always verify a website’s authenticity before sharing details related to your bank information, etc.

Conclusion

It may not be possible to know all that you need to keep yourself safe from cybercriminals. Eventually, you may need to invest in security software for increased protection. In the meantime, adhere strictly to the instructions above.