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10 Best Practices to Guarding Yourself from Cyber Threats

This article is a guest contribution from MoneyMax.ph, the Philippines' leading financial comparison portal.

Cyber attacks come in many forms and anyone can become a victim. They could come in the form of adware programs out to steal your personal information, crack tools that give hackers remote access to your computer or your personal info; or spyware, Trojan horses, and worms that can corrupt your files and destroy your computer software. Personal threats against a user is also a form of cyber threat. Often, these could lead to emotional, psychological, and fatal consequences.

On a global scale, it has become a norm for big corporations or companies to keep cyber security measures to protect themselves against cyber threats. As an individual user, there are also certain steps you can take to make sure that you and your family are protected. Below are a few ways how:

1)    Toughen up. Just like how it is in the real world, there are people online who aren’t going to agree with you. It’s up to you to have a good amount of tolerance up your sleeve when you meet disagreeable people in online forums. If you’re easily offended, it is up to you to make a personal choice to reduce your exposure to social media and other places online, where people are free to express their own opinions and disagree with yours.

2)    Think rationally. Whenever you’re making comments or expressing your opinions online, try not to let your emotions get in the way and cloud your judgment. Don’t make comments that are too personal to you or the other party. When someone makes comment you consider foul, do not respond right away so you could prepare a more rational response. Sometimes, it is better if you choose not to respond at all.

3)    Practice what you preach. If you don’t want to be threatened, then don’t make enemies online. Don’t add fuel to the fire when there’s a debate or argument going on. When you disagree with someone online, express your disagreement in a manner that is still civil and polite. Also, being level-headed online will definitely prevent getting unnecessary attention from hackers and flamers.

4)    Take evidence. If you fall victim to any form of cyber attack, print screen your conversations or interactions with the offender. For Windows, you just press the Prnt Scr button on your keyboard, and Ctrl+V it on paint, and save it as an image. For Mac users, it’s a simple Ctrl+Shift+3, and it automatically saves the image on your desktop. Don’t alter the image to protect authenticity. Better to have some evidence in case you would have to file a legal case.

5)    Play safe. At all times, it’s best to keep your private and personal information confidential. Don’t share your mobile phone number, your address, or even your email address to a public forum. When sharing sensitive information to a friend or family online, use direct messaging or PMs instead. Protecting your personal details puts you in a stronger position in case you need to file a claim against someone who purposely hacked or breeched the security of your accounts.

6)    Educate everyone in the household. Keeping all these good practices to yourself becomes  useless if a member of your family makes the mistake of giving out personal information out of ignorance. Stress the importance of cyber security and etiquette to everyone at home, especially kids and teenagers.

7)    Attend seminars and workshops. This is vital to further your knowledge about the extent of security you can apply in your online life.

8)    Keep your device updated and secure. Most people use their smartphones to store their private data, so you can just imagine how disastrous it would be if you lose your phone. Lock your phone with a password to make sure that all content is inaccessible to strangers. It’s best to leave external storages at home to keep your data safe. Plugging a device into different devices or computers might corrupt your device and make it more susceptible to viruses or malware.

9)    Don’t believe everything you read. When you get an email or a message containing doubtful content, check the sender first. Reach out to the company it represents before clicking on anything on the page. Always get confirmation first. Never download attachments “just to check” what’s in the email. Turn on your spam filter to make sure that you wouldn’t be tempted by unnecessary, possibly fake, offers.

10) Avoid leeching Wi-Fi. It’s unsafe. You should know by now not to risk your device’s safety just because you can browse the Internet for free for a few minutes. If you have your own WiFi connection, use a security key password to make your connection inaccessible to outsiders.

Remember these pointers and have better peace of mind. Live your personal online life in peace, and at the same time, make the Internet a safe place for you and your family.

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This contribution is exclusively written for AcceleratingITSuccess.com by MoneyMax.ph, the Philippines’ leading financial comparison portal which helps Filipino consumers make the right financial decisions as they settle on the best credit card, home loan, broadband plan, and more—fast, comprehensive, and free. Visit our blog for more financial tips and advice.

About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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