To mark International Internet Day, Check Point Software is giving users ten top ways to stay safe online.
Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP), a leading provider of cybersecurity solutions globally, is observing International Internet Day (29th October), by providing some useful advice on how to safety navigate life online.
With more than five billion people using the internet daily, it has rapidly become a fundamental part of how we interact with the world around us. It helps us to connect with our friends, complete our work and is a source of 24/7 entertainment. However, while there are many benefits, it also poses some concerning risks, as hackers continue to jump at any opportunity to breach a personal device or company network.
In fact, according to Check Point Research (CPR) cyberattacks across the globe have increased by 28% in Q3 2022 when compared to the same period in 2021. The UK specifically saw a 72% increase in incidents year—on-year, with an average of 755 attacks per organisation, per week. This demonstrates a growing threat landscape, where every day brings new phishing attempts, ransomware attacks and data breaches.
This is why Check Point Software is sharing ten essential tips that every internet user should know about before engaging in any online activity:
- Browsers alone won’t keep you protected: It is very easy for someone to set up a web page, which is why you should tread carefully when surfing the Internet. Cybercriminals often create websites that imitate trusted brands in order to steal credentials, credit card details or personal phone numbers. To avoid this, always looks for any inconsistencies on the page or language that is trying to rush you into handing over your details.
- Do not reuse passwords: This is simple but effective advice. Having the same passwords for all applications and websites is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. This is because, if a cybercriminal gains access to just one account, this will give them access to all your other platforms. To stay protected, use a different password for every account, aiming for at least eight characters, using a combination of uppercase, lowercase, numbers and symbols. If it becomes too complicated to remember them all, consider using a password manager to make this easier.
- Keep browser software up to date: Forgetting to install browser updates make them more vulnerable to an attack. To keep your devices safe, make sure to always install new updates as they often include features that defend against the newest security threat.
- Disable autocomplete forms or password reminder functions: These services do provide a high level of convenience but also come with security risks. This is because if a cybercriminal manages to breach your device, they will automatically gain access to all of these passwords. This makes is much easier for them use your banking apps for example which can exacerbate the impact of an attack. The safer option is to always enter your username and password every time you want to access an application or web page, no matter how tedious or inconvenient this may seem.
- Running antivirus software and scanning files before downloading them: This protection is essential because, despite taking all the appropriate measures, a malicious file can always slip through due to human error. Therefore, it is vital to have an antivirus installed that scans downloads and rejects them if they are fraudulent.
- Use HTTPS: Web pages that begin with the letters HTTPS have an SSL Certificate and comply with security standards. It keeps the connection to the Internet secure and protects the information sent between two systems. They also usually include a green padlock at the beginning of the link to make it easier to spot when a website is legitimate. Look out for these signs when engaging online. If you don’t see them this may indicate that a site is fraudulent.
- Regularly review bank statements: If an attacker is able to breach your device, this could be enough information for them to hack into your banking applications or accounts. They may then begin to make purchases on your account. This is why it is so important to regularly check the charges made to your bank card so that you can spot any suspicious behaviour earlier on.
- Avoid public or free Wi-Fi networks: These types of networks do not have any type of protection and as a result, anyone can connect to them. This is why they are popular hotspots for cybercriminals when they are looking to find their next victim. Without any form of monitoring, a hacker can easily gain access to a device without any challenges or obstacles. To keep yourself protected, avoid using them entirely, if possible.
- Read privacy policies: While this is not necessarily a security risk, your data privacy is also important to avoid personally identifiable information getting into the wrong hands This exercise may be tedious, but all content related to your privacy rights and details of what companies can do with your data is written in their policies. To maintain data privacy, do not just blindly accept terms & conditions.
- Activate a pop-up blocker: There are many websites and applications that bombard you with a pop up as soon as you access them. The vast majority of these are cyber scams, and that could result in ransomware being deployed. With the simple installation of a blocker, they will no longer be able to appear on your device, allowing you to avoid a large number of the associated dangers.
“With more and more devices being connected to the internet every day, hackers have a greater number of entry points to conduct an attack than ever before. Keeping confidential data safe should always be a priority for both individuals and organizations as one successful attack could cause costly damage. This is why it is vital to incorporate these protection tips into our everyday lives so that everyone can have a safer experience.” says Ian Porteous, Regional Director, Security Engineering, UK&I at Check Point Software of Check Point Software Technologies.