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Every year we make great advances in technology, and every year people with bad intentions use those advances to further their own dastardly deeds.
Just this year, people around the world have started using things like face-detecting systems to pay with, and we’ve created self-driving trucks.
These are great technological progressions, but imagine them in the wrong hands! With good things, there are always people who try to twist them to their own benefit at the expense of others.
Such has long been the case with the internet and all we’ve come to be able to do with it.
A massive issue on the front of all computer usage is cybersecurity. There’s not a foolproof way to prevent cyber attacks from happening — even Apple had their infamous iCloud leak of celebrity photos several years ago.
However there are multiple ways you can guard against it, and the best place to start is by staying up to date on current cybersecurity tactics, tools, and threats.
As the new year approaches, it’s the perfect time to re-educate yourself on current cybersecurity threats, best practices, and see if there’s anything you need to keep your information safe.
Here’s what you need to know going into 2018 about cybersecurity – here is how hackers are going after you now and how you can prevent your site from getting hacked best this year.
At this point in our history with the internet, you should be aware that the more random and unrelated to anything personal, the better your password will be.
XvWpawM<>48 is a better password than “TadandJen42316” or some other combination of you and your partner’s name and anniversary, or other personal details such as pets, parents, family, etc.
That information is easily findable on the internet so you shouldn’t use it in your password.
However, at this point, most of us are logging into at least 12 different accounts a day on our smartphones, computers, or other devices.
This could be our e-mail inboxes, our social media profiles, our bank accounts, or simply our devices themselves.
How are we to remember that many passwords, all (hopefully) made up of random words, phrasings, letters, numbers, and symbols?
Well, we have an answer for you. It’s becoming increasingly popular to use Password Managers organize and keep track of hundreds of login credentials.
They make it so the only password you need to remember is the one for the password manager itself!
However, keep in mind that nothing is ever foolproof. Password managers have been tested and there are flaws, of course — ways for people to hack your password managers.
However, they are few and far between, and unlikely to happen.
While it’s good to stay careful, a password manager is still one of the safest ways to store your login information and highly recommended in the coming year, as it’s one of the best new technologies for managing your login credentials.
Your Web Hosting Situation
Affordable is not necessarily better. What we’ve come to find is that some of the most common web hosts are not the safest, as their code and security is more simple and easily hackable.
Something you should look for in a web host is modernized and complex security measures that protect you from hackers better than those with old ways of doing things.
One such thing you can look for in your web host is whether or not they offer SSL secure servers, which is required for HTTPS.
HTTPS, as opposed to HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), is not left vulnerable to hackers intercepting the data.
Kroll On Track had a good list of what to look for in a web host, and aside from SSL secure servers included SSH Secure Shell Access, secure email support, secure data center, and regular backups.
The same article cited a source by Venture Harbor which compared different web hosting providers, which may be worth your time to look at and can be found right here.
All of this said, a budget is understandable, and we get it if you choose to stay with an entity like WordPress as your web host.
However, if you’re going to do this, make sure you know how to guard yourself against hackers and enact all security measures possible.
Sometimes people hack WordPress websites and the owners and operators don’t even know it! There are some telltale signs your WordPress site has been hacked, which we have covered before.
In short, utilizing security plug-ins, smart passwords, and two-step verification is a good start.
Unprotected Networks and Intercepted Information
As mobile as we are now, it’s not uncommon for people to work remotely — not in their typical office space. Many times people will do some of their most important work in a coffee shop, library, or restaurant.
While these are great places to work, they aren’t necessarily the safest for your data, seeing as they usually have public Wi-Fi.
Public Wi-Fi is not password protected, unencrypted, and very easy for hackers to use as a gateway to interfere with and steal your information.
This is a fairly common occurrence and it’s still not something that most of us seem to care about or safeguard against as much as we should.
Perhaps the best way to protect your information would be to try using a VPN — a Virtual Private Network — which can be used in public places but makes your work private and encrypts all of your information.
A big problem with public Wi-Fi is your information being intercepted – that is while you’re sending and sharing files. This doesn’t stop at public Wi-Fi however.
Even schools and universities, which are typically trusted for data security due to the amount of data they contain and the perceived professionalism accompanying educators, are learning to change the way they share files.
The number one way files are shared in an education setting is by email, but as time goes on we are learning that there are safer ways to protect your files while transmitting them from one system or person to another, or at the very least precautions to take in addition to email.
The development of newer secure file exchange solutions and additional precautions to Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), which makes both ends of an exchange approve the file to be opened, shared, or downloaded, are dealing great blows to cyber attackers and their evil deeds.
Redirects, Bandwidth, and Slow Load Times
As reported on Right Blog Tips before, a sudden drop in traffic, slower load times and crashes, and higher bandwidth usage could all be signs you’ve been hacked.
The idea is that the hacker has somehow added your URL to a spam list or caused your URL to redirect to another website, and after too many redirects your website loses traffic or even crashes.
If you find yourself in this situation, try changing your password or setting up 2FA. If things don’t improve, then there may be something else to look for, such as malware, or problems with your web host.
Now you may be asking yourself, why would someone do this? No one knows all of the various reasons people do the things they do, whether it be malicious or playful.
Sometimes competitors hack their competition for monetary reasons. Sometimes it has to do with identity theft.
Some people do seem to find fun in ruining other people’s lives, or just enjoy the challenge of hacking through a tough system.
The latter category would likely benefit from becoming professional hackers and putting their skills to good use.
But that’s not going to be the case every time, and for that reason, it’s best you heed our advice and safeguard against cyber attacks to stay ahead of the game and keep yourself successful.
Hopefully, you feel more equipped to handle cybersecurity concerns from here on out.
Have you ever been hacked, and how did you handle it?
Do you work in cybersecurity and have something to add that we missed?
Let us know in the replies and comments below — we’d love to hear from you!
Devin Morrissey lives in Daly City, CA, where he writes about small business and SEO. When his laptop updates or his Wi-Fi is down, Devin modifies his friends’ cars and hunts for vinyl records.