Treating Information Security as a Personal Matter

There was a time when individual cybersecurity meant installing antivirus software and staying abreast of operating system updates becoming available to download. While these two measures are still valid in 2021, they only scratch the surface in terms of what you need to do in order to stay safe nowadays.

Business owners around the world are dedicating considerable time, effort, and funds to boosting their overall information security; this is justified by the sizable increase in cybercrime groups known to target companies operating across all industries. The way IT security researchers explain it, the business sector can no longer implement measures to prevent getting hacked. It is no longer a matter of whether a business network will be breached; it is a matter of knowing what to do when the time comes, because it will.

At the personal level, we are not taking things as seriously as the business sector has, and this could devolve into problems. While it is true that hardware manufacturers and software developers have gotten much better at delivering products that are substantially more secure, we need to do our own part in terms of protection. Unlike in the business sector, where mitigation has overtaken prevention, there are still a few things we can do to avoid falling prey to cybercrime.

The Better Business Bureau recently published a list of recommendations related to information security at the personal level, and one of the most interesting mentioned trusted sources. Whenever possible, we should make it a point to choose security solutions that scan web links and apps deemed to be safe. Software developers that include this kind of feature do their best to compile databases of trusted domains and files that have been verified as being safe. To a certain extent, this is similar to the way a BBB business profile is vetted before it is listed. You know that you can trust the BBB, and you should also trust the security software vendors that do this kind of vetting.

With regard to username and password credentials, we should all be using password lockers and managers in 2021. Most of us trust web browsers to take care of this for us, but we should be taking extra steps. If Firefox is the browser you normally use on your desktop or laptop computers, you should also be using it on your smartphone or tablet; furthermore, you should create a Firefox account, synchronize it across all devices, and pay for a Mozilla Lockwise subscription. The same goes for Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome. Needless to say, you can also use a password manager service that you can access from a mobile app, but you should make it a point to pay for a subscription because this will give you greater control over your credentials and personal data.

Finally, something else you should be using in 2021 is two-factor authentication, more commonly referred to as 2FA. Physical 2FA tokens that incorporate biometric features such as fingerprint scanning provide the most comprehensive security. Modern smartphones equipped with fingerprint readers can serve as physical 2FA tokens as long as the right mobile app is installed. With a password manager plus 2FA, you will not have to worry about others getting access to your online accounts should you misplace your smartphone or laptop.

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