With the rising cost of living, it’s no surprise that many of us are under immense financial pressure. Sadly, bills may not be the only problem we have to face.
New research suggests that there could be a dramatic increase in cybercrimes this year, with hackers capitalizing on reduced security budgets and exploiting people’s vulnerable states.
In this article, we’ll explain what research has shown about attitudes towards cybersecurity. We’ll explore how serious the situation is and how criminals might strike. But don’t worry – we’ll also share the best tools you can use to help keep yourself and your information safe.
The rise of cybercrime
Bridewell recently published a report entitled Cyber Security in CNI: 2023. It painted a dark picture of the rise of cyber crimes and current attitudes toward cybersecurity.
For example, the report states that UK businesses anticipate an incredible 34% rise in cybercrime directly linked to the cost-of-living crisis. This crisis is made worse by the fact up to 65% of organizations are witnessing a reduction in security budgets.
What’s more, only 21% of businesses offer 24/7 security monitoring. This gap in security, coupled with rising costs, creates enormous opportunities for cybercriminals to attack.
Areas of particular concern are phishing scams, which aim to steal private information from employees, and ransomware, which can effectively shut down businesses until large sums of money are paid.
So, how can you protect yourself from this rise in cybercrime?
5 ways to stay safe online
Cybersecurity tools can help deter attacks on your personal information. They’re often easy to use and have various functions, providing a versatile defense. Some of the best to consider include:
A VPN (virtual private network) is an innovative security tool that helps keep your information and online activity secure. It does so by disguising your IP address and encrypting your online activity.
Even on a public Wi-Fi network, a VPN gives you peace of mind that no prying eyes are looking at your screen. But to ensure the best security possible, you should consider a VPN firewall in tandem.
A VPN firewall prevents unauthorized users from accessing your VPN connection. Moreover, it can filter suspicious and malicious data from entering through internet traffic, adding another layer of protection.
2. Stronger passwords
A simple way to protect yourself from cybercrimes is by having stronger passwords. Tips to help strengthen your password include:
● Longer: Use passwords with at least 12 characters for the best defense. Use a mixture of upper and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers. ● Unique: Use different passwords for different websites. If one password is compromised, your other accounts are still safe.
● Not personal: Avoid using personal information, like a date of birth or nicknames. Hackers often use this information to break passwords. ● Password manager: This tool helps generate, store, and manage strong passwords for multiple accounts.
3. Antivirus protection
Antivirus software is essential to detecting and preventing cyberattacks. It will scan your files and folders, flag potentially malicious content, and prevent you from visiting suspicious websites.
These programs offer real-time protection and ensure your online activity won’t compromise your personal information. They are also essential in helping detect and remove existing infections from your system that you may not have been aware of.
4. Two-factor authentication (2FA)
2FA is one of the best ways of securing your accounts. It requires you to verify your identity twice upon login, often through a single-use code sent by email or smartphone.
With 2FA, even if your password has been compromised, the hacker cannot do much without this second code. Additionally, if 2FA is triggered without you logging in, you know someone is trying to gain access to your accounts.
5. Regular updates
Hackers are developing new ways to exploit vulnerabilities in our computers and devices daily. To combat this, developers release security updates that help reinforce protection and remove vulnerabilities in software.
You must keep your system and software safe by regularly updating everything, including your browser, antivirus, drivers, and operating system. Remember, it’s not enough to download updates – you must ensure they’re installed, too!