13 tips to stay safe online

With the pandemic there was a significant increase in the use of online solutions. Telecommuting has forced most professionals to access the company's network remotely. That said, it is normal that there has also been an increase in cyber attacks. Some 77% of companies have experienced an increase in attacks in the last year.

Malware is increasingly sophisticated and requires the user to be skilled and informed in order to protect themselves effectively.

In this article we provide 13 tips in the main areas of cybersecurity so that you can strengthen your online security and privacy.

When we protect ourselves, we also protect others, because we are preventing the spread of malware.

1- Use common sense

It is often said that common sense is the least common of the senses. But in this case, we should really be very careful whenever we use digital media. For example, we should not click on a link that tells us that we have won a prize for being visitor number 1000 on the site.

2- Use secure passwords

It is very important to pay attention to the passwords you use on the internet. It should not be obvious and easy to guess, like our birthday. Ideally, you should mix numbers (123456), letters, uppercase and lowercase (AaCfdAAAsss), and special characters (#"$%%%_-) or use a complete phrase. Do not use the same password in all your accounts.

3- Do not store passwords in your browser

A recent news story revealed that Google Chrome can display passwords in text if another user gains access to the computer. Problems can also occur by forgetting to log out of your email or social media account. Always remember to clear your browser history and use a trusted password manager.

4- Use two-factor authentication (2FA)

Ensure secure login and use of platforms with two-factor authentication whenever possible.

This security feature allows you to receive a code by message on your phone or email. This measure strengthens the confirmation of identity.

In case there is an attempt to hack your account, you will be warned, as verification is required.

5- Protect yourself on social networks

The latest generation viruses are sent through links on social networks. This happens when a family member or friend's account is compromised by some kind of cyber attack. Do not click on strange links sent in suspicious messages even if it is from a friend or acquaintance. In case you are mentioned in strange posts, you should remove the identification to avoid the propagation of that post.

6- Secure your wireless network

If you do not protect your network is Wi-Fi, a hacker can intercept the data you send and receive. Or even access your network. It is important to change the source password of the router, as well as the name. This is because it is easy to capture the password that the manufacturer enters by default. Likewise, always enable the WPA2 encryption option because WEP and WPA are no longer as secure as when they first appeared.

7- Be careful with public Wi-Fi

Many establishments, such as bars, restaurants and cafes offer free Wi-Fi to customers. Free internet access from these public places can be very risky if you are accessing confidential work data or the bank's website. If you really need to use public WIFI to access this type of data you should protect yourself with the use of a secure VPN.

8- Block pop-ups

Some pop-up windows are used to distribute malware or for phishing scams. Set your browser to block them by default, so your computer analyzes any pop-up windows that appear and opens only the ones you want to see. An antivirus solution sometimes already has this option included.

9- Be careful with spam

Do not reply to spam messages or click on links in a suspicious email. If you do, you are confirming that your address is active and will become a prime target for spammers in the future. If possible, use multiple email accounts depending on your purpose. One personal and another to subscribe to promotions, courses, chats or any other service. Also keep in mind that your bank will never send you an email asking you to review or give your personal data. Usually it is possible to detect these fraudulent emails because they contain spelling mistakes and poor phrasing.

10- Provide secure personal data

Never provide personal information on suspicious sites without encryption (sites http://). Do it only through secure web pages (those beginning with https://). To make sure, look for the padlock symbol near the URL bar on the left. You should then click on this symbol and check that the site complies with security standards.

11- Back up regularly

Some viruses are designed to encrypt your documents (for example ransomware). It is a scheme that aims to ask for a ransom to return the system to normality. It is important to have an up-to-date backup, preferably on an offline external drive, to avoid problems. If you are a victim of this type of cybercrime, never pay the requested ransom. Contact your security solutions provider for professional advice.

12- Use security software

Having a cybersecurity solution, anti-virus, firewall is a must, as well as keeping them always up to date. Every day about 17,000 new threats are identified. These need to be analyzed, controlled and eliminated promptly.

13- Install patches and updates

If the manufacturer of the operating system, or other programs you use, makes a security patch available, do not hesitate to install it. These updates often contain important vulnerability fixes that help protect your system from unauthorized access.

With about 17,000 new threats every day, it can be difficult to stay up to date and protected, however, with these tips and best practices, you'll be well on your way.

These tips are essential whether for personal or professional use, and in business it is recommended that you have a technology partner who can help you in real time to keep the company network secure and with a solid continuity plan.

It is very important to be informed of the latest dangers, this is the only way to protect yourself.