The term “Cyber hygiene” has recently appeared among professionals dealing with information security. Speaking of cyber hygiene, first of all, it refers to following elementary principles of digital security on the Internet, which has become an integral part of our lives. We can draw a parallel to rules of personal hygiene. This means that we need to think of cyber hygiene as an everyday habit.
What happens in practice?
- Three-quarters of users know that they must constantly follow the rules of cybersecurity, but still give out their passwords.
- More than a third of users have at least one unprotected device, vulnerable to hacking.
- Most believe that public Wi-Fi networks are convenient for checking e-mail, sending documents and logging into accounts and are willing to accept vulnerabilities for the sake of free Internet.
These data points eloquently tell us that it is one thing to know the rules and quite another thing to follow them.
Key tips for improving cybersecurity:
- Do not turn off your antivirus
- Create and use complex passwords
- Do not reuse passwords between accounts. Password management tooks like Hideez Key can store your credentials securely and keep them physically separated from your main device. The Hideez Safe app also provides automated password input scripts for most major sites and mobile applications. No additional plug-ins or setup are required.
- Use two-factor authentication wherever possible. You could use the OTP Generator built-in to the Hideez Key to generate one-time passwords for two-factor authentication to secure your data.
- Use encryption on hard disks, USB-media and correspondence on the Internet.
But is it enough in the digital world to limit cyber hygiene to a strictly personal level?
Today, the security of information is no longer a niche need, it is a basic need for every citizen. Non-compliance with cybersecurity rules, even in small amounts, can lead to a total “infection”, dangers to personal security and vulnerabilities in the digital spaces you use.
Where social networks have become an integral part of life and “identity theft” has become a global problem, it's important to treat the preservation of one’s own information as a material value.
Cyber Hygiene in Social Networks
People today regularly use social networks to communicate, share photos and videos. The more popular these sites are, the more interest fraudsters have in them, and the more dangerous it becomes to use them. In order not to run into hackers, spammers and scammers, know the best practices for staying safe on social networks.
- When registering on a social network, think up a random password consisting of at least 6-7 characters. The password from your account on the social network and the password for your e-mail should not be the same, since this will make it more difficult for hackers to gain access to one account if they manage to compromise the other. If the passwords are different, then you can recover a password to your email from your social account. Of course, it's best to use a different password for each social network.
- To access social networks, use only well-known and proven browsers. Do not forget to also install updates for your operating system, browsers, firewall and antivirus – all these precautions will help you to increase your level of security on social networks.
- Never accept or install unknown files from people you do not know. Do not open suspicious messages that contain links to unknown resources, and never click on these links. Scammers can promise you anything, including pictures of naked celebrities, do not take their bait.
- Do not install applications for social networks that supposedly allow you to find work, download music, videos and more if you are not sure about the security of these third-party applications. Often during installation, they ask for logins and passwords for your account – all these are tricks hackers can use to try to get access to your account.
- Try not to access your accounts on social networks from other people’s computers. Even if you trust this person, it can happen that there is a Trojan on their computer that will send your data to a hacker.
- Carefully think about the information you put about yourself on social networks. Often scammers hack into accounts using the button “Forgot your password?”, Which prompts the person to answer a secret question. These questions are standard, and so avoid making any such information that might provide clues to these questions public. Therefore, if the social network allows, it is better to come up with your own, original secret questions.
- Sometimes messages sent to you supposedly by your friends can be sent by intruders who hacked their accounts. Therefore, if a message seems suspicious or contains a suspicious link, contact your friend directly or by phone to make sure that the message has actually come from them.
- Do not allow social networks to scan your e-mail address book so that they can automatically find your friends’ addresses.
- To enter the social network, use the browser’s address bar directly or a bookmark. If you go to a social network via a random link from the Internet, you may get taken to a fake site that can steal your personal information.
- Watch who you add to your friends. Often scammers try to find out information that is only available to your friends.
- Try not to use social networks at work. A social network can become a source of viruses or spyware that can corrupt office equipment or lead to the loss of information that constitutes a trade secret of your company. You might be held liable for these breaches if this violates a company policy.
The concept of cyber hygiene is much broader and includes the study of the effect of digitalization on human beings, the development of norms and measures both for the information protection of a person and for the improvement of the information environment. And, of course, the promotion of knowledge of the fundamentals of cybersecurity behavior.
We are sure that the expansion of the concept of “cyber hygiene” will seriously increase the level of involvement of people and their awareness of cybersecurity issues.