What is Cybersecurity and How Can You Start Protecting Your Family?

If you’ve ever received what turned out to be a fake email from your bank or mobile service provider, or someone else in your household received a notice that their password was leaked, then you’ve been the victim of a cybercrime. And you’re not alone. 

Since 2020, Asia Pacific has seen a 168% increase in cyberattacks. Singapore, especially, is now ranked among the top 5 countries in the region that have seen the largest increase in cyberattacks in May 2021 compared to previous months in the same year.

Protecting yourself and your loved ones online is a necessity. But you don’t have to be a computer genius to start learning about cybersecurity solutions. Cybersecurity is the practice of defending computers, systems, networks, and programs from malicious attacks. For millions of everyday online users and families who access the internet every day, this begins with learning what’s out there and building good online habits.

 

Understand where you’re vulnerable

A door without a lock makes your home vulnerable to unwanted visitors; a computer without a password makes it vulnerable to data theft. A vulnerability is anything that could be taken as a weakness: a common password, not having antivirus software, and so on. When performing online activities at home, the key is making everyone in the family aware of these vulnerabilities and implementing measures to prevent them from being exploited. 

  • Your family internet connection

Start with a secure internet connection for the entire family. Avoid using public WiFi connections, if possible. Because everyone has access to these connections, it also makes you vulnerable to online eavesdropping or interception from attackers looking to access your private information or to trick you into accessing fake websites. If you’re connected to these networks, never provide confidential information such as banking details. 

You can double your security by using a VPN connection (virtual private network). It gives you a secure connection between your device and an internet server. And when choosing a home broadband provider for your family, ask about the security of their connection. ViewQwest’s SecureNet, for example, offers constant protection from common cyberattacks as long as you’re using their network. 

  • Your family’s emails

Make sure you have anti-virus software installed on everyone’s devices at home, and regularly update it for optimum security. If you or other family members have multiple email accounts, create a unique password for each and don’t share it with anyone.

Instruct everyone in your home to not open an email attachment from an unknown source. And tell them to not click on links in emails that seem suspicious. Some signs that an email could be a scam include email addresses that imitate legitimate brands, requests for personal information such as passwords or banking details, threats to shut down your account, and poor grammar.

  • Your family members’ social media

A must for all families: always be careful about what you post or share online on your different social media accounts and apps. Never divulge personal information such as your home address, family members’ complete birthdates and names, and contact details.

Enable two-factor authentication in your social media and email accounts so you’ll have a second security layer. These usually require you to fill in a one time password, also known as an OTP,  that you will receive on your registered mobile phone number.

 

Know the common threats

Cybercriminals employ various methods to hack into emails, access bank accounts, or control computers. Knowing what these cyber security threats and terms are is the next step in protecting yourself and your family.

  • Malware

These are malicious software designed to disrupt or damage your computer. They are commonly spread through fake email attachments or downloads. Malware includes viruses, spyware that records your actions, ransomware that locks your files for a ransom, and bots that perform computer functions without your permission.

  • Phishing 

These can be emails or text messages that look like they came from a legitimate company, asking for sensitive information or sending files to download. Phishing can also come in the form of fake emails, telling the user that they won a contest or raffle. This is just one of the many ways cybercriminals use to obtain sensitive information from users. 

  • E-commerce data interception

This is a type of malware designed to steal customer payment data from fake online stores when people make a purchase. Cybercriminals place malicious codes into their websites to capture users’ data.

  • DDoS attacks

A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack aims to overwhelm its target — usually a website, network, or server — with fake website visitors. This extreme traffic overloads resources and prevents genuine user requests from being processed. In turn, the company or organisation could experience extended downtime and lose revenue in the process. 

 

Cybersecurity is a constant effort

Cyberattacks can come from anywhere and at any time. But don’t let that spoil the fun of going online for you and your family. Whether you’re ready for it or not, cybersecurity is now a lifestyle in the new digital norm. Always be aware of the threats around you and study them so you’ll know when you encounter them.

Protect yourself and your home by getting a home broadband connection with 24/7 security. SecureNet from ViewQwest gives you peace of mind with all your online activities. Powered by Palo Alto Networks, it detects threats, and stops them.

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