If you work with data online, there’s a good chance you know the importance of security and what it takes to maintain a secure website. But not everyone realizes how important your site’s security is, or what factors threaten it—or even whether you have any need for a secure site at all. That can be a problem if unsavory characters are looking for ways to exploit your website, steal your customers’ data or cause other harm.
Here are some of the most common threats to online security that businesses should be aware of, along with steps you can take to protect yourself and your customers.
Create Complex Passwords
A large percent of passwords are weak because users target easy passwords – taking an approach such as a dictionary word with a number at the end. It is recommended to have a password that has a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, symbols, and punctuation.
A good way to prevent being hacked is to use a password manager. Password managers automatically generate a new and complex password for each site a user visits, and they save each password in an encrypted vault that only the user can access. The result of using weak passwords is that one weak password reveals all your accounts. If a hacker has access to your email, they can reset the passwords on every single account you have. Password managers help by generating and storing complex passwords for every website in one place.
Creating A Multi-factor Authentication
The importance of multi-factor authentication is that it reduces the risk of unauthorized access to accounts. It has become increasingly popular, especially with the rise in identity theft and numerous data breaches. There are many types of Two Factor Authentication (2FA) methods; some can be used by any person or business while others are more complicated and require advanced certifications. For example, SMS messaging is an extremely common way for account information to be protected but requires no extra action on behalf of the consumer if their phone number matches that which they want to protect their account. Another easy method is through Google Authenticator or Authy; these applications generate one-time passwords (OTPs).
However, not all 2FA uses cell phone technology. For example, companies can use hardware-based OTP devices to generate codes for users who wish to protect their accounts with 2FA. These usually come in the form of USB memory sticks or key fobs that are activated by pressing buttons before plugging them into a computer’s USB port. The text message method must be preselected in order for it to work so Google Authenticator and Authy are always available even when cellular service isn’t available.
Buy With A Credit Card
Why should you choose to use a credit card instead of cash for your purchases? Credit cards offer several benefits that cash cannot match. They allow you to build up points towards free merchandise, they can be replaced if lost or stolen, and they protect you by allowing you time to report fraudulent charges before your statement is due. Cash, on the other hand, offers no level of protection; someone could charge items to your account without permission (thus hurting its ability to keep you safe).
Credit cards are important for safety reasons because they help prevent fraudulence with money and give time to track transactions that don’t go through properly. When using a debit card people only have 2-3 days until their transactions show up in their bank account and if anything is wrong with the transaction, such as it being fraudulent then you will lose that money and not be able to get it back since debit cards are attached to your account. Credit cards on the other hand give you a longer time frame of 10-21 days depending on the bank/card company so if there was any fraudulent activity on your card or someone tried to steal your information, you would still have money in your bank and would be able to cancel the card and get a new one within those ten days. If this happened at least with a credit card, you could simply call up your bank and report it stolen instead of losing hundreds of dollars because all transactions made with that number (or online) can’t go through until it’s deactivated. If someone tried to hack your debit card information and stole all the money in your account, you would be left with nothing which is why it’s safer to use a credit card instead of cash or debit.
Remember these safety reasons when you consider using a credit card for purchases. Protect yourself from fraudulence, monitor your spending more carefully, and even get rewards points while making your financial decisions. It is definitely worth waiting an extra day or two to ensure that each transaction goes through without any problems. You don’t want to lose hundreds of dollars because of one small mistake and waiting until the very last minute to cancel a transaction can lead you right into losing that money forever. There are many benefits associated with using a credit card over cash and you should be aware of all of them.
Watch for Fraud Online
Consumers must always stay alert when they are about to conduct a transaction with any company or individual online. Fraudsters can easily take advantage of victims using fake websites and even collecting sensitive personal information such as their credit card numbers. If these criminals get away with this information, they can create duplicates of the cards and use them for their own personal gain.
To keep safe from these scams while shopping on the internet, it is important that people always check out the website before making a purchase and make sure that they don’t enter any details that could lead to identity theft. This includes checking if the site has been shut down by checking its security certificate or contacting reputable companies to see if they accept transactions through said site. In addition, internet users should also consider using a service like PayPal to make it more difficult for the fraudsters to get their money and start shopping online without having to worry about where they enter their information.
This is important because it helps prevent any major data breaches from happening, which could lead to very serious consequences.
Guard Against Identity Theft
Every time you swipe your credit card, use your ATM or debit cards or log into any of your online accounts with financial information, there is a chance that it could be compromised along the way. There are many different ways for this information to get in the wrong hands. Being conscious of how much personal data you are putting out on the internet is the best way to protect yourself from identity theft.
When you give little pieces of information away here and there to who-knows-where about yourself, it leaves your wallet open to being taken advantage of by cybercriminals and hackers who can then access your bank accounts, credit cards, and purchase items over the internet. Everyday companies are getting hacked by people who want access to your information that is tied to financial institutions.
As stated by Investopedia, “In 2016, 15.4 million Americans were victims of identity theft.” Shocking statistics like this prove how important it is to protect yourself from being a victim of identity theft. Protecting yourself from identity theft typically starts at the very beginning: your home computer. You have been warned out there on the internet not to click links in emails or downloads from unknown sources because you never know what kind of malware could be attached to them, but unfortunately many do still fall for this trap every single day. This has given hackers a reason to come up with new and creative ways to get you to download their viruses and programs onto your computer by contacting you through means that do not look suspicious.
Set Up Account Alerts
Security breaches are becoming more common in the corporate world. That is why it should be important to set up account alerts, which make your passwords less of a liability for hackers looking to gain access to your accounts. When you sign up for an alert, you’re also joining other people who have opted in to that service. This way, if there is any suspicious activity on your account then you will receive an email or text message notification about what that suspicious behavior was and how many times it happened so far. Additionally, this avoids having to worry about the responsibility of remembering whether or not someone logged into your account because they definitely didn’t since you would have been notified by now. Be aware though that this isn’t 100% effective due to the false positives that can also send notifications. So, in order to prevent this, you should only sign up for an alert when there is a high chance of someone else accessing your account or if you are very particular about the security of your information.
Sometimes, it is the little mistakes that lead to the demise of a company. This means that even if you are careful with all your big data hacks and security practices, but you do not pay attention to smaller things like leaving passwords on sticky notes on monitors or having unprotected wifi addresses out in public, then you will still be hacked or have a data breach. However, even though it may be very hard to protect your employees from making small mistakes with their security protocols, you should still have an airtight plan in case of some sort of hacking so that your company does not lose any of its clients or money. These are just a few steps that every business owner or manager should take to make sure that his or her company does not fall victim to a data breach.