Best practices: How to improve internet security
Why is Internet Security Important?
Internet security is a topic that is becoming increasingly important because we are spending so much time on the internet, and have so many different devices connected to it. The internet has become an integral part of our daily lives and it is more important than ever that we protect ourselves from cyber attacks, data breaches, and other malicious activities.
Cyber-attacks are being carried out daily. These attacks can result in the loss of sensitive information, financial loss, and even damage to a company’s reputation. Moreover, with the rise of the Internet of Things or IoT (the collective network of connected devices and the technology that facilitates communication between devices and the cloud, as well as between the devices themselves) and connected devices, the need for internet security has become crucial.
According to data compiled by Surfshark, data breaches in Australia increased by 494% between the third and fourth quarter of 2022. The Optus data breach is still very fresh in people’s minds, which is understandable considering that it affected a staggering 9.8 million Optus users!
As a software host and developer, it is our responsibility to ensure the security of the systems we build and the data it holds. This includes using encryption to secure sensitive information, implementing firewalls to block unauthorised access, regularly updating software, and identifying and fixing vulnerabilities.
What is a data breach?
A data breach is a cybersecurity incident in which sensitive data is unlawfully exploited, mishandled, exposed, and accessed by unauthorised parties. Most often, the exploited data consists of financial information, customer data, or sensitive information like health or personally identifiable information. The most common attack methods are malware infections, ransomware attacks, denial-of-service attacks (DoS), spyware, and brute force attacks (the digital equivalent to trying all of the keys on your keyring).
Despite the best efforts of companies and organisations, no system is completely immune to cyber threats, therefore it is essential to remain vigilant and take proactive steps to protect personal and financial information. We have compiled a list of best practices for individuals and companies alike to increase their internet security.
8 ways to improve your online security
- Use strong and unique passwords
This one is a no-brainer. Avoid using common words, phrases and number combinations as your passwords. Use unique passwords for different logins and ensure that they are not too short. We recommend using password manager software to create and manage your passwords instead of saving them to your browser. Click here to read our article about password protection.
- Enable two-factor authentication
This adds an extra layer of security to your accounts by requiring a second factor, such as a code sent to your phone, in addition to your password.
- Keep software up to date
Regularly update your operating system, web browsers, and other software to help protect against security vulnerabilities.
- Install anti-malware/antivirus software
This can help prevent ransomware-related breaches and other phishing and spyware-related security breaches. Both software can automatically scan systems and computers and compare them to known viruses and malware. Many versions can quarantine any viruses or malware found. Often (normally paid versions) of the software also have built-in tools to begin virus removal processes.
- Be cautious of email and text scams
Be wary of emails and text messages from unknown senders and never click on links or download attachments from untrusted sources.
- Use a virtual private network (VPN)
A VPN encrypts your internet connection and protects your online activities from being monitored.
- Backup important data
Regularly backup important data such as documents, photos, and videos. This can protect against data loss in the event of a cyber-attack.
- Be careful when using a public Wi-Fi
Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks for activities that require you to enter sensitive information like online banking or shopping.
Following these steps will improve your internet security and greatly reduce your risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime.
10 ways to increase your company’s internet security
- Implement a security policy
Establish a comprehensive security policy that outlines the company’s approach to internet security, including guidelines for employees and contractors.
- Train employees
Train your employees regularly on internet security best practices.
- Use encryption
When you encrypt data, it is translated into another form, or code, so that only people with access to a secret key (formally called a decryption key) or password can read it.
- Implement firewalls
Use firewalls to prevent unauthorised access to the company’s network and systems.
- Regularly update software
Keep software up to date to fix security vulnerabilities. This includes your operating system, browser, general software and your website.
- Conduct regular security audits
Regularly assess the company’s cybersecurity and identify areas for improvement. You can utilise the services of a professional online security auditing company for extra peace of mind.
- Use multi-factor authentication
Require multiple forms of authentication, such as a password and a security token, to access sensitive systems and data.
- Monitor network activity
Regularly monitor network activity to detect and respond to security incidents.
- Backup data
Regularly backup important data to protect against data loss in the event of a cyber-attack.
- Software configuration
Ensure all software is correctly configured, especially cloud-based software.
Internet security is crucial in today’s digital world. As software developers, it is our responsibility to ensure the security of the systems and data that we handle. By implementing strong security measures, we can protect against cyber attacks. It is important to keep in mind that no security is 100%, therefore we must all implement cybersecurity measures, and in the words of one of our technicians, “the best security is caution.”