After getting yourself quite acquainted with the meaning of cybersecurity and its best practices, you will come across the term “Cyber Hygiene.” The world of the internet can never do without the application of the best measures of cyber security. It aids in protecting your sensitive data and system from potential hacking, breaching, doxxing, or any other cyber crimes.
Cyber hygiene is a term used pretty much as personal hygiene is used. It describes the practices regularly performed to maintain the health of networks, users, devices, and systems. The importance of cyber hygiene goes way beyond these functions.
Whether you are a business owner or someone who uses technology on a daily basis, it is always good to know about cybersecurity hygiene. Please keep reading to learn more about the definition of cybersecurity hygiene, its importance, and the best practices.
The Definition of Cyber Hygiene
Cyber security is keeping your information tucked in a safe place, defending your system against cyber criminals, and building a solid security system. Consequently, you need to keep your security system in good shape to remain safe, and that’s where cyber hygiene comes in handy.
Basically, cyber hygiene is the practice of maintaining good health and well-being in your digital systems. It is not the direct protection you use to keep your systems safe but rather the approach that supports this protection. In many cases, it is just another term for cyber security.
Benefits of Applying Cyber Security Hygiene
With most of our confidential data being available in the digital world, building sturdy layers of protection are essential. Not only do you protect your general information, but you also keep the criminals’ hands away from your personal and financial information.
Cyber hygiene also prevents any possibility of deterioration or sudden crashes in your system that may result in unfortunate data loss. No matter how advanced the technology world is getting, there are always vulnerabilities that continue to show up if the system is left outdated. Such vulnerabilities and weaknesses are the hackers’ backdoors to exploit your data.
So, the central importance of cyber hygiene is maintaining optimal cybersecurity to keep your data safe. It is also essential to handle potential threats or attacks when your system is properly functioning.
Common Problems of Maintaining Cybersecurity Hygiene
Applying cyber hygiene practices is critical and shouldn’t be ignored, especially by large organisations dealing with significant financial sectors. However, maintaining your security hygiene can be quite challenging. For one, this practice is an ever-going one that can never be dealt with as a one-time task.
With the ever-evolving technology, older software continues to be at risk of having its vulnerabilities exploited by hackers. This makes the application of security hygiene even more challenging as it requires the ongoing support of end users.
Another common obstacle is that this practice requires a network of expert teams in different fields to make it work. The fact that digital security, in general, can never be crossed off your list requires routine practitioners with high skills and efficiency.
Misplaced data is another common problem that keeps occurring while maintaining security hygiene. That is because it requires the usage of several servers to store data in order to protect it from loss. This may result in dislocating essential data.
7 Essential Rules of Cyber Hygiene You Need to Know
The best practices of applying cyber hygiene are pretty much the same as the tools used to maintain high cyber security. Every tool is vital in making your system sturdier and strengthening your security. They all come together to block all the attempts of hacking, doxxing, or breaching of potential criminals.
1. Regular Back Ups
Saving our important data in the digital world has made everyone’s life much easier. However, the risk of losing your data still stands if you don’t take a step towards a proper backup. Backing your data up makes it available and stored on the cloud. Yet, you need to back up your data regularly, so you can still have access to your data in cases of malware infection or hacking attacks.
Good cyber hygiene requires the consistency of data backup in order to reduce the data loss that may occur between each backup. It also saves your latest information and makes it easy for you to recover if data loss were to happen.
2. Strong Passwords
Your password is the first line of defence against potential hacking attempts. It blocks any unauthorised access to your sensitive data or confidential information. Using a strong password is an essential tool to maintain cyber hygiene. It makes it quite challenging for hackers to guess or steal. Strong passwords require the usage of upper and lower cases along with numbers and symbols.
Another aspect to consider is using different passwords across your accounts. Even if you use a strong password and unify it across all your platforms, it jeopardises the security of your accounts and systems. In case of password stealing, your hacker will get access to all of your accounts, including your personal and financial ones.
3. Usage of File Encryption
No one is safe from the possibility of having a device stolen or lost somewhere in public. This can jeopardise your cyber security since our intelligent devices have become our secret keepers, as in data savers. In order to protect yourself from such an unfortunate event, it is essential to use file encryption software.
File encryption software is deemed one of the important practices of cyber hygiene. It functions by encrypting every file on your device, and the encryption keys are locked through a secret password. The encryption makes it harder for any unauthorised user to log into your data without confirming the password. It also locks your essential data so no one can read any of it if your device is stolen.
4. Firewalls Installation
The digital world may be evolving to make our lives faster and easier. However, the strength of cyber crimes is on the rise as well. This fact demands to ensure that your system and data are highly secured. One of the practices of cyber hygiene that makes that happen is the installation of firewalls.
Firewalls act as a sturdy defence line against the potential attacks of hackers or criminals, making it challenging for them to get access to your system or steal your data. Once the hacker encounters a firewall that denies their entry, they start looking for a weaker target.
Another function of a firewall is controlling your network traffic and blocking any unwanted ones. Consequently, it reduces the chances of being attacked by malware infection or a hack attempt. It also gets rid of any potential threat once it is detected.
5. Router Security
A lot of people neglect the importance of securing their wireless connection. If your neighbour managed to get into your WiFi network, it means compromising your devices and making way for third-party intervention. Cyber hygiene requires securing your router and WiFi network to maintain proper security.
You use several network security technologies on wireless routers to keep your network secured. WPA2 (WiFi Protected Access 2) is the security technology that is most commonly used. It blocks any unwanted traffic and controls the traffic going in and out of your network.
6. Software Update Management
Outdated software means the possible existence of several weaknesses and vulnerabilities that can be exploited to invade a system. That is why updating your software once a new version is out is always advised. New versions of software have more advanced features, error fixing, and bug fixes that add new protection layers to your devices.
If your device ever notifies you of the availability of a new update, be prompt and install it to keep your system protected. For business owners, it is definitely more challenging to keep all of your systems up to date. Thus, it is essential to use patch management software that keeps all of your systems updated automatically.
7. Antivirus Software Programs
Malware has always been cyber security’s worst enemy. They have been evolving to become much more violent, along with the emergence of a new one. One of the best tools of cyber hygiene is to make sure you install a firm antivirus software program. A virus may be one type of malware, but these programs are designed to fight off almost every kind there is.
Antivirus software works by detecting the presence of an infection and acts rapidly, getting rid of it before it inflicts any damage. They are also responsible for blocking spam and pop-up ads that can be holding malicious codes.
The best part is that the modern versions of these software programs are designed to update themselves automatically. Every new version is also built to banish the latest types of viruses and malware.