Welcome to the 21st century! The century where over half of our world’s population are active Internet users. More precisely, 59% of us are using the Internet as of October 2020, according to Statista. It’s no surprise that so many of us are surfing the web, scrolling on social media, or using various apps on a daily basis.
Over the past couple of decades, Internet adaption has steadily increased. Right now, on average, people are spending about 6 hours and 42 minutes online every day. And while this may not sound like a lot, when you do the math and spread this number across the entire year, that’s more than 100 days of time spent online for each of Internet users every year.
Now, in such a digitalized world, where technology surrounds us at every step, the amount of time we spend online may not be that alarming. What’s actually worrying is the amount of personal data we share during that time we are surfing the web.
Data shows that about 58% of Americans don’t mind sharing their most sensitive data in return for using apps and online services, according to a 2019 study. So, are we all living in a digital cybersecurity paradox?
Like it or not, it’s not just businesses that are at risk of becoming victims of hackers. All Internet users face the same risk, especially since the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has been a lucrative period for hackers and cybercriminals.
And, construction professionals, and their customers, are no exception to the rule. Keep reading below to find out our five cybersecurity tips for construction professionals to protect their data and their client’s data at the same time.
#1: Use an Encrypted Network
Problem: Are you safe when using public and café Wi-Fi internet connections? If you didn’t know, you are not because these public connections aren’t encrypted.
So, whether you are using it for your laptop or your smartphone, you’re leaving hackers the opportunity to attack your device and get access to all your information and online activity.
Consequence: When using public Internet connections, you are leaving your private data exposed to cybercriminals who can hack into your device and spy on your online activity and data.
Solution: Use a VPN to protect your online activity and data by encrypting it so that others won’t be able to see it. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and it uses an encrypted connection to protect the data you either share or receive on your device when surfing the web.
#2: Use complex and strong passwords
Problem: Weak and simple passwords are really easy to be guessed by hackers, posing a major threat to your online security. Sure, simple passwords, like your birthdate, your pet’s name, or your mother’s name are really easy, are really easy to remember when logging into your accounts. Yet, if they are easy for you to remember, they are also easy for hackers to guess.
Consequence: Weak and simple passwords make a hacker’s job really easy. They can easily guess them and access your email, social media accounts or get access to even more sensitive data such as your financial information.
Solution: To make sure that your accounts are protected, use different passwords for each of them. Also, when creating a password, make sure it’s complex and hard to guess. In other words, the more difficult it is for you to remember your passwords, the stronger and more difficult to guess it probably is.
To create complex passwords, use both lowercase and uppercase letters, special characters, numbers, and stay away from words anyone could think of if you are specifically targeted by hackers.
#3: Don’t click on pop-ups or unknown links
Problem: It only takes clicking on a link to become a victim of phishing. So, no, by no means should you click on every link you receive, especially if it’s from a source you do not know or trust, be it business or individual.
Hackers create malicious links they then send to you to create a security breach and compromise all your personal data. Yet, they can’t create this breach if you don’t click on the link that they send to you.
Consequence: Malicious links sent to you by cybercriminals can mess with your online security if you click on them. Those links contain viruses and malware, which create that security breach that allows hackers to infiltrate your computer network and access your most sensitive data.
Solution: Do not click on links or pop-ups you receive from unknown or suspicious sources.
#4: Use Antivirus software
Problem: Hackers conduct malicious attacks not only through such links. You can invite online security danger by simply downloading stuff online. The things you download may contain viruses, which can wreak havoc on your online privacy.
Consequence: Hackers can use different forms of viruses, including bugs and worms, which, when deployed in your device, cause some serious damage to your data. Viruses can both delete your data, compromise it, or make it visible to hackers.
Problem: Not only is your computer at risk of being targeted by hackers. Your mobile devices are just as vulnerable. You should also use these online security practices to protect your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
Consequence: The data and folders you have on your computer are likely also on your mobile devices. If you don’t protect your mobile devices as well, you allow hackers to access your data by hacking them.
Solution: Use all these online security practices on your mobile devices as well. Use strong passwords, don’t open weird links, and use antivirus software to protect your mobile devices from cybercriminals.
Whether you are a business or an average Internet user, you should know how to protect your online activity and data from hackers. In fact, if you are a brand, your responsibility to protect the data of your clients as well is twice bigger.
With cyber threats on the rise over the last couple of years, now is the best time to use these five online security best practices to strengthen your online privacy and security.