Cyber Security protects us when we're online. With the rapid expansion of technology, more people than ever before are live and active online – this gives computer hackers more incentive and even more ways to steal data simply because there's more of it around. As a result, it's become more essential than ever to stay safe online.
There's so much media coverage about breaching of data and hacking, and with claims of breaches on the rise, it can be challenging to know what's fact and what's fiction in the world of Cyber Security. So, we have to bust some myths to help you stay safe online!
A Firewall On It's Own Can't Keep the Network Secure!
This is in fact true, a firewall is software that protects your computer from outside attacks.
There are two types of firewalls: hardware and software. To give you an idea of what these are, think of your computer set up at home – your router is the hardware device, while a PC will contain an integrated software firewall. While this typical setup may seem pretty secure at first… it isn't always necessarily the case. Most users don't always install updates for the router that contain the security patches that manufacturers put out, which means you don't have the full protection you think you have. So, when that little notification pops up in the corner of your screen asking you to update your software, make sure to stay vigilant.
Here some helpful links on keeping your computer updated:
Viruses And Malware Can Only Affect Computer or Laptops
Unfortunately this is not true, all smartphones, tablets and mobile devices can be affected by malware and viruses. Nearly anything that can connect to the internet can be targeted so be sure to have protection on all devices. Most antivirus software and other protection packages now offer protection on all devices including mobiles and tablets.
A study in 2018 showed that there had been an increase in 33% of the amount of mobiles being infected compared to the previous year.
Antivirus Software is Enough to Protect You!
False, running a single antivirus software program is not enough to keep you protected – it's a bit like expecting your winter flu jab to keep you protected from other illnesses when it only really covers you against the flu.
Although most antivirus programs do a decent job of protecting your computer against viruses, it can be a bit hit and miss against the many other malware threats out there, including adware, spyware, browser hijackers, trojans and ransomware – it all sounds pretty scary right?!
It's not worth losing sleep over, so don't worry too much! You'll need to ensure that you regularly keep your antivirus program updated and install an anti-malware program. Adware and spyware are becoming increasingly common, but as they don't behave like a typical virus, they can escape detection from your usual antivirus software.
So, make sure you choose an anti-malware program that will keep a close eye on things lurking in the background and run a proper check once a week to stay fully protected.
Computer Hacking is for Professionals Only
This is false, we've all seen the movies where the computer hacker is a coding genius, and after a quick bash on the keyboard, they quickly gain entry into a locked-down government network. Although Hollywood has made it look like you need to be a tech genius to hack, the reality is much more worrying! There are plenty of hackers out these days who only have basic computer skills, but a good understanding of code and how to use it can cause havoc!
But don't worry – you can still protect yourself with the latest anti-hacking software, which is designed to look for and automatically guard you from anything that seems a little fishy.
Using a Password is Enough!
True - Using passwords is enough to keep you protected, but you must choose the right type of password and update it when prompted, so you're not an easy target. These days everything online requires you to enter a password, and it can be super annoying to have to think up a fresh one that's clever enough to keep you protected.
Although you obviously want to keep your accounts safe, sometimes the password you choose can be causing the issue in itself. Using personal information directly linked to you, like your date of birth, your pet's name or even worse – the dreaded 'Password1', can be easy for a hacker to crack and steal your information!
To help protect you from this, lots of companies now encourage users to enable two-factor-authentication (also known as 2FA), which requires you to sign in using a simple code sent to an additional device (in most cases, it's your smartphone).
You can also use random password generators that would take the average bot years to crack – long enough for your password to have expired and for you to have already changed it! Alternatively, using three random and unrelated words is a reliable way to make a password and secure your data!
HTTPS is Always Secure!
Nope, this one's false. If you've ever done your banking or shopping online, you've definitely come across an HTTPS site. HTTPS (or HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure) protects your data by encrypting it while it's being transmitted. But remember, although HTTPS is pretty secure, it's by no means perfect.
To stay safe, always check the security of the site you're using. Hackers are clever and have created identical pages of your bank, PayPal and social media accounts that will say you've signed out unexpectedly, and you'll need to re-enter your details – these are fake and are designed to steal your login information.
If you are ever worried that something doesn't seem quite right, close the tab and go back through your usual routine to bring up the site that you trust.
If you find this interesting, you may be inspired in progressing your career in an industry that covers these topics. Find out more about our Cyber Security course here: