Every year the internet becomes more ingrained in our everyday lives. From our vehicles and homes to our toys, we are surrounded by technology. And with this technology comes cybercrime.

2017 saw an uptick in ransomware and malware, and 2018 is expected to continue this trend. But with awareness, you can fight cybercrime and take steps to keep your data safe while still adopting new, exciting technologies.

To make 2018 a great, secure year, follow these simple tips:


Backup Your Data

We can’t predict exactly what will happen next year. However, if all your data is backed up and secure, you won’t need to be so worried about your information. Cybercriminals and social engineers constantly evolve and adapt, and their organizations grow. Ransomware is now a billion dollar industry, so before anyone can hold your data hostage, back it up!

It’s best to have at least two different backup sources in place in case one of your options fails along with whatever made you lose your data. We recommend setting up automatic backups to both an external hard drive and a cloud backup service.

You are going to hear about plenty of hacks, ransoms, and exploits in 2018, but you don’t have to be a victim as long as you keep yourself educated and prepared.


Update Your Passwords & Lock Down Your Accounts

While you’re backing up all of your data, continue to get organized and refreshed by changing all your passwords and making sure they are locked down.

If you don’t already have a password manager, now is the time to get one! Try out Dashlane, One Password, or another password manager of your choice (just make sure to Google for reviews first). Password managers make creating very strong passwords for all of your accounts a cinch, and you’ll never have to memorize another login again!


Pay Attention to New Ways to Secure Your Accounts

Now that you’ve restarted your passwords and secured them in a password manager, try not to rely on your passwords. Yes, of course, your passwords are still important, and it’s vital to keep them safe, but data breaches are still going to occur no matter how secret and private your password.

(Thankfully, you’ve backed up your data! Right?)

Luckily, in 2018, we are going to see a lot of new security tools. We are now seeing a rise in facial recognition and thumbprint protected devices. While these too have their own security flaws, these methods are a step towards change, a shift to biometrics. It will be an interesting year to see what else people come up with to replace the infamous password!


Investing in Cryptocurrencies? Keep Yourself Aware

A singular Bitcoin rose to be worth over $20,000 in the last short while, and Bitcoin futures started trading in December 2017. With the spike in interest in Bitcoin, as well as similar cryptocurrencies, there was also a predictable spike in “cryptojacking.” If you have any money invested in cryptocurrency or have a general interest in information security, cryptojacking is something you should keep yourself educated about!

Luckily, people are currently fascinated by cryptocurrency, and there is no shortage of information out there. You should feel safe to participate in this digital currency gold rush, but be sure you buy from legitimate and secure sources.


Make Sure Your IoT Devices are Secure

IoT means “Internet of Things,” and refers to any product other than the usual computers and mobile devices that connects over the internet. Some of these devices begin with the word “smart” – like “smart refrigerator” or “smart watch – but not always. Home thermostat and monitoring systems, Amazon assistants, heartrate and pedometer watches, pet collars, and even some implanted medical devices are other examples.

2017 saw several stories about IoT device errors and insecurity. As more IoT products are released onto the market, it’s safe to say that we will only see more of this in 2018.

With these smart devices being in high demand, developers may be tempted to rush the release of the product while overlooking security requirements. Cybercriminals will no doubt take advantage of any of these oversites and bugs. So before buying, thoroughly research internet-connected devices. Don’t jump on the bandwagon and buy a highly anticipated item the day it comes out. And as always, keep up with updates!

Meg Krafft

Digital Marketing Assistant at The Security Awareness Company
After starting out creating digital and print marketing for a real estate company, Meg now assists in keeping up the marketing needs for SAC. When not working she's probably watching a good movie or indulging in local art and music.

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