Recently, cyberattacks against both everyday consumers and corporate employees are becoming more and more frequent. These attacks are gaining media attention and have had important and harmful consequences for consumers. Rady School of Management’s associate professor of innovation, technology and operations Terrence August, who currently studies the interaction of digital piracy and security risk, recently shared his expert advice on some ways for consumers to protect themselves from hackers . We’ve compiled his top tips to help keep you safe from future cyberattacks.
1. Be an intelligent consumer. One of the best weapons a hacker has is the knowledge that consumers generally do not take basic precautions to protect themselves. August advises consumers to become aware of precautionary measures to protect their personal information and remain updated on the latest precautions.
2. Keep software updated. Large companies regularly release updated versions of their software with security patches to protect consumers. According to August, updating your software promptly after the release of new versions protects you as an individual consumer while also serving as a deterrent to hackers by establishing a better-protected population.
3. Use less popular software. Hackers have incentives to target software with the largest user base in hopes of receiving large payoffs. August recommends that consumers consider using functionally-equivalent but less popular software, such as Safari or Opera instead of Chrome or Firefox, to reduce their individual risk.
4. Diversify your interfaces. August advises, for example, using a mix of cloud and on-premises software. “The distinct risk profiles help to diversify the risk being faced,” August said.
5. Regularly run security programs. August advises consumers to make use of security programs and antivirus software by regularly running them on both business and personal computers.
6. Be wary of public networks. Public Wi-Fi networks are not always secure and may be susceptible to hacking. August recommends that consumers use caution and discretion when connecting to public networks.
7. Use a VPN. When connecting to a public Wi-Fi network, use a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN adds security by allowing users to encrypt traffic when connected to a public network.
8. Only install essential applications on your mobile device. “My recommendation is to only install and use critical mobile applications from trustworthy sources,” said August. August also advises that consumers carefully read the permissions being granted when installing a mobile application.
Additional advice from August can be read in the full article with the LA Times online here.