Low-Tech Ways to Improve Your CybersecurityA lot of people think that you have to have a lot of technical knowledge to keep yourself safe from cyberattacks. While it definitely helps if you know how to configure anti-malware programs and monitor your web traffic, you don’t have to be a computer whiz to keep your technology secure. In fact, some of the best cybersecurity tips don’t require anything more than basic computer skills, and can be implemented quickly and easily. Keep reading to learn about low-tech ways you can improve your cybersecurity.

Put tape over your webcam

Plenty of high-profile people put opaque tape or stickers over the built-in webcams of their devices, from Pope Francis to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. It’s a cheap and simple way to thwart webcam hacking, where a hacker secretly takes control of your webcam using a virus called a RAT, or remote access trojan, which can spread through infected websites and phishing messages. A hacker with access to your webcam can spy on you and, potentially, extort you for money after taking compromising photos or video. If you have an external webcam that connects to your device via a cable, you may want to go a step further and unplug the webcam completely when you aren’t using it, as some webcams also have built-in microphones that can also be hacked.

Call people to confirm messages

Receiving an unexpected message asking you to click on a link or provide personal information should always give you pause, even if it looks like it’s from a person or business you’re familiar with. Hackers who run phishing scams have a variety of ways to impersonate other people, and clicking on just one malicious link or providing a simple personal detail can open you up to the risk of identity theft. If you get a suspicious email, text message or phone call, before you do anything, call the sender yourself to confirm that the message is real. When you call, be sure to use a phone number that you already have from a past exchange, or one you get from an official source like a corporate website, to make sure that the number is accurate.

Use strong passwords

Setting passwords with low levels of complexity severely lowers the security of your online accounts, leaving you vulnerable to hacking. Weak passwords can be quickly cracked by software designed to go after common combinations of letters and numbers, and the most obvious passwords like “password” or “123456” can be easily guessed by cybercriminals. Good passwords involve combinations of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers and characters all mixed together without an obvious pattern. One technique to create a strong password is to base it on a memorable phrase, such as turning “I’d buy that for a dollar” into “IdbyT4$1UsD.” If you want to get a bit more advanced, you can use a password manager to generate and store unique passwords for you (just make sure you remember the password for the manager itself!).

Back up important files

Regularly backing up your important files isn’t just a good idea in case your computer croaks, it can also foil ransomware attacks. Ransomware viruses have been a scourge among businesses and individuals for the past several years, encrypting data and holding it hostage until the victims pay the attacker a ransom. However, if you have your important files backed up to a USB flash drive or an external hard drive, you can just wipe your computer to get rid of the virus and start from scratch. You can also back up your files to cloud-based storage for more convenience, but keep in mind that any automatic synchronization could cause the ransomware to overwrite the files you have saved in the cloud.

Put a privacy filter on mobile devices

Mobile devices let you get work done even when you’re outside the office, but working in public means that anyone can see what you’re doing, including competitors and criminals. A hacker doesn’t have to break into your computer to access your important documents or login details if they can just watch your screen, but that becomes much harder to do when you outfit your mobile device with a privacy filter. Functioning like a set of window blinds, privacy filters only let light out through a narrow angle in front of your screen, and obscure your screen when it’s viewed from the sides. While it isn’t a perfect solution, as you still have to be conscious of people snooping over your shoulder, it heavily limits the amount of space a spy has to see what you’re up to.

Stay informed

With cybersecurity methods becoming cheaper, more available and more user-friendly, the weakest link in the chain is increasingly the humans operating the technology. There’s only so much a security program can do to stop a person from giving their password to a fake website, which is why it’s important for people to stay current with the latest cybersecurity threats. Following a technology publication, such as our own technology blog or the tech section of your favorite newspaper, will give you a leg up when dealing with online scammers and hackers.

Cybersecurity isn’t just an issue for programmers and engineers; it affects everyone who uses modern technology, no matter what your skill level is. For more articles that break down the fast-paced world of tech, follow our technology blog.