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Your Ultimate Guide To Digital Security

Updated: June 15, 2023 | Published: July 28, 2021

Updated: June 15, 2023

Published: July 28, 2021

Your Ultimate Guide To Digital Security featured image

These days, we spend a lot of time on our devices. Therefore, digital security is something that we should all take into consideration. Without digital security, hacks and data breaches are common, and they aren’t only impacting big corporations — individuals can get hacked, too. This is why it’s important to stay on top of your digital security, but in order to do that, let’s take it back to the basics.

What is Digital Security?

Digital security entails a lot of different factors, but the most basic definition is that digital security is the protection of an online identity, including the various ways to protect your devices’ internet accounts from those who want to break in. Those who break in can steal sensitive information, which can put you at risk for more trouble.

Cyber Attack Statistics

According to PurpleSec, there were 80,000 cyber attacks per day in 2018, and over 800 million malware infections that same year. Cyber attacks will only continue to get more sophisticated, leaving more and more people vulnerable.

Why is Digital Security Important?

Digital security is important for all kinds of reasons. In this age, data is gold to those who know what to do with it. Those who leave their data vulnerable and exposed to those who want to steal it, may find that they are a victim of identity theft, a stolen credit card, or something else. To avoid data spying and theft activity, SSL certificate could be an ideal choice for a website. So, buy SSL certificate today and install on your website to avoid unwelcome circumstances.

This is why it’s necessary to guard yourself with security tools as much as possible, while also understanding the different ways your data can potentially be compromised. It’s also important to understand that even if you protect yourself, another company where your data may be stored (for instance, a credit report company), can also be breached, which is why it’s important to stay on top of your data.

Digital Information Security vs. Cyber Security

Now that you’re hearing about digital information security, what’s the difference between that and the more common “cyber security”?

While digital security refers to protecting your individual online presence and protecting information, cyber security is a much broader umbrella term for all types of security in the cyber world, including networks, computers, data centers, systems, and ultimately, all things infrastructure.

Information That’s a Digital Security Risk

So, if digital security refers to information specifically, what type of information can present a digital security risk?

Here are some examples:

  • Personal Payment Data (i.e. your bank account information)
  • Personal Identification Data (i.e. your Social Security number)
  • Personal Health Data (i.e. your health history)

Source: Pixabay

What is Hacking?

Hacking is how hackers break into computer systems, highlighting vulnerabilities in those systems. Sometimes, hackers use their knowledge of technology and how to hack to steal data or threaten an organization with a data breach for ransom. They can use all sorts of methods to achieve their goal.

No one is really immune to hacking, whether it be an individual user or entire governments, which is why digital security is so important.

Benefits of Hacking

While hackers typically get a bad rap, there are some benefits to hacking, believe it or not. Hackers are sometimes used by organizations, companies, or governments to expose vulnerabilities in a security system. Think of them as “testers.”

They could also be used to track down criminals, delete information off the web that someone doesn’t want out there, or hack for social and/or political causes.

Types of Hackers

Technically, there are “good” hackers and “bad” hackers, but hackers in general fall into three labels:

  • White Hat Hackers: These are the proverbial “good” hackers that may be hired by a company to test their security systems or use their skills to participate in ethical hacking. White hat hackers can be regarded as heroes, and it thus makes a great career to go into.
  • Black Hat Hackers: These are the proverbial “bad” hackers that use their hacking skills for malicious intentions, such as stealing data from an unsuspecting person or company.
  • Gray Hat Hackers: Gray hat hackers are in between white hat and black hat hackers.

Different Ways to Hack Someone

There are so many different ways to hack someone, but the strategies typically fall into one of these three categories:

  • Program-Based Hacking: This is when a hacker finds vulnerabilities in a system and can hack it to find your information even if they are thousands of miles away.
  • Physical Access: While we tend to think of hackers doing what they do from far away, don’t forget that it’s possible to be hacked directly, i.e. someone having physical access to your devices/sensitive information.
  • Social Engineering: This is a sophisticated technique used by hackers (also sometimes referred to as “spammers”) to get you to give them your information directly, i.e. through a phishing scheme.

Source: Pixabay

How to Prevent a Hack

Knowing how to avoid a hack involves understanding the different ways someone can hack you (above), and the different digital security techniques you can use to protect yourself.

In order to prevent a hack in general and more specifically, on your devices, it’s important to understand different types of digital security, or hire someone/pay for a software that can do it for you. Don’t wait until it’s too late, but also keep in mind that unfortunately, not all hacks are entirely preventable.

Different Types of Digital Security

Digital security will look different for some people, but you should try to make it a priority as much as possible. There are various ways to implement digital security in your own life and your family’s, so you can make sure you’re all protected.

Less Aggressive Examples of Digital Security

The first step in guarding your information is to utilize less aggressive forms of digital security.

This can involve practices such as:

  • Using difficult passwords, and different passwords for each website.
  • Not sharing your passwords with anyone.
  • Change your passwords often.
  • Check websites for a security certificate.
  • Don’t click on suspicious pop-ups, links, or emails.
  • Double-check URLS.
  • Trust your gut when it comes to a website or email looking funny.
  • Use two-factor authorization on your cell phone.
  • Regularly check your bank statement to see if there has been a breach of any kind.
  • Cover your camera.
  • Don’t visit unsafe websites.
  • Constantly check your browser settings to make sure you’re not giving permissions you don’t want to give.

More Aggressive Examples of Digital Security

You can also implement more aggressive forms of digital security in order to keep your information safe. Aggressive strategies can be used by both individuals and companies.

Some examples of these strategies include:

  • Implement digital security tools such as antivirus software and/or firewalls, which you update and check often.
  • Use a password manager.
  • Use a vulnerability scanner.
  • Use remote monitoring software.
  • Use a VPN.
  • Use an identity protection/theft monitoring software.
  • Use encryption tools for chatting, web searches, and phone calls.

What To Do If Your Digital Security is Compromised

All the digital security methods in the world cannot protect you against an attack 100% of the time, unfortunately. As digital security becomes smarter, so do the hackers who want to try to find ways around that.

If you ever find yourself a victim of a hack or data breach, be sure to change your passwords and contact your bank or the company at which your data was breached. Run through all the digital security strategies (including the aggressive ones) once more to make sure you’re doing everything you can be doing to protect yourself.

Do you want to become an ethical hacker, helping companies find holes in their security systems in order to make improvements for the better? Then you might want to start with a tuition-free degree in Computer Science, which you can get at UoPeople!