Best Cyber Security Tips for 2018

Looking to sink your teeth into some good security tips you can actually apply?

Today’s collection of action-ready cyber security advice might be just what you need.

There are no less than 40 ways in which you can improve your online safety and they’re all FREE to use and apply.
You’ll be surprised of the things you can do to better secure your data! All it takes is spending some time reading the right things and adjusting a few settings.

Applying these security tips feels just as good as digging into a plate of hot, fluffy, syrupy pancakes. Seriously, you have to try it!
Cyber Security Tip #1: How to be realistic about your online presence

Understand that you’re an attractive target for cyber criminals.

If you have money (doesn’t matter how much), data (usernames, passwords, documents, emails, etc.) or a place to work, you’re going to be targeted.

It’s not even personal, as cyber criminals automate most of their attacks.

Don’t ever say “it can’t happen to me.”

Cyber Security Tip #2: The basics of safe online shopping

Online shopping safety: never do it from a device that isn’t yours or on a network you don’t own.

Your data could be copied and harvested by cyber criminals.

Make sure you’re the only one spending your money by:

Using safe network
Employing strong passwords (password managers FTW!)
Being careful about which websites you shop at
Never saving your card details in an online account
Verifying your transactions weekly to make sure there’s nothing fishy going on.
Want more tips? Get them here: All the Actionable Tips You Need to Safely Shop Online.

Cyber Security Tip #3: Should you plug that in?

Careful on what you plug into your computer.

Never use a USB whose source you don’t know! It can be infected with malware that can even resist formatting.

Don’t let curiosity get the best of you.

Cyber Security Tip #4: Who’s that friend request from?

Facebook friends or foes?

Cyber criminals often create fake profiles to befriend you. The ultimate goal is to get you to leak confidential data to them (either about you or the company you work for). Be careful of the friend requests you accept.

Trust no Facebook friend (unless you know them in real life and you’re absolutely, positively sure they can be trusted).

Cyber Security Tip #5: How to protect your passwords in real life

Who’s looking over your shoulder?

Did you know that bystanders or co-workers can steal your passwords only by peeking at what you’re typing?

This is especially true is your passwords are as easy as 123456 (please change them if it’s the case).

Take a look around and make sure everything’s safe before typing a password. Also: NEVER share your passwords. Ever.

Cyber Security Tip #6: You still need antivirus (yes, really)

Get protection for your connection!

Do a bit of research and choose an antivirus you trust.
Paid is better than free.
Antivirus is still very necessary, so don’t skip it.

How to do it: What Is the Best Antivirus for My PC? A Step-By-Step Research Guide.

Cyber Security Tip #7: Get your 2-FA on

Use 2-factor authentication everywhere you can.
Set it up to receive authentication codes via sms or on an authenticator app.

Moar layers = moar securiteh!

How to do it: Why You Should Start Using Two-Factor Authentication Now

Cyber Security Tip #8: Keep it in check

Check your bank statements on a weekly basis (your online banking can help you do that easily).

Look for suspicious activity and, if any, alert your bank, change all passwords related to that account and make sure to activate every security measure available.

Financial malware lurks just around the corner.

Cyber Security Tip #9: Lock it up

Never leave your laptop/smartphone/tablet unlocked while you’re away.

Don’t make it so easy for anyone to get into your system.

Set up a password for your account asap (it’ll only take 2-3 minutes).

Cyber Security Tip #10: How to protect what matters

Prioritize your most sensitive accounts.

Here’s a quick list:

Online banking / Paypal
Amazon / other ecommerce website you use
Any account where you’ve put in your card details
Any account that has sensitive info (social security number, address, phone no., etc.).
Secure them with strong passwords + two-factor authentication.

Make it as difficult as possible for anyone other than yourself to access them.

Be a cyber security ninja!

Cyber Security Tip #11: Cleaning out your closet

Here’s a tip that applies to both your wardrobe and your apps: if you haven’t used it in the past 6 months, it should go.

Clean out old apps you don’t use to get rid of vulnerabilities that cyber criminals can exploit.

Keep it fresh!

Cyber Security Tip #12: A cure for your Internet addiction

How badly do you need to use someone else’s computer?

You can never know if someone else’s computer is infected with malware, has a keylogger (that tracks and stores everything you type on the keyboard) or is simply unsafe.

Stick to your own devices as much as possible.

Cyber Security Tip #13: Trace your digital steps

Do an inventory of your digital footprint.

Step 1: Make a list of online accounts.
Step 2: Set strong passwords for them. All of them.
Step 3: Delete the accounts you haven’t used in the past 6 months.

Decluttering feels goooood!

Cyber Security Tip #14: Why paranoia can be good

It’s okay to be (a little) paranoid.

Being aware of what’s going on, online and offline, can help you keep safe from compromise.
Simple rules to live by online:
If it sounds/looks too good to be true, it’s probably not true.
If it looks fishy, better stay away.
If someone asks for your confidential data, don’t give it to them.

In small doses, paranoia is a good thing.

Cyber Security Tip #15: Ulterior motives

Linkedin recruiter or attacker in disguise?

Cyber criminals often create fake Linkedin profiles to gain access to details about you that they can use later. They collect data about your studies, names of employers and connections, etc.

Check out their profiles before accepting their connection request. Warning signs to look for:

too little, generic info
picture that looks like stock photography
Very few connections.

Cyber Security Tip #16: How to automate software updates for free

Did you know that updating your apps can prevent 85% or targeted attacks? (According to US-CERT.)

Rule of thumb: keep your operating system and your applications up to date. All. The. Time. No exceptions!

Don’t have time / don’t feel like dealing with constant updates for your apps? Get Heimdal FREE and let it do it for you.

Update me, baby, one more time!

Cyber Security Tip #17: Beef up your passwords

One of the key pieces of advice that all cyber security specialists give is so simple it’ll blow your mind:

Never, ever (ever, ever, ever!) reuse passwords!

And don’t think that choosing “password123” and “passwords1234” means you’re doing it right.

This is what a good password looks like (but don’t use this one): c.*%7(:wQ,28{T^7

Online password generator:
Check your passwords’ strength:

Can’t remember them? (Of course you can’t. I can’t either.) Use a password manager.

Cyber Security Tip #18: Be wary of social engineering

Social engineering is quite big with cyber criminals.

What it is: a type of psychological manipulation to get people to bypass normal security procedures or divulge confidential information.

How it can happen:

At home: someone pretending to be from your bank can call to ask you for your online banking password via a link provided by that person. Your password could be harvested and then used to empty your account.
In the workplace: a contractor your company works with asks for private company information that grants access into your system.
In both cases, you answer should be a big, fat NO. Check with your boss and double check info directly with any company/institution before providing any confidential info.

Cyber Security Tip #19: Ransomware 101

Ransomware is one of the biggest cyber threats out there. What it does is it encrypts ALL your data and locks you out. It also asks for a ransom, typically between $200 and $500, to give you de decryption key.

To protect yourself against ransomware, do this:

Do frequent data backups (in multiple locations)
Don’t keep vital information only on your computer
Never access .zip attachments in e-mails from unknown senders
Don’t click links in e-mails from unknown senders
Keep your OS and apps up to date at all times
Use a reliable antivirus
Add another layer of security with a product that protects you from attacks that antivirus can’t block (Heimdal PRO is an option).
Wanna know more? Check out this anti-ransomware protection guide.

Cyber Security Tip #20: Too good to be hacked

A lot of people think:

“I don’t need security programs because I don’t access unsafe locations.”

First of all, even legit websites can be compromised.
Second of all, there are plenty of attacks that happen without user action (aka clicking on something, downloading data, etc.) – they’re called drive-by attacks.
Third, even if you were a cyber security expert, there are still plenty of vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit to get to you.

To be safe online is quite similar to driving your car. You may have common sense and pay attention to potential dangers, but can you always predict what others are doing around you, in traffic?

Don’t think you’re too good to be hacked. You’re not. No one is. (Sorry to burst your bubble there.)


Cyber Security Tip #21: Gone phishing

Cyber criminals are very creative about their malicious methods. Take phishing for example.

It’s an attempt to gather sensitive information (usernames, passwords, card details, etc.) by impersonating a trustworthy entity.

Attackers can pose as your bank, you Internet provider, your insurance company, etc.

Basic online security settings can help you keep safe:

Regular OS and apps updates
Strong passwords
Reviewing bank statements on a regular schedule
Checking senders’ email addresses
Double checking the info in the potential phishing email with the issuing entity.
Looking for more detailed advice? Review the ABCs of Detecting and Preventing Phishing.

Cyber Security Tip #22: Do you https?

How can you tell if a website can securely handle your data?

Check if it starts with https.

The added “s” is key here. A website starting with https encrypts the data you put in the website and the data you get from it, so that no one can eavesdrop or tamper with the data flow.

If a website doesn’t start with https, don’t give them confidential info (card details, social security number, address, etc.).

Cyber Security Tip #23: No PUPs allowed

Hang on, I’m not puppy haters.

PUA / PUP (potentially unwanted application / potentially unwanted program) is a software that you may not have installed willingly, as sometimes it comes bundled with free apps. (Nothing is ever free – keep that in mind.)
Although it doesn’t cost anything to use it, a PUA / PUP may display pop-ups (uhg!) or even install a toolbar in your browser of choice. It can even go so far as to replace your default search engine.

This type of software can become malicious over time, if cyber criminals get a hold of it. So the fix is to uninstall it.

And next time you install an app, go to advanced settings and make sure nothing else is installed without your consent.

Cyber Security Tip #24: Oversharing and identity theft

I bet you love sharing stuff on social media. Who doesn’t?
You may even have a blog.

But oversharing can influence your online security aka make you a target for cyber criminals.

When it’s SO easy to gather info about you, why wouldn’t they?

Data like phone numbers, names of relatives, your pet’s name, credit card info and more can be collected and put together to:

Attack your accounts
Compromise your accounts
Empty your credit card
Send spam and malware from your computer or email address.
If you’re looking to prevent identity theft, here’s your go-to guide: How to Prevent Identity Theft in 20 Essential Steps.

Cyber Security Tip #25: Give me email security!

Email – the place we call home when we go online. The contact we use for all our other accounts. The place we store everything from conversations with loved ones to documents and personal info.

It’s invaluable!

Can you imagine someone breaking into it?

If you want air-tight security for your email account, check the following:

Your recovery information
Your recent activity
Your account permissions
Your app passwords
Your 2-step verification settings.
More actionable tips included in the Complete Guide to Email Security.

Cyber Security Tip #26: Less spam, less problems

Is spam clogging your inbox?

There are a couple of things you can do to weed most of it out and keep your inbox and devices safe:

Be careful where you submit your email address
Unsubscribe from any unnecessary newsletters
Use filters and mark emails as spam to help your email provider block it more effectively
NEVER click on links in spam emails
NEVER download and open attachments in spam emails
Disable the automatic downloading of HTML graphics in your mails
Open an additional email account to keep your most important one safe
When using social media, enhance your privacy settings so no one can see your email account
If you have a website, protect your email address from automatically being scanned and harvested by spammers.
Spam campaigns are still one of the main attack vectors that cyber criminals use, so less spam means you’ll be a bit more secure.

More on this: Analysis – How Malware Creators Use Spam to Maximize Their Impact.

Cyber Security Tip #27: 3 good security habits

Take up these 3 security habits to be safer online:

Use antivirus on your computer and on your phone.
Disconnect your computer from the Internet when you aren’t using it.
Never, ever share your passwords.
Also, teach your family and friends what you know. They could find the advice useful.

Cyber Security Tip #28: Your phone is smart, but is it secure?

Many neglect smartphone security, but with so much sensitive data on it, you should everything you can to keep it safe. Here a few basic and vital steps to take:

Turn on your screen lock and use it at all times.
Use encryption to protect confidential information stored on your phone.
Turn your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off when you don’t use them.
Install an antivirus for smartphones (if your phone allows it – Android phones do).
Check permissions before installing an app.
Don’t install rogue apps.
Back up your data.
Don’t do it like this guy:

Cyber Security Tip #29: Ramp up your privacy

Privacy = security

But privacy can improve your security.

Get it done: use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to protect your online identity and activity. Useful if you have to use public Wi-Fi or want to be anonymous online.

This will help provide an additional layer of data encryption that can keep your safe from MitM (Man in the Middle) attacks.

Cyber Security Tip #30: Bad, bad ads

Did you know that attackers can inject malicious code or malware-filled ads into legit online advertising networks and websites?

This tactic is called malvertising and it can get your computer infected with all sorts of malware, Trojans, and so on.

How it happens: you browse your favorite website at and there are many ads on it. But one is infected. The malicious code in the ad will search for vulnerabilities in your system. If it finds one (and it’s not difficult to do so), it’ll infect your computer with malware.

What to do?

Use an adblocker.
Use a reliable antivirus.
Use protection against attacks that antivirus can’t block.
I already learned 20 new ways to improve my online security! 101 tips to go!

Cyber Security Tip #31: How to check for fake social media profiles

Here’s a simple way to check if a social profile is fake or not.

Step 1: Download the profile picture.

Step 2: Use or Google image search to see if that profile pic is a stock photo or if someone else has used it. If it’s fake, lots of results will pop up.

google search by image 2

Step 3:

delete request

Cyber Security Tip #32: How to weed out untrusted sources

There’s an app for that. But where does it comes from?

Never, EVER install apps, on your computer, phone or tablet from untrusted sources.

If a website looks like this, navigate away immediately:

dangerous website

Make sure you have this turned on your Android phone or tablet:

And never tap “Install” on apps like these on your iPhone/iPad:

installing ios apps from other sources

Rule of thumb: always use official websites and official app stores to download and install apps. Fake apps can pack malware, adware and other types of infections you do not want on your PC/tablet/phone.

Cyber Security Tip #33: Why social check-ins are not harmless

That’s not the question. Because the answer is a big, fat NO.

Don’t check in at the airport when you’re leaving for a vacation.
Don’t check in on Instagram when you take those holiday pics.

The more data there is about you online, the more cyber criminals can gather and use to compromise you. And even common criminals can use this information to break into your house while you’re away.

And, whatever you do, do not check in while you’re at home! Why would you want strangers to know your exact location?

Cyber Security Tip #34: Make your browsing more secure in 1 minute

Install HTTPS Everywhere for:

This free extension will encrypt your communication with many major websites, thus increasing your browsing security.

The data you send and receive from the websites will be encrypted, so cyber criminals won’t be able to snoop on the information transfer and steal your data (credit card information, email address, passwords, etc.).

More details here:

Cyber Security Tip #35: Stay away from bad neighborhoods

Nobody will brag about the fact that they navigate in shady online places. But we all know that’s not true, because it starts with P2P sharing websites and ends who knows where.

Yes, I know you can’t wait to see that new show or movie, but P2P sharing websites are still dangerous.

See those pics of strangely intriguing topics? Cyber criminals can infect those banners with malware, even if the rest of the website is clean. And you don’t even have to click to get infected.

The whole thing is called fileless malware, you should read about it.


Cyber Security Tip #36: The extent of your security

It’s time for an extension check!

Cyber criminals target outdated plugins or browser extensions in most of their cyber attacks. That’s because we, as users, often leave them out of date or simply forget about them.

Go to the browsers you use and uninstall/delete old browser plugins and extensions, and make sure the ones you use are up to date.

Put out the fire before it starts. 😉

PS: If you want to go all the way, follow these recommendations.

Cyber Security Tip #37: Cyber crime as a business

You’ve probably never thought of this, but cyber criminals do run their operations like a business. They:

Search for new ways to monetize their attacks (sell data on the Dark Web, purchase new types of ransomware that is impossible to break, etc.);
Monitor their income and use all kinds of tactics to expand their reach, harvest more data and launch stronger and more lucrative attacks;
Hire blackhat hackers to do it (they’re the bad kind, because there are good hackers too – the whitehat kind);
Invest in acquiring infrastructure they can use to launch attacks and keep them anonymous;
Buy exploit kits and ready-made malware that can be deployed instantly.
Malware creators often sell their malicious code, which is often modular and comes with pre-coded targets ready to be infected. Consequently, the malware economy is kept alive through this way of doing “business”.

But it’s also constantly fed by the vulnerable systems that exist (because people and companies don’t keep their software updated and don’t implement enough protection for their data).

Now you know.

Cyber Security Tip #38: What a phishing email looks like

Ever wondered what a phishing email looks like?

Maybe you’ve already seen one, but didn’t know it was a malicious attempt to collect your personal data.

So here are the elements you should watch out for:

Serious websites will never display your email address in the subject line
Check out the sender’s email to verify the validity of the email
Don’t be scared or pressured into clicking on anything, even though the email may seem urgent (the more urgent the email, the higher the chances of infection).
This is quite a poorly designed phishing attempt, but there are others which really look like the real deal. But don’t be fooled and always check links before you click (how to do it – in the next security tip!).

Cyber Security Tip #39: Check it before you click it

Check if a link is safe before you click it:

If you use a reliable antivirus solution, this may also help you detect if a website is dangerous to your security and/or privacy. It may do so by displaying a green icon next to Google search results or by blocking pages if they’re unsafe.

Potentially harmful links may come to you via:

Facebook, Twitter and other social networking links
Instant messaging apps
Spam (which is also email, I know), etc.
More about this: How Traffic Filtering Can Secure your PC from Cyber Threats.

Cyber Security Tip #40: There’s a scam for that

On the Internet, if it’s free or sounds too good to be true, you should be highly suspicious.

The web is plagued by thousands of scams, some simple, some very elaborate, but all aimed at one thing: getting your money.

And the astonishing fact is that the same, notorious scams still work.

Here’s a quick example:

emirates scam


What to do?

Learn about them and stay away from them. Start here: Social Scams – The Full Breakdown and Protection Plan.


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