Essential Tips for Security In the Digital World (2024)

The Internet, computers, smartphones, other digital devices and new applications are now an integral part of our lives. However, rapidly advancing technology in the digital world also brings with it different security problems. Naturally, we want to make sure that our personal information and other sensitive data is safe at every step we take.

In this article, we will talk about our part of digital security and focus on basic tips to stay safe in the digital world. We will examine what we can do to act safely in the digital world by seeking answers to the questions of what is digital security, why is it important, what are the threats and risks we may encounter in the digital world. If you want to be more aware and prepared against digital threats, let’s get started.

What is Digital Security?

Digital security can be defined as the measures and practices taken to protect computers, networks, mobile devices and other digital systems, data, software and services from malicious attacks, data leaks and damages.

As information technologies develop, we are introduced to many digital products and services that make our lives easier and we use them in our daily and business lives. As access to digital data and systems becomes more widespread and complex, digital security becomes increasingly important for individuals, businesses and governments.

Digital security is actually an umbrella concept that covers many different areas. Data security, network security, application security, password security, social engineering measures all form part of our digital security. Therefore, it is of great importance to develop effective digital security strategies and to inform and educate individuals and institutions.

What are the Threats and Risks in the Digital World?

There are many threats and risks in the digital world. But don’t let this scare you; It is possible to exist in the digital world without any problems by being aware of threats and risks and taking appropriate security measures

The way to a solution is through correct information. Now let’s take a look at the most basic threats and risks you may encounter in the digital world:

Malicious Software (Malware)

Malicious software such as viruses, trojans, ransomware and spyware can infiltrate computer systems and cause data loss or take control of the device.

Identity Theft

Malicious people can commit fraud by seizing other people’s identity information or social media accounts. Such a situation may lead to financial losses, loss of reputation and violation of personal privacy.

Social Engineering

Social engineering is a method of psychological manipulation that aims to mislead people into obtaining sensitive information or identity information, and unfortunately it is very effective. You can consider phone scams and e-mail scams, which we encounter frequently, as social engineering.

Network Attacks

DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks can cause service interruptions and data loss by generating massive traffic on networks and websites.

Data Leaks

Attackers can leak personal information or trade secrets by gaining unauthorized access to sensitive data. Such leaks can lead to improper use of individual data, damage to corporate reputation and legal problems.

Weak Passwords and Weak Authentication Problems

Weak passwords and authentication methods you use on shopping sites, social media accounts, wi-fi networks or membership-subscription applications may lead to your accounts being taken over by malicious people.

Software Security Vulnerabilities

Vulnerabilities in software or operating systems may allow attackers to infiltrate the system or access data.

Cloud Security Issues

Where data is stored in cloud services, cyber attacks or service outages against cloud providers can damage the data.

Mobile Device Security

If necessary precautions are not taken, mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets may be threatened through data loss or malicious applications.

What is Password Security?

We use many passwords to verify our identity in the digital world, prevent unauthorized access and ensure data security. You can think of passwords as the lock system needed to protect a house. The weaker your lock system, the greater the risk of a burglar breaking into your home.

Password security; It is a concept that includes the creation, use and protection of passwords, which are the most important security element to protect your accounts, systems and data in the digital world. 

If we use the house analogy again, you should pay the same attention to your passwords as you do to your locks and keys, create secure passwords, use them correctly and not share them with anyone.

What is the Importance of Strong Passwords?

Using strong passwords is of great importance to protect your digital security and privacy. You can better protect your personal information, financial assets and online privacy by using strong passwords for your social media, email accounts, bank accounts, mobile devices or Wi-Fi connections. 

You can also further increase the security of your accounts by taking additional security measures such as double-factor authentication.

How to Create a Strong Password?

To create a strong password, you need to pay attention to three basic features: “complexity”, “length” and “uniqueness”. Let’s examine what you need to do to create strong passwords that will make your accounts more secure:

  • Create complex passwords: Use combinations of uppercase letters (AZ) and lowercase letters (az) when creating your passwords. Add digits (0-9). Use special characters (for example, !, @, #, $, %, etc.). Adding at least a few special characters will increase your security.
  • Choose a long password: If there is no restriction on the number of characters, try to create a password that contains at least 12 characters. Remember, the longer the password, the stronger it is.
  • Stay away from easy-to-guess information: Do not create passwords based on personal information such as names, dates of birth, nicknames or frequently used words. Such information can be easily guessed.
  • Create unique passwords: Avoid using the same password on multiple accounts. Create different and unique passwords for each account.
  • Use meaningless words and strings: Avoid using consecutive letters or strings of numbers (for example, “123456” or “abcdef”) in your password. Although such sequences make it easier to remember, they reduce the security of your password.
  • Use password generator or password management tools: You can use reliable password generators or password management applications to create complex passwords. Such tools allow you to generate randomly strong passwords and manage large numbers of passwords.
  • Use two-step authentication: Enable two-step authentication (2FA) for your accounts. Thus, you can create an extra layer for the security of your accounts.

Password Management Tools

Creating different passwords for our different accounts is very important for our security in the digital world. However, it is quite difficult to remember all the passwords we have. Saving our passwords on papers, notebooks, our phones or computers is also a very risky storage method. You should definitely stay away from doing this. At this point, password management tools come into play.

Password management tools are useful software that allows you to create, store and manage unique and strong passwords. By using a password management tool, you can create different passwords for your different accounts and access your passwords securely without having to remember them. You can review the most preferred password management tools from the list below:

  • LastPass: One of the most preferred password management tools, LastPass is a password management tool with free and premium versions that can be used with web browser add-ons and mobile applications. It can be synchronized between different devices and used on multiple devices. It securely stores your passwords and fills them in automatically.
  • Dashlane: Dashlane helps you create strong passwords and lets you log in automatically. Additionally, it can also store identity information and payment information.
  • 1Password: 1Password is a powerful password management tool designed for individuals and families. In addition to storing your passwords, it also securely protects other sensitive data. It is one of the best options for Mac and IOS users.
  • Bitwarden: Bitwarden is an open source and free password management tool. There is also the option of hosting on your own server. This feature provides more security.
  • Keeper: Keeper is a password management tool used to store passwords and other sensitive data. Different versions and features are available.

2FA and Biometric Authentication

Using strong passwords is a very important step for digital security. However, it is possible to further increase your security by adding simple but effective authentication layers.

What is Two-Step Authentication?

Two-step authentication (2FA) is a security measure that requires the use of two separate authentication factors when accessing an account. The main purpose of 2FA is to increase account security and make it harder for malicious actors to access accounts simply by capturing passwords.

Your username and password are the first of these authentication methods. The second authentication factor is a verification code. This verification code can be sent to your e-mail address, sent as an SMS or generated by the mobile application. Biometric data such as fingerprint or facial recognition can also be used as a second authentication factor.

How to Set Up 2FA?

The steps followed to configure the 2FA settings for your accounts may differ slightly. That’s why it’s important to review each service’s settings. You can usually find 2FA settings in the menu item titled “Security” or “Password and Security” and activate the two-step authentication system by following the prompts.

For example, if you want to set up 2FA on e-Government Gateway, you must first have a phone number verified with the identity defined in your e-Government Gateway account. Then, you can open the e-Government Gateway from your browser and make your 2FA settings through the transaction menu named “Two-Step Login Procedures” on the “My Password and Security Settings” page.

Additionally, if you want to set up 2FA on your Google account, you can use an app like Google Authenticator or Authy. These applications allow you to generate a new verification code when you log in to your Google account.

What are the Pros of Biometric Authentication?

Biometric data such as fingerprints, retina scan, facial recognition or voice analysis are unique for each individual. It ensures that authentication is highly reliable and precise. In addition, it is more secure than traditional authentication methods in that it offers a user-friendly and fast authentication experience, allows access to accounts and devices without the need for passwords or PINs, and prevents unauthorized access.​

Avoiding Phishing Attacks

While the digital world offers many opportunities that make our lives easier, cyber crimes are also increasing. One of these cyber crimes is called “phishing” , in other words “phishing”. 

It is of great importance to be aware of phishing attacks and to know what we should do, which can cause many problems, from theft of personal information to identity theft, from financial losses to loss of reputation, if we are not careful.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is a type of cyberattack that describes attempts by cybercriminals to obtain sensitive information by using fake or malicious messages to mislead their victims. Scammers try to reach you via a fake website, email or SMS to steal your personal information or credit card information.

How to Avoid Phishing Attacks?

There are many precautions you can take to protect against phishing attacks. However, always keep in mind that the most important defense tool for your digital security is knowledge and education, and being careful and suspicious will protect you from risks.

You can take the following precautions to avoid phishing attacks:

  • Carefully review emails that come from an unfamiliar or unexpected source. Try to recognize suspicious emails that contain spelling errors, use of strange language, or ask for personal information.
  • Before clicking on links in emails, verify that the link actually goes where it is supposed to go. You can use methods such as hovering the cursor over the link to see the target of the link or copying and pasting the link into your browser.
  • Never open suspicious email attachments. Attackers may send attachments that may contain malware or viruses.
  • Do not share sensitive information such as bank information, passwords and social security numbers through dubious websites.
  • Before replying to emails or messages, make sure they are from a reliable source. Contact directly by visiting the official website of the relevant institution, especially for messages that require access to your financial or personal accounts.
  • Use strong passwords and enable two-step authentication when accessing your online accounts.
  • Protect your computer from malware by using antivirus software.

How to Check for Suspicious Emails?

When you receive a suspicious email, you can follow these steps:

  • When you receive a suspicious email, check the sender address to determine whether the message actually relates to the sender or organization.
  • If e-mail messages contain information requested by a government organization or service, visit the official website of that organization directly or contact the appropriate people to verify those requests.
  • Phishing emails often contain language and spelling errors. Read the texts carefully and look for meaningless or incorrect expressions.
  • If you are not sure, do not click on links or open attachments in the email. These links may redirect you to fake websites and capture your personal information.

Mobile Device Security

Mobile devices have long had functionality beyond just communicating. We carry out many of the operations we need in our daily lives, including access to information, entertainment, productivity, financial transactions, and content sharing, through our smartphones and tablets. 

These small but smart devices contain many sensitive data such as our personal information, contact data, photos, personal and financial information. That’s why we need to take the necessary precautions against the risks of theft and loss, as well as against malicious software and applications.

Strategies to Keep Your Mobile Device Safe

You can take the following precautions to keep your mobile devices safe:

  • Use a strong password and biometric authentication.
  • Regularly update your device’s operating system and the applications you use. Updates close security vulnerabilities.
  • Download apps from official app stores.
  • Review app permissions. If an app requests unnecessary or excessive permissions, be careful about downloading or using it.
  • If possible, enable remote wiping and locking features on your mobile device. These features will help you protect your data in case of loss or theft.
  • Beware of links and additional files from unknown sources. When you receive a suspicious or unexpected email or message, be careful not to click on links.
  • Public Wi-Fi networks can be insecure and vulnerable to cyber attacks. Consider using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or opt for mobile data usage when using such networks.
  • Install security software that can detect malware on your mobile device and run regular scans.
  • Back up your data regularly so you don’t lose your data if your device is damaged or lost.
  • Be wary of calls and spam messages from unknown numbers. Learn to block these types of messages and calls.

Application Security

Mobile applications allow us to make our mobile devices more functional and perform our daily tasks more easily and quickly. We install many applications on our smartphones, some of which we use every day and some of which we have almost forgotten. 

For our digital security, we also need to pay attention to mobile application security. Malicious applications or unsafe application features can put users’ personal information and device security at risk.

For your digital security, you need to download applications from official application stores. These stores scan apps for security and try to block malware. 

Reviewing user experiences and feedback can also give you information about the security of the app. Regularly updating applications, reviewing application permissions and setting necessary restrictions will help you in terms of application security.

Precautions Regarding Lost and Stolen Devices

Theft or loss of your mobile devices can jeopardize your personal information and data. Below you can find information about what you need to do both in case you encounter such a situation and afterwards:

  • Enable settings that offer the ability to remotely wipe and lock your device. These features help protect your data if your device is lost or stolen.
  • Increase unlocking security by setting a strong password, PIN, or biometric authentication (fingerprint, facial recognition) on your device.
  • Avoid storing private information such as passwords, financial information, or credentials in mobile apps or notes.
  • Back up your data regularly so you don’t lose your data if your device is lost or stolen.
  • Take note of your device’s IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number. This number can help locate the device if it is stolen.
  • In case your device is lost, change the passwords of your social media accounts to prevent your identity from being misused.
  • Immediately report your lost or stolen mobile device to the relevant institution or organization. For example, in Turkey, you can file a lost/stolen report with the Information Technologies and Communications Authority (BTK).

Security on Public Wi-Fi Networks

Public Wi-Fi networks are networks that are offered to the public for free or for a fee for internet access and they carry some security risks. Being careful and taking the necessary precautions when using public Wi-Fi networks helps protect your data and privacy.

Public Wi-Fi Risks

When you connect to public Wi-Fi networks, the data you transmit travels openly over the network. Malicious actors can monitor and steal this data. Therefore, you should avoid using and transmitting your sensitive information, such as bank details or passwords, on such networks. 

In particular, networks that do not require passwords or authentication are weaker in terms of security measures. When you have to connect to such networks, your risk of exposure to malware may increase and your data may become more vulnerable.

Tips for Staying Safe When Using Public Wi-Fi

Using a virtual private network, or VPN, can increase your security when using public Wi-Fi networks. VPN encrypts and hides your data, preventing it from being tracked or stolen.

If you need to connect to the internet in a public location, be sure to use legal wireless access points. Do not connect through an unknown or unfamiliar access point. Another precaution you can take regarding public Wi-Fi networks is to disable automatic connections. 

This way, you can prevent your device from automatically connecting to the network every time you pass through the area you are connecting to.

 Social Engineering and Identity Theft

Social engineering and identity theft are serious threats that can affect anyone, regardless of age, education or gender. Being conscious and careful will help you protect your personal information and identity and prevent financial losses.

What is Social Engineering?

Social engineering is a type of fraud in which people’s confidential information is obtained by exploiting their vulnerabilities and insecurities, by deceiving, coercing or intimidating them. Social engineering attacks can be carried out online or in person and often involve techniques of using “authority”, “urgency”, “fear” or “curiosity” .

Scammers may call you as a bank employee and ask for your personal information or password. They may say that they will refund your credit card fee or insurance fee and request your personal information and password. They may try to establish authority over you and make you do what they want by introducing themselves as police, judges, or prosecutors. These are all social engineering efforts.

It is also possible for social engineering to be done over the Internet without communicating with you verbally. They may try to obtain your personal and financial information by imitating e-mails sent from reliable institutions or websites of reliable institutions. 

They can send e-mails containing malicious attachments, send fake SMS messages and direct you to fake links, make fake campaign announcements on social media, and offer you free rewards.

Even though the digital world may seem like an extremely eerie and dangerous place, you can minimize your chances of encountering these problems by taking the necessary precautions and, most importantly, by being a conscious user.

How to Protect Personal Information?

In fact, the precautions we have shared with you throughout the article will also help you protect your personal information against social engineering attacks.

Connecting to the Internet through secure networks, using strong passwords and two-step authentication, deleting suspicious e-mails, not opening suspicious attachments and links, and using antivirus software will help you take precautions against social engineering attacks you may experience.

In social engineering attacks carried out over the phone or face to face, you should first be skeptical and not hesitate to question the person or people you are dealing with.

Remember, your personal information such as your password, bank accounts, and ID card information are private to you and no public or private institution can ask you to share this information. 

You can ask people who come into contact with you to declare their identities, and you can request help from people close to you or officials who can support you. You can confirm it from sources you trust before providing any information or fulfilling the request.

In order to safely benefit from the conveniences provided by the digital world, we first need to be informed, learn to doubt and research, take precautions, many of which are extremely simple, and raise awareness of more people against cyber attacks by sharing our knowledge and experience.

The investment information, comments and recommendations contained herein are not within the scope of investment consultancy. Investment consultancy services are offered individually by authorized institutions, taking into account people’s risk and return preferences. 

The comments and recommendations here are general in nature. These recommendations may not suit your financial situation and risk and return preferences. Therefore, making an investment decision based solely on the information contained herein may not produce results that meet your expectations. 

Investment decisions taken/to be made and purchases and sales made/to be made etc. based on the recommendations offered through this blog page. Türkiye Finans Katılım Bankası AŞ is not responsible in any way for the transactions and possible consequences of these transactions.

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