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Cybersecurity Basics – Keeping It Simple
What’s “cybersecurity basics” got to do with self-reliance? Well, as an Off The Grid reader, you understand the importance of preparing for major disasters. Catastrophes such as EMP attacks, economic collapses, and natural disasters.
Preparing yourself for those kinds of disasters is certainly important. But at the same time, there are many other kinds of smaller and more personal emergencies that you need to get ready for as well.
One such example of a more personal emergency that you need to prepare for is the possibility of hackers stealing or compromising your online data.
The truth is, we live in a time when online privacy is no longer a reality. Any device  that connects to the internet is at risk of being intercepted, hacked, and compromised.
Every year, tens of millions of Americans have their identities hacked , with annual losses in the tens of billions. The good news is…
You can take steps to improve to improve your online privacy.
Today, we’ll talk about three basic and yet highly effective steps that any ordinary person can and should take to strengthen their cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity Basics Step #1 – Keep Your Devices And Software Up-To-Date
The first step may seem very rudimentary, but it’s also critically important. You absolutely must keep your computers and software up-to-date.
Being notified that you need to make security updates can indeed be annoying. But at the same time, developers design these updates to upgrade the security fixes against viruses and trending worms.
Checking for new updates is also incredibly easy. On a Mac, just click the Apple icon at the top left side of the screen, select “About This Mac,” and then choose the “Software Update” option.
On a PC, you’ll need to go to the “Start” button at the bottom left and then select “check for updates.”
Ultimately, keeping your devices and software up-to-date is your first line of defense against hackers.
Cybersecurity Basics Step #2 – Use A Password Manager
Chances are good that you’ll want to change your passwords right now because they may not be strong enough against hackers.
Passwords are to your websites, your software, and your devices as the keys are to your house or office.
Many people also believe that by setting an incredibly complicated password that they will be safe against hackers. Notwithstanding, this unfortunately isn’t always true. What hackers can and will do is upload a trojan horse onto your system, which tracks every key typed in.
In other words, no matter how complicated you think your password is, hackers can still figure it out.
What’s the solution here? Simple: you need to find the best password manager  that you possibly can.
A password manager is simply the easiest solution to keeping your information safe.
What a password manager does is assist in retrieving and generating very complex passwords and then storing those passwords in an encrypted database.
Your passwords will be stored in what is called a “password vault,” which stores your passwords as securely as possible. In addition, the system permits you to save sensitive information either on your device or in the cloud.
This, in turn, means that you can use random combinations in each password, which makes it significantly more difficult for password hacking software to crack.
If you’re not using a password manager now, you’ll want to change that.
Cybersecurity Basics Step #3 – Run The Firewalls
A firewall is a network security device with the purpose of monitoring network traffic and then choosing whether to block or allow traffic based on the security rules that you have set.
In other words, if there is anyone who is looking to break into your security settings, the firewall is the primary line of defense against that. It does this by controlling the flow of online traffic that enters and leaves your system.
A good analogy is that it’s like a gate controlling the flow of people who can enter and leave a city.
In addition to monitoring traffic that enters and exits your computer network, a firewall can also be used to block Trojan horses. These are malicious programs disguised as legitimate-looking software. The firewall can detect and prevent a Trojan horse before it has the chance to latch onto your system.
Something else that a firewall can do is to stop a botnet. This is where a hacker infiltrates your computer and then includes it in a larger group of computers. All of this is designed to spread viruses and conduct other illegal activities.
Finally, a firewall can also stop keyloggers. Keyloggers are hackers who use spyware software to monitor your keystrokes. They then can copy the information to hack into your private accounts.
We’ve discussed three cybersecurity basics today. Each is an example of a fundamental and yet highly effective step that you can take to strengthen your cybersecurity today.
You may also enjoy reading an additional Off The Grid News article: Amazon Deploying New And Very Dangerous Facial Recognition Technology 
Do you have any additional suggestions for basic cybersecurity measures to take when living off-the-grid? Let us know in the comments below.