Last year, we saw how cybercriminals continued to do their jobs in a creative, hardworking fashion.

2018, like many years of the current, soon-to-end decade, was abundant in headlines telling us how dangerous was to browse and use our personal information online. Ultimately, the goal for many was to spread fear among the average Internet users.

But those who are aware of the many implications in cybersecurity, like you who are taking the time to read this article, know well that it’s all about having healthy habits online. This is a safe way to avoid pitfalls and prevent potential attacks from cybercriminals.

These healthy habits many times come from knowing what was wrong in the first place. That said, we think is a good idea to look back to 2018 and take what is useful to us in order to become better, smarter users of the Internet.

Protect Your Accounts

In 2018, we saw how cybercriminals attacked the user base of services like Google Drive, OneDrive, DocuSign, and Outlook. Generally, attackers aim to steal key data and profit from it and to do so, they take it directly from the source by “asking” the user with phishing tactics. Yet, aiming to hijack entire accounts isn’t that common.

It seems like cybercriminals were going after a major price, going to the commonplace of data for many. Account takeover opens the door to bigger datasets, more convenience, and, possibly, better rewards for the attacker.

So, while the regular advice is to choose strong passwords, we must go a step further. Schedule on your calendar a revision of all your accounts and change their passwords in order to maintain security at all costs. Also, apply the obvious ones: don’t log in on public devices nor use the same password for several accounts, which makes cybercriminals’ lives too easy.

Don’t Underestimate the Classics

People tend to think that cybercriminals are god-like prodigies that use highly-complex tactics to get into our computers and steal sensitive data. This myth created in most part by popular culture through movies and literature may be close to reality from time to time. However, a big part of successful cybercrimes taking place today is the direct result of simple tactics, particularly phishing attacks.

Phishing is a basic kind of cyberattack that is mostly based on psychology, tricking the user to provide sensitive data in a voluntary fashion. It’s the classic deception taking place online.

While basic, it continues to be effective and widely used by hackers. Cybersecurity firm Barracuda reported that on May 2018 their systems achieved to block over 1.5 million phishing emails and unique phishing attempts identified were around 10,000.

These numbers are impressive indeed. The lesson here is that we should not relax when it comes to innocent-looking situations online. Internet changes but the user’s psychology don’t. This means that attempts to exploit this will continue to happen.

The bottom line is this: protect all your accounts as they may be the perfect route for cybercriminals and never underestimate the power of the most basic attempts to steal your information. Paying attention always comes handy, so do it to keep your passwords fresh and cyber-threats at bay.