Women Fighting Predators: How Women Can Avoid Cybercriminals

July 8, 2020

Women are more prone to cyberattacks than men. The attacks take many forms from bullying to identity theft. Women have a chance to prevent sexual and financial predators online by learning as much as they can about cyberattacks.

There are many ways to fight cybercrime including cooperation between technology companies and cross-border legislation. However, the easiest among all these is to protect yourself and your family from cybercriminals by being aware. If every woman learns how to stay safe online, the criminals will have no one to harass.

Which Form do Cyberattacks Against Women Take?

The growth in information technology brings a lot of benefits but it also comes with its share of dangers. It has led to the rise of criminals such as hackers and crackers who interfere with your online accounts. Once these hackers gain unauthorized access to your accounts, they steal useful data and can mess your life online and offline. For women, cyberattacks go more than identity theft and loss of money – which is why you need to do everything you can to prevent access to your accounts.

Harassment – Women go through harassment from strangers who might gain access to their accounts. The harassments come through emails and social messaging platforms. Cybercriminals might blackmail, threaten, send love letters constantly, or send embarrassing texts, and photos.

Cyber Stalking – Stalkers get the strength to continue their behavior anonymously online. Stalkers observe every move you make, your whereabouts, and any other details you may share as they wait to make a move.

Identity Theft – This occurs when someone gains access to your accounts and starts acting as you. Identity thieves might solicit for funds from your friends and relatives, withdraw cash from your credit or debit card, or even borrow money using your name. 

How to Stay Safe

Cybercriminals use so many avenues to gain access to your accounts. Unless you give out your information unknowingly, these criminals will not have access to your accounts. There are a few ways to protect yourself:

Create Strong Passwords and Avoid Sharing Them

A strong password should be at least six characters. Although some websites do not have restrictions on number of characters and their nature, always combine letters, numbers, and special characters. Again use a mix of upper case and lower case letters. Your password should not be anything anyone can guess so avoid year of birth, pets name, parents and siblings names, and nicknames among others.

After setting a strong password, ensure you never share them with anyone. According to research, most people are more comfortable lending their car than giving out their email passwords.

Do Not Leave the Webcam On

Today, so many apps need your webcam. These apps can automatically turn on the camera and record everything you do in the house. To ensure that doesn’t happen, disable camera permission so these apps cannot access the camera. Again, when not in use, keep the camera covered.

Do Not Share More Than Necessary

More women than men search for online relationships. While at it, a woman might share intricate personal details that might to a cyberattack. In your online endeavors, avoid messages and photos that might embarrass you later in life.

You should also avoid sharing details on your whereabouts and your lifestyle. To be safer, disable geotagging and any location services to ensure no one can find where you are.

Read the Fine Print and Avoid Freebies

Do you ever take time to read the privacy policy or the terms of service before clicking, “I agree?” Some websites can own, sell, rent, or give out your information to third parties. As long as you agreed to the terms and conditions, the law cannot protect you in any way.

Besides reading the privacy policy and TOC, avoid freebies. These comes as games, PDFs, and other files that you might need to download and open or download and install. Most of these contain malware that may mess your system or collect your personal information.

Block Anyone You Do Not Want to Interact With

Social media is notorious at harboring cyber criminals. The good news is, however, that you can choose who is on your list of friends or followers and who sees what you post. If you’re not comfortable interacting with someone, unfriend them, ignore their requests or simply block them.

Your instincts should be your first protection – if something or someone feels off, you can ignore them and you do not have to explain it to anyone.

Update Your Software and Use an An Identity Theft Protection Service

Software updates can be a nuisance but with each update you get better protection. These updates are patches against the latest threats.

You also need to install and identity theft protection service, a VPN (virtual private network), and an antivirus software. Some comprehensive services offer all the three so you never have to install a lot of applications.  When it comes to online safety, common sense matters more than than any software you can install. The trick is to avoid sharing your personal information online and avoid opening freebies, PDFs and videos from sources you do not trust. You also need to realize that the internet never forgets – avoid anything you might be embarrassed to see a few years from today.