Employ strategies to avoid falling victim to cyberattacks. PHOTO: IPOPBA/ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES PLUS/GETTY IMAGES

Employ strategies to avoid falling victim to cyberattacks. PHOTO: IPOPBA/ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES PLUS/GETTY IMAGES

Cyberattacks often happen unexpectedly and can throw a company out of its digital comfort zone. Per the National Institute of Standards & Technology, a cyberattack can involve destroying data integrity or stealing controlled information.

With that in mind, check out some tips for ensuring your website and information stay safe.

1. Frequently update your passwords. Make sure you’re regularly updating your passwords. While updating your passwords is important, also make sure your passwords don’t contain common words or phrases. Include capital letters, punctuation and special characters in your passwords so they’re more difficult for an attacker to crack them.

2. Don’t click on links in emails from unfamiliar senders. If you don’t recognize an email sender – or an email address appears suspicious – don’t click any links in the emails sent to you. You can verify the email address to find out if it’s real or not via a website like verify-email.org, but make sure you err on the side of caution. Clicking on a suspicious link in an email could compromise your data or unleash a virus on your computer.

3. Use anti-virus software. Download a reliable anti-virus software, and make sure you run it frequently. Set a recurring reminder on your computer to run the software once a week to ensure your computer is virus-free. Plus, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, security updates and patches are available for free from a number of major companies.

4. Keep your operating system and browser up to date. It’s imperative to keep your computer up to date to minimize the risk of a malware infection or security breach. While computer updates can add new features to your computer, they’re also designed to fix flaws in current versions, which can include security or data issues.

5. Make sure your website has an SSL certificate. An SSL is a protocol for encrypting internet traffic and verifying server identity. According to Cloudflare, a web-infrastructure and website-security company, an SSL certificate keeps user data secure, verifies ownership of the website and prevents attackers from creating a fake version of the website. You can identify a website with an SSL certificate through the “https” in the URL, as well as a small lock symbol next to the URL in your browser.