We are living in a modern age where everything is as complex as it looks. A significant part of our lives is tied to the use of the internet and for that reason, your safety when browsing through your screen is paramount. With hacks, scams, malware and more, the Internet can feel like a dangerous place these days. And, the recent proliferation of devices, from smartphones and tablets to Internet-connected appliances, has opened us up to even greater risks.
With regard to all this vulnerability, we have collected some of the best and most important online security measures that you should take. Some of these measures have been advocated for by global leaders in online security such as McAfee.
Create Complex Passwords
We know you’ve heard it before, but creating strong, unique passwords for all your critical accounts really is the best way to keep your personal and financial information safe.
This is especially true in the era of widespread corporate hacks, where one database breach can reveal tens of thousands of user passwords.
If you reuse your passwords, a hacker can take the leaked data from one attack and use it to log in to your other accounts. Our best advice: use a password manager to help you store and create strong passwords for all of your accounts.
Then, check to see if your online accounts offer multi-factor authentication. This is when multiple pieces of information are required to verify your identity. So, to log into an account you may need to enter a code that is sent to your phone, as well as your password.
Boost Your Network Security
Now that your logins are safer, make sure that your connections are secure. When at home or work, you probably use a password-protected router that encrypts your data. But, when you’re on the road, you might be tempted to use free, public Wi-Fi. The problem with public Wi-Fi is that it is often unsecured. This means it’s relatively easy for a hacker to access your device or information. That’s why you should consider investing in a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is a piece of software that creates a secure connection over the internet, so you can safely connect from anywhere.
Use a Firewall
Even if your network is secure, you should still use a firewall. This an electronic barrier that blocks unauthorized access to your computers and devices, and is often included with comprehensive security software. Using a firewall ensures that all of the devices connected to your network are secured, including Internet of Things (IoT) devices like smart thermostats and webcams. This is important since many IoT devices aren’t equipped with security measures, giving hackers a vulnerable point of entry to your entire network.
Now that you’ve put smart tech measures into place, make sure that you don’t invite danger with careless clicking.
Many of today’s online threats are based on social engineering. This is when you are tricked into revealing personal or sensitive information for fraudulent purposes.
Spam emails, phony “free” offers, click bait, online quizzes and more all use these tactics to entice you to click on dangerous links or give up your personal information.
Always be wary of offers that sound too good to be true, or ask for too much information.
Be a Selective Sharer
These days, there are a lot of opportunities to share our personal information online. Just be cautious about what you share, particularly when it comes to your identity information. This can potentially be used to impersonate you, or guess your passwords and logins.
Protect Your Mobile Life
Our mobile devices can be just as vulnerable to online threats as our laptops. In fact, mobile devices face new risks, such as risky apps and dangerous links sent by text message. Be careful where you click, don’t respond to messages from strangers, and only download apps from official app stores after reading other users’ reviews first. Make sure that your security software is enabled on your mobile, just like your computers and other devices.
Practice Safe Surfing & Shopping
When shopping online, or visiting websites for online banking or other sensitive transactions, always make sure that the site’s address starts with “https”, instead of just “http”, and has a padlock icon in the URL field. This indicates that the website is secure and uses encryption to scramble your data so it can’t be intercepted by others. Also, be on the lookout for websites that have misspellings or bad grammar in their addresses. They could be copycats of legitimate websites.
Keep up to date
Keep all your software updated so you have the latest security patches. Turn on automatic updates so you don’t have to think about it. Make sure that your security software is set to run regular scans.
Keep your guard up
Always be cautious about what you do online, which sites you visit, and what you share. Use comprehensive security software, and make sure to back up your data on a regular basis in case something goes wrong. By taking preventative measures, you can save yourself from headaches later on.