Data security is more critical than ever. If you are not careful, you could become a victim of cyber-attack. That’s why it’s said security and safety online lie in your own hands.
Want to protect your digital life? Great, here are simple ways (which most us take for granted) to boost your security when you are surfing the web:
1: It All Starts With a Strong Password
This cannot be stressed enough. History is filled with data breaches because of easy-to-guess passwords. Not only should you use strong passwords but update them at least once a year. Don’t use the name of your pet, home address, phone number, or any other personal information when creating a password.
In case you need help in setting in passwords and remembering them as well, use a password management tool. LastPass is one of the leading names.
2: Limit What You Share Online
Any information you share online leaves a digital trail. A cybercriminal can take advantage of those bits of information to perform a data breach. It’s very easy for hackers to put together pieces of information and commit crimes. Even if your date of birth is visible on your social media profiles, it’s enough for them.
Posting pictures and adding check-ins might seem harmless at first. But revealing too much information can let stalkers create a whole profile on your data and sell a fake ID on your name. If you have watched the movie Identity Thief, you would know what I am talking about. These criminals are so smart, they even apply for loans through stolen IDs.
Don’t want to end up paying a debt you didn’t sign up for? Then restrict the information your share. Also, amplify your privacy settings to keep your information secure.
3: Backup Your Data Regularly
Creating a backup of personal data is absolutely critical these days. Let me tell you how I came to realize data backup is important. I was checking out reviews of the Cox essential package on a forum. Lots of users have commented about their experience. Some user has shared a link about Internet deals and so I clicked it. A malware downloaded automatically and corrupted all the data on my PC.
I learned two lessons that day. Don’t open spammy links and always create data backup. I had lots of important files on that PC which were all lost because of this mistake. One can lose data in many other ways too. The best protection is keeping a copy of the data probably on the cloud. It’s also recommended to keep offline backups.
4: Use a VPN When Connecting to Public Wi-Fi
Some of us aren’t privileged to have Internet access at home. Public libraries and cafes are sanctuaries for such especially students to connect to the Internet. Other occasions of using public Wi-Fi is not you are out of mobile data or you want to save on your mobile data.
In any case, have a VPN installed on your mobile device. Turn on the VPN to mask your online identity before connecting to the public Wi-Fi. It keeps your browsing safe and secure. Nobody can intervene in your connection.
5: Turn on 2-Factor Authentication
Sometimes, 2-factor authentication can be a pain. It’s only meant to add another layer of security to your account. Merely username and password aren’t enough to get into your account. You must enter a 4 to 6 digit code to access your account.
Let’s say 2-FA is on your Facebook account and someone gets hands on your username and password. They enter this information and Facebook asks for a code. They will be locked out of your account. Plus, you will receive the code in the form of an SMS. This will tell you someone tried to sneak in.
Long story short, having 2-factor authentication will keep an intruder from getting into your account. Go to the security settings of your online accounts and see if they offer 2-FA. Turn it on to stay protected online.
6: Don’t Save Passwords in Your Browser
Many browsers have built-in password management features. It’s not recommended to save your passwords in the browsers. Not in your PC or your phone’s browser. Otherwise, you will be compromising on your security yourself. It’s best to use a separate password manager to keep all your passwords secure in one place.
7: Watch Out for Scams
Many troubles can be avoided if you are just careful and watch out for scams. Before shopping online, make sure the site is SSL protected. Don’t open spam emails. Never download content or open link attached in a shady email.
Most of us are already aware of these tips but we fail to apply when while surfing the web. Just a week ago, I happened to receive an email supposedly from my internet service provider asking me to share my account info to update a new feature. I wasn’t sure about this so I contacted my Cox customer support rep who made it clear that there was no such offer. That email was spam!
Little steps like these can save you from trouble. Stay protected by taking charge of your digital security.