With the recent integration of our lives with the internet, our day-to-day tasks have become much easier and faster to perform. But the internet is not always cat videos and memes. Only a few years back, the main priorities for businesses regarding internet safety were safeguarding passwords, financial records and other personal information. Now, it’s also a critical factor for individuals - what should you do? You’re in luck! In this article we put together a list of simple and straightforward tips that would keep your information private and devices secure.
Don’t pay your bills when using public Wi-Fi
When connecting to WI-FI from coffee shops, shopping malls or any public Wi-Fi, be extremely careful as other users from the network could access your data.
Choose trusted email providers
All your sensitive information like bank account details, social media and all accounts are linked to your email. Be sure to check if your email provider has the proper security (like DMARC).
Sign out before you go out
If you’re using public computers make sure to sign out after you’re done because if you won’t be able to do it, the next user will have complete access to your account.
Regular password changes, that’s in the past
In the past it was very common to be advised to change the passwords, but now it’s no longer the case. But why? Well if someone gets access to your account, they will immediately transfer the money without waiting. Secondly, if someone gets access to any of your accounts, they will immediately make backdoors so even with a password change, they would still have access.
Passwords, Bigger (and stronger) the better
Be sure to use a strong password which contains letters both uppercase and lowercase, numbers and symbols. Also don’t use the same password for two different accounts. If one fails the others will follow.
Don’t try to befriend Nigerian princes and other strange senders
If you don’t know who sent the mail, stay away from it. NEVER open the files inside those emails especially if that file has an .exe extension on them. These files may contain viruses and malware.
Keep your private data how it’s supposed to be kept - private
They say, if a secret is known by more than one person, it’s not a secret anymore. When it comes to passwords and bank credentials, it’s better to have them close to you and safe at all times. If you save them on a cloud based storage platform be sure to encrypt the documents beforehand.
Don’t send credentials over public Wi-Fi
If you are sending credentials over a public Wi-Fi is like telling it to everyone on that network. Anyone can intercept the message and use it as their own.
Use additional security steps
If someone gains your credentials for one of your accounts, they will not be able to get into the account without the special code which will be sent to you separately. Additional layer of security never hurt no one.
Always use protection. In websites, too.
Whenever possible use secure websites. A SSL certificate encrypts and protects all the data in the website. The easiest way to find out if a website has an SSL certificate is to check for a padlock icon on the URL bar and to check if the URL starts with “https”.
Don’t use your Facebook to register on sites
We know. So fast, so convenient – yet so sketchy. Registering for other sites by using your social media is comfortable but in this way the third party site will have your social media credentials. Better to spend a few seconds and save your accounts. #beparanoid
Use a separate email when buying shoes
It’s better to keep a separate email when you’re shopping online. Using the same email for all your online activities is a recipe for disaster. There’s no rule saying that you can’t use one but it’s safer and convenient if you use multiple emails for different contexts.
Stop clicking everything you see. Seriously.
Most common way of plunging into a phishing attack is through the links from emails. These links also come with malware, viruses and unwanted programs which will harm you. What’s phishing? Check our article about phishing scams.
Downloading a movie that’s not on Netflix via Torrents? Do not.
Peer-to-peer file-sharing websites (torrent sites) are illegal but they are also filled with malware and unwanted programs that can really cause you problems. Prevention is better than cure, so refrain from using sites that seem sketchy.
Stop ignoring “Install updates” button, especially when it comes to OS
OS updates are extremely annoying but it’s a necessity. All Operating System updates are intended to fix major security issues discovered recently.
It’s much better to use passphrases instead of using passwords. Passphrases consist of a few words which are easy to remember but harder to crack. Make it difficult. Use capital letters, use punctuation, use symbols – the more diversity, the stronger the password.
Keep your real life and social media healthily separated
When you post too much information on social media, some people can use that information to impersonate you (identity theft), or even figure out your passwords from the things you share. Better safe than sorry later on.
Have a Facebook Detox
Have you had users who befriends you online and starts pestering you or starts paying too much attention to you? Remove or block them from your social media accounts before you get problems online or in real life.
Stranger Danger – do not provide them with access to your private profile
You never know what kind of person sits behind the social media accounts or what their intentions are. In reality not all “friends” are equal. Better to avoid these profiles completely before exposing yourself to them - next time you go on a holiday and announce it on your social media, remember – you’re telling the bad guys your house is empty.
The privacy and security on the internet are constantly evolving day-by-day. Some of the things that are safe today can completely change in the next day. The internet is an open platform where new threats unfold all the time which paves the way for new security measures. It’s better to stay vigilant and keep up to date with the safety measures on the digital space.
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