Lock Down your Critical Accounts with Complex Passwords
Having a Safer Internet is not hard. You’ve probably 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 login to your other accounts. Our best advice: use a password manager to help you store and create complex passwords for all of your accounts. Password managers can help keep you organized and secure by remembering your complex passwords, and helping ensure you only enter them on legitimate sites. Google Chrome even has one built in. For more tips on password security, check out this post.
Also, check to see if your online accounts offer multi-factor authentication.
Keep your Software Updated
Keep all your software updated to ensure you have the latest security patches. Turn on automatic updates so you don’t have to think about it, and confirm that your security software is set to run regular scans. Vendors are working faster than ever to fix security gaps as they arise, but they only work if you upgrade. If your software programs don’t update automatically, make sure you’re staying on top of this.
Protect Your Mobile Device
Your phone is now a computer and typically has as much or even more personal information than your laptop or desktop. Mobile devices can also be just as vulnerable to online threats as your laptop. Mobile devices also face new threats, 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 users’ reviews first. Make sure that your security software is enabled on your mobile, just like your other devices.
Secure your Wireless Connection
Just as important is protecting the way you get onto the Internet. Make sure you have protected your home wireless network with a password and you have changed the default SSID (network name) to something other than the default. When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, be cautious about what information you are sending over it.
Look Out for the Latest Phishing and Ransomware Scams
Online threats are constantly evolving, so make sure you stay on top of threats and know what to look out for. Ransomware and phishing scams are both on the rise.
Phishing scams are some of the simplest, but most dangerous, attacks on the Internet. Scammers build phony sites that look identical to legitimate sites (i.e. Google login pages and bank homepages); however, they actually just steal your username and password. While it’s an age-old trick, the most effective phishing attacks can still succeed 45 percent of the time. To protect yourself online, be wary of any site that asks for your personal information, and always double-check that you’re actually on the site you intended to visit.
Keep your Guard Up
Always be cautious about what you do online, which websites you visit, and what you share on social media. 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 and following these simple tips to protect yourself on the internet, you can save yourself from headaches later on.