10 Ways to Make Sure You Stay Safe Online
There is always someone somewhere with the malicious intent to hack, spam, plant malware and more. That’s why it is imperative to protect your hard work and personal information with wise security precautions and the foresight to back up your data.
Below are some of the helpful tips that can get you started:
We all have our favorite passwords we use for everything, usually a date of significance, a child or pet’s name, but did you know that’s usually the first thing a hacker tries? Smart password security practices are to have a long, unique and – keyword – different password for everything we need passwords for. This is what is going to keep your information safe and out of the hands of someone else. Passwords that are considered “strong” contain at least 1 uppercase letter, 1 lowercase letter, 1 number or symbol (some sites require both) and 7 spaces used. This makes it much harder for an intruder to guess your password and keeps your data safer.
*Above and Beyond Tip: There are also several password-storing software’s that will generate a random password for every site and account you need. These passwords can be upwards of 24 characters long! Check out 1Password if you are interested in being ultra-safe with your information.
One of the most important pieces of hardware in the network is the firewall. Your firewall acts as the frontlines of your network – a barrier that will stop all unauthorized access, enable secure connectivity to and from the internet. Your firewall is your first defense that really doesn’t take much effort to install and can really be an asset to your network’s security. Some firewalls can also be set up to accept incoming VPN connections which brings us to point #3…
With passwords being more complex, and a firewall in place, you are on your way to creating a safer, more secure work environment. The next thing to check for is to make sure that your network hardware is secured and protected as well. When using devices (cellphone, tablet, laptop etc.) at home or work you most likely use a password protected router that encrypts the data that gets sent over the internet. Safe! But what about when you are using the airport or coffee shop’s public Wi-Fi? These kinds of networks are seldom password protected, which is less secure – premium hacker territory. This brings us to the importance of using a VPN (Virtual Private Network). A VPN is your own private tunnel through the vast internet, directly to your home or office’s secure internal network. It’s all the network safety of working inside the office without physically being there!
Your now have the necessary equipment in place to keep your information safe no matter the circumstance or location you are in. The only variable from here is the human factor – you! Be watchful and familiarize yourself with the content you click on. There is a possibility of a hacker trying to get in with spam, phishing emails, and other threats that can be tedious or very painful to deal with. An example of this is when an item to click on says, “Free offer”. This is almost always click bait and should be avoided. Even some online quizzes can all lead you down the wrong way and straight into a virus.
With todays sites, apps, and the convenience of posting things about our life, we must all be careful with whom or how we share this information with. This is mainly important when it is in regards to information about your identity. Sharing too personal of information can be just what a hacker needs to crack passwords, hack accounts, and even – in some extreme cases – steal your identity.
Our laptops, computers, and especially mobile devices can be targeted by online threats. Cell phones have been currently facing new risks as hackers are now sending links to apps or websites via text. We should always be on the lookout for these strange messages. Mom was right – don’t respond to strangers! When downloading applications, make sure you are doing so from the official application stores (Google Play Store, Apple Store etc.) AFTER reading the reviews first. Just like your laptops or computers, your cell phone could use security software as well (yes, antivirus for phones DOES exist!)
With the ease and convenience of online shopping, banking, or other delicate transitions, we should always make sure that the URL address starts with “https” and has a padlock icon (typically green) in the upper left-hand corner in the site’s address. This indicates that the site is secure and encrypted. If it says “http” and no padlock, or has red “X”, that means it is not a secure site. Another dead giveaway of an unprotected – and probably malicious – site is spelling errors in the address. Typically, an official, safe website is up to date on their spelling. Hackers must not care that much for grammar.
Now that we have all this super-duper secure software on our electronics, we need to keep them updated! Hackers are trying to outmaneuver security measures every day, but the good guys aren’t asleep on the job! There are people working on keeping up with the latest security threats and building on their applications to improve security for the end-user (that’s you!). The best way to stay on top of these updates is to set up an automatic update on your device that will periodically run scans and make sure that your security software is at its peak performance and has all of the latest security patches.
With technology developing at such a high rate, online threats are evolving just as fast. One such case is called “ransomware”, which is when a virus locks you out of all your files unless you pay the attacker a ransom. The only way to get your data back (without paying the scammer) is to have a good backup of your data. That’s where we come in!
A call to action should not be when you have a virus, malware, or worst of all, a ransomware attack. It should be before you experience any of this type of nail biting anxiety. Pre-emptive security measures are always better and less expensive than after-the-fact security measures. So, reach out to a professional organization, like LNI Business Technology Management, to discuss what we can do to assist you and your security needs.Knowing The Difference Between Spoofing, Spam, And Phishing Emails. »« VPN Information