The internet is something most people can’t live without these days. We socialize, work, bank, and seek advice online. With more of our lives taking place in cyberspace every day, it’s important to know how to protect yourself (and your kids) online.
Hackers are getting more and more sophisticated. The price we pay for the convenience of the internet is the risk of scams, identity theft, and other cybercrimes. But if you use common sense and take some precautions, you can reduce your risk of being targeted. Here are 10 steps you can take to keep your personal information secure.
Stay Updated on Latest Phishing Scams
Phishing scams are extremely common and often involve convincing a person to click on a link or download a file that contains a virus. Stay updated on the latest phishing scams (they’re usually distributed via email), and be skeptical about which emails you open. If something seems off or suspicious, do some research before opening the email, and don’t click on any links or downloads.
Be Sure to Protect Your IoT Devices
IoT (Internet of Things) devices like smart home solutions are on the rise and are becoming more powerful and accessible than ever before. These devices are extremely convenient, but there are also some serious security concerns with IoT that you should be aware of. A hacker who gains access to your door lock, for instance, could get into your house without an issue. You need to protect your IoT devices by taking precautions like setting strong passwords and updating your devices regularly.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication for Social Media Accounts
Social media on its own might not seem like a treasure trove for hackers, but now that many sites have integrated payment applications and the ability to log in to other sites using your social media passwords, it’s important to take your security seriously on these platforms. Hackers also steal data and distribute malware on social media.
Consider enabling two-factor authentication for your accounts. Yes, it’s an extra step to type in a code on your phone after entering your password. But it’s also a good way to reduce your risk of being targeted.
Back-Up All Your Data Regularly
Don’t risk losing all of your precious and important documents and photos due to a virus! Back up your data regularly, to an external hard drive, the cloud, or both. If you use an external drive, keep it in a different location from your computer.
Establish a Network Security Key
How secure is your home network? If you don’t have a strong network security key (password) for your Wi-Fi, then you might be opening yourself up to a range of vulnerabilities, from people using your open network and slowing it down to malicious attacks like piggybacking to steal your data.
Don’t Assume “It Can’t Happen to Me”
Cyberattacks are on the rise and can happen to anyone. It’s much better to prevent an attack whenever possible than it is to clean up the mess afterward!
VPNs Can Be Your Best Friend
VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are great for protecting your data online. A VPN is essentially a private network you can use anywhere, reducing your vulnerability when using a public network, like at a coffee shop or airport. Depending on your lifestyle, a VPN could be essential!
Keep Your Antivirus On and Updated
When was the last time you updated your antivirus software (or even turned it on)? In order for these programs to be effective, you need to have them up, running, and updated at all times. Updates are important for improving the software in response to changing cyber attack tactics, so don’t neglect your updates.
Have Unique Passwords for Each Account (& Update Them Regularly)
Yes, it’s a pain to create a new password for each and every account, but it’s one of the best ways to keep yourself safe online since it prevents a hacker from instantly accessing several accounts. A password manager can be a great solution for keeping track of all your accounts.
Utilize Mobile Payment Apps
Credit cards aren’t very secure at all, especially since POS systems are connected to the internet. Instead of whipping out the plastic, try using mobile payment apps whenever possible. The encryption on these systems is far superior.
While it’s not always possible to prevent cyberattacks, you can do a lot to make yourself less vulnerable. Take these 10 steps ASAP to stay safer online!