With all of the recent headlines about data breaches and cybercrime, security is a big issue these days. According to an expert study, more personal data than ever before is being produced, preserved, transported, and shared online.
Everywhere we go and everything we do asks us to log in and activate our personal information. If the quantity of data we consume and exchange online were graphed, it would rocket straight up and never smooth out. What about the personal information that you didn’t want to provide but was taken nevertheless because your email account or computer was hacked? Cybercrime is on the rise, and you can help protect yourself online by using strong passwords, avoiding dangerous links, backing up your data, and taking other precautions.
According to global surveys on common passwords, poor password hygiene is a global issue that threatens users’ online safety. We’ve developed a list of the best password practices for enhancing your overall cybersecurity to help you safeguard your online identity.
Here are our top 12 internet safety advice.
1. Do not open emails from strangers
If you get a phishing email with malware attached, you do not need to download the file, else it may compromise your home network. This is because drive-by downloads can install malware on your computer without your knowledge. In certain situations, a drive-by download may masquerade as a routine system update or another harmless “yes/no” query, and even the most cyber-savvy among us can be duped. As a result, it’s a good idea to avoid opening emails from unknown senders.
2. Create unique and strong credentials
Is it possible that one of your passwords contains the name of your pet or an important birthday? If it does, you should replace it right away. Poor password quality can dramatically undermine your security and lead to a data leak. Aside from avoiding personal names and birthdays in your passwords, here are some other best practices to keep in mind while constructing your credentials:
- Passwords should be at least 12 characters long
- Make use of a variety of characters, symbols, and numbers
- Use a whole phrase as a password
We have built some essential tools for our daily digital lives, one of which includes a Password generator.
3. Use two-factor authentication
After you’ve signed in with your username and password, two-factor authentication needs you to confirm your identity. In certain situations, you will be required to verify your identity by entering a code delivered to your phone through text message or email. Sometimes you’ll be asked a security question. Opt for two-factor authentication wherever it is available. It may take you a few additional seconds to log in to your accounts, but it surely makes it almost impossible for others to be able to get in as well.
4. Allow the password manager to perform the work
Human memory is notoriously untrustworthy. As a result, it is preferable to use a password manager. It will encrypt your credentials and store them securely in a vault. A decent rule of thumb is to use a cloud-based password manager rather than one that stores passwords locally. In this manner, if your device is stolen or lost, you may recover your credentials. If you choose to save your passwords locally, your password database will be lost along with the device. Furthermore, most password managers provide a password generator. They can generate extremely secure credentials for each of your accounts, eliminating the need for you to worry about creating unique passwords and constantly updating them.
5. Don’t click on odd-looking links
Viruses and other types of malware are often disseminated when you click on a link from someone you know. If you get an unusual link from a trusted friend or family member, contact them to inquire if the link was delivered on purpose. You may have to wait a little longer to view that hilarious viral video, but better safe than sorry. If you don’t want to wait for a response from your friend or family member, copy and paste the URL into a reliable link checker. But remember not to click on the link.
6. Don’t use the same password again
Reusing passwords for many accounts is another risky activity that might compromise your security. We often choose a password that we believe will be easy to remember and use it to safeguard everything from our emails to online store accounts. It’s extremely risky to use the same credentials for your company and personal accounts. If someone obtains your password, they will be able to steal your company’s important data and endanger your business operations.
7. Avoid revealing personal details
It’s easy to become accustomed to disclosing much too much personal information online. However, you might be amazed at how much harm fraudsters can cause with just a little information. To be secure, never give identifying information to strangers you meet online, such as your complete name, address, or bank information. You should also use caution while creating usernames for websites; they do not need to include your whole name. Also, limit the quantity of information you provide in online surveys or forms. Most of the time, very little personal information is required to complete them.
Staying secure online might feel difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re still learning how to protect yourself against online predators or frauds, simply handle conversations online as you would contact a stranger strolling down the street. That is, you are unlikely to open anything they give you, provide them with your credit card, or lead them to your home address. The same guidelines may help you be secure online.
8. Educate your family
You can take all the necessary protections on your home security network, but if your family and other network users aren’t doing their bit to keep everything secure, your efforts may be in vain. Make sure that everyone who accesses your network on a regular basis understands how to help maintain it safe. Children may also learn about internet security.
9. Use financial information wisely
Be cautious about where you submit sensitive information such as your credit card number online. Before making a transaction on a website, be sure the URL begins with “https://.” The “s” at the end is important since it signals that your connection is encrypted. Don’t buy anything from a website that doesn’t contain this. Also, even if you shop with a website regularly, you should think hard about keeping your financial information with them. Storing your information on their site may make it simpler for hackers to gain access in the event that the company’s website or network experiences a data breach.
10. Back up your data on a regular basis
You may not be able to recover your data if you become a victim of viruses, such as ransomware. Unless, of course, you have backed up your data. Backing up your data can make certain types of security breaches less onerous. If a hacker encrypts your data and demands a ransom to decrypt it, it won’t be a big concern if you backed it up a week ago.
11. Avoid connecting to unprotected public Wi-Fi
Avoid using unprotected public Wi-Fi on your devices if at all possible. It can expose you to predatory tactics if you use it. And, if you must use it, avoid inputting sensitive information on any website, such as your Social Security number or financial information. Better yet, when you’re not at home, utilize a VPN, or virtual private network, to perform your browsing. This encrypts the data you send and receive, making it considerably more difficult to intercept.
12. Adjust your privacy settings
Every account you’ve created has default privacy settings that aren’t always in your favor. The majority of the websites and apps with which we interact track our location and online behavior and utilize it for marketing purposes. However, because our data is a valuable asset, tech corporations utilize it for a variety of additional objectives that we normally aren’t aware of. Take some time to investigate how to change privacy settings on your accounts to minimize the amount of personal data you’re giving over if you want to maintain your privacy and boost your online security.
Creating a resilient cybersecurity plan is not an easy task. However, careful research and regular security updates might help you stay secure. Because passwords are still the most prevalent technique for protecting our accounts, make sure to keep them safe at all times.
You can use our Password manager if you don’t want to use password managers. It can be used to build complex passwords that are also easy to remember. We have a function that allows you to generate a strong, easy-to-remember password. Isn’t that awesome?