12 Simple Things You Can Do to Be More Secure Online
Follow these easy tips to protect the basic security of your devices, your data, your internet traffic, and your identity. Although this is a great start, please be informed that basic security is not enough to keep you entirely safe online. Contact Ascentrix Consulting today for a free consultation.
Install an Antivirus and Keep It Updated
We call this type of software antivirus, but fending off actual computer viruses is just one small part of what they do. Ransomware, Trojan horse programs, Bots and more are also common threats. An effective antivirus protects against these and many other kinds of malware.
2. Explore the Security Tools You Install
Many excellent apps and settings help protect your devices and your identity, but they're only valuable if you know how to use them properly. To get the maximum protective power from these tools, you must understand their features and settings.
3. Use Unique Passwords for Every Login
One of the easiest ways hackers steal information is by getting a batch of username and password combinations from one source and trying those same combinations elsewhere. The single best way to prevent one data breach from having a domino effect is to use a strong, unique password for every single online account you have.
4. Get a VPN and Use It
Any time you connect to the Internet using a Wi-Fi network that you don't own, you should use a virtual private network, or VPN. Say you go to a coffee shop and connect to a free Wi-Fi network. You don't know anything about the security of that connection. It's possible that someone else on that network, without you knowing, could start looking through or stealing the files and data sent from your laptop or mobile device.
5. Use Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication can be a pain, but it absolutely makes your accounts more secure. Two-factor authentication means you need to pass another layer of authentication, not just a username and password, to get into your accounts.
6. Use Passcodes Even When They Are Optional
Apply a passcode lock wherever available, even if it's optional. Think of all the personal data and connections on your smartphone. Going without a passcode lock is unthinkable.
Many smartphones offer a four-digit PIN by default. Don't settle for that. Use biometric authentication when available, and set a strong passcode.
7. Pay With Your Smartphone
The system of credit card use is outdated and not very secure at all. That's not your fault, but there is something you can do about it. Instead of whipping out the old credit card, use Apple Pay or an Android equivalent everywhere you can. There are tons of choices when it comes to apps. In fact, we have an entire roundup of mobile payment apps.
How is that better than using the credit card itself? The app generates a one-use authentication code, good for the current transaction only. Even if someone filched that code, it wouldn't do them any good. And paying with a smartphone app eliminates the possibility of data theft by a credit card skimmer.
8. Use Different Email Addresses for Different Kinds of Accounts
People who are both highly organized and methodical about their security often use different email addresses for different purposes, to keep the online identities associated with them separate. If a phishing email claiming to be from your bank comes to the account you use only for social media, you know it's fake.
9. Clear Your Cache
Never underestimate how much your browser's cache knows about you. Saved cookies, saved searches, and Web history could point to home address, family information, and other personal data.
10. Turn Off the 'Save Password' Feature in Browsers
Speaking of what your browser may know about you, most browsers include a built-in password management solution. We don't recommend them. We feel it's best to leave password protection to the experts who make password managers.
11. Don't Fall Prey to Click Bait or Phishing Scams
Part of securing your online life is being smart about what you click. Click bait doesn't just refer to cat compilation videos and catchy headlines. It can also comprise links in email, messaging apps, and on Facebook. Phishing links masquerade as secure websites, hoping to trick you into giving them your credentials.
12. Protect Your Social Media Privacy
Social media sites make it easy for you to share your thoughts and pictures with friends, but it’s easy to wind up sharing too much.
Although this is a great start, please be informed that basic security is not enough to keep you entirely safe online. Contact Ascentrix Consulting today for a free consultation.