We’re in the midst of a digital age that makes our lives more convenient, helps us stay connected with friends, and opens us up to a wide range of new opportunities. Along with those benefits, however, each of us is also at a greater risk of being victimized. Hacking and identity theft is at an all-time high, so it’s important to adopt new practices to stay safer while online.
Are You Sick of Hearing About the Need for Strong Passwords?
You hear this from every tech expert and you’re reminded about it, every time you register with a new website. Yet, as much as it’s drilled into our minds, so many people ignore this basic rule. Simpler passwords are easier to remember, but that also means they’re easier to hack. Similarly, using the same password for multiple sites means a hacker can access all of your accounts, as soon as he uncovers that one password. For a more secure online presence, use a different password for each site and make every password complex, combining letters, numbers, and symbols.
Enable Your Firewall
Another important way to combat advanced persistent threats is by enabling your firewall. Whether you realize it or not, your PC, laptop, and some mobile devices come equipped with firewalls already installed. By turning them on, you can protect your device from random cyber attacks. The firewall prohibits unauthorized users from gaining access to your device, which is especially important, if your smart home devices, such as locks and thermostats, are controlled via your computer.
Phishing and Scams Have Grown More Sophisticated
Phishing sites are still thriving, even though most people know not to click on links to familiar websites. Once you’re on that fake website, all of your information is being tracked and recorded for use by the operators of the site. In most cases, people know better than to fall for this type of scam, but younger users may not understand this type of threat. It’s important to educate your children about phishing sites as well. While they may not have access to your financial accounts, they can still become targets of identity theft.
Mobile Devices Need Protection
Even if you ensure your PC and laptop is secure, you may be vulnerable to attack through your mobile devices. Today, people use their smartphones and tablets as much, if not more, than they use their larger devices. This means sensitive information is also being stored and processed via your mobile devices. When you invest in a cyber security system, ask about a package that will bundle services for your mobile devices as well. By making sure every device is protected, you can feel more confident that you’re protected against most threats.
Oversharing isn’t Just Awkward
Most of our online time is spent on various social media sites and, while we may feel comfortable with our online friends, it’s important to remember that not everyone on your friend list is a true friend. At best, some are just looking for drama and gossip. However, others are waiting for you to share sensitive information, which they can collect and use for their own benefit. For this reason, it’s best to limit what you share online. If it’s not something you would be comfortable shouting on a street corner, you shouldn’t be posting it online, either.
Enable Your “Wipe Your Phone” Feature
This may have other terms, depending on the brand of phone, but most phones have a feature that allows you to remotely wipe all data from your phone. This is a valuable tool to have in the event that your phone becomes lost or is stolen. When you feel fairly certain that your phone won’t be found or returned, enacting this feature wipes your data and protects you against future breaches of security.
Staying safe online requires a degree of common sense, but it also means taking advantage of the latest tech innovations. As white collar criminals, such as hackers, adapt to new improvements, the field of cybersecurity tries to maintain the lead. By adopting safe practices and staying up to date on the latest innovations, you can significantly reduce the chances that you’ll become a victim of identity theft.