Online security is more important in today’s technological age than ever. Considering the height of identity theft, online security must be a priority for anyone who uses a computer or mobile device. To be prepared for 2017, here are ten things that must be learned to be prepared for any situation this year.
Always Make Use of Passcodes
When one is offered, applying a passcode lock can also be another added layer of protection against account theft. Smartphones and tablets make use of these codes all the time for a reason: extra protection. These passcodes are better than a four-digit PIN because they are more difficult to guess. Another option is to use a biometric lock like a fingerprint.
Avoid Tempting Click Bait
Probably one of the best ways to be safe online is to avoid temptations to click certain links. The best way to avoid click bait is to be careful of which links are chosen to be clicked in the first place. These links can be found in e-mails, messaging apps, web hosting servers, and on social media. Most of these links are meant for phishing means that cause an automatic link to infectious malware. Therefore, links should only be clicked so long as it is positively safe and certain that they will lead to the desired location needed online.
Clean Up the Cache
A browser’s cache tells a lot of information about its user. Information saved in cookies, search engine queries, and web history can link to a home address and other personal or family data. Deleting cookies and clearing browser histories on a regular basis can mean stopping theft from happening in the first place. Some tune-up utilities, like one offered by AVG, do this task automatically on a scheduled basis.
Do Not Save Passwords in Browsers
A browser that has saved passwords can be a lethal weapon against its users. Most computer gurus say not to use them because it means holding information in one location that can be accessed with too much ease. Malicious software sent from various web hosting means can grasp this information without a user even realizing it in the first place. To end this risk, those password managers on most browsers should be turned off altogether
While multi-step authentication can be annoying at times, it adds another layer of much-needed security. It puts another step between entering a password and having access to an account. Some websites and services already use this type of login process, but it can be enabled on other accounts, too. This type of authentication usually connects to another object, like a cell phone or tablet, where a text message with a code can be sent or a fingerprint scan can be performed. The greatest part of this type of authentication is if a message is received on another device that a login or password change is being attempted, and then it can act as a roadblock between the processes being completed.
Hackers are known for stealing information through a batch username and password combinations. Usually, this information comes from one source and then they are used elsewhere for the sake of finding a potential match. If one store’s credit card information is hacked, then it is likely other stores of a similar set up might be able to be hacked with the same information gained from the first store. Hackers might also try to use this information to enter banking accounts online. To prevent this from happening, all password logins must be unique to each account. Make sure they contain a variety of characters that do not directly relate to any keywords in the account itself.
Another thing that might help to track these passwords is a password manager. These often free tools are great for using to help track passwords because no human can remember every unique password all of the time. It does not take much of a time investment to start using one, either. Some of these managers can automatically log into accounts once the password for them is placed into the login field.
Use Disposable Credit Cards
Making use of Visa gift cards or other similar disposable cards to make sure money is used in the safest way possible. This method works because credit card usage systems are very outdated and not secure anymore. Instead of using a credit card or debit card number tied directly to a bank account, using these disposable cards acts as an added step to guard a bank account all the more. Some banks offer these one-time use card numbers by using automated numbers. The charges come from the bank account associated with the disposable numbers, but if the transaction is hacked, then the useless disposable number is taken instead of the bank account’s numbers.
Use a VPN
Virtual Private Networks (VPN) should be used for every Wi-Fi connection, especially unfamiliar ones. They provide a secure connection between a computer and the Internet to protect user data being transmitted between websites. The data being transmitted becomes encrypted throughout the connection. VPNs are great to use for instances where public Wi-Fi networks are used.
Vary E-Mail Address Usage
E-mail addresses should be used for different purposes. Some addresses can be for personal use, some for business, others for social media, and so on. It creates separate identities online that cannot easily be linked to one another. It also makes spotting fishy email all the easier. Furthermore, if a social media connection is hacked, and then business information is not sacrificed for being connected to the same e-mail account. Instead of creating a new e-mail address for everything, something like Guerillamail can be used to generate a temporary address in place of a new one if the goal is to only test an app or a service online before a decision to keep it is made. This trick also lowers the risk of these apps and services leading to information being hacked in the long run.
Look for Security Tools to Install
There are many apps and many settings to pick from when it comes to protecting devices and make sure they are secured. The best thing to being sure of is that these services are used properly. If something is set up or installed on an account or device, then making familiarity with it to know how to use it right is the key to successfully protecting devices and accounts online.
There are much more ways to go about protecting an online presence. These ten steps are just a step in the right direction to be certain that all risks are not taking lightly. Eliminating risks to begin with means providing the ultimate protection.