How to Be Safer Online
You may not be safe online. You might tell yourself (and others) that you practice all the latest safety precautions that we’ve been telling you about, and we’ve been posting a lot lately about the hazards that are lurking on the internet. So, let’s share some tips on how to be safer online.
- Install Antivirus Software
There are multiples ways you can protect your devices, your data, your internet traffic, and your identity. Specifically, we will be expanding on the 12 simple ways you can be safer online, as proposed by PCMag. One of the most important things you can do is safeguard your devices with antivirus software. Then again, you should not only install the software, but you should update it regularly.
- Do You Understand Your Security Tools
There are many excellent apps and settings to help protect your devices and your identity. They are only going to be helpful to you if you know how to use them. Have you ever gone into some of the features and settings for some of your apps? You really should take the time to do so. For example, your smartphone undoubtedly has an option to find it if lost. You may even have had occasion to turn it on. But have you used it? If not, you will waste valuable time trying to figure it out when you need it.
While you are looking into settings, most antivirus tools have the power to fend off Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs). These are troublesome apps that aren’t precisely malware, but they don’t do anything helpful. Be aware that not all PUA detection settings are turned on by default. Check the detection settings. Make sure yours are configured to block these annoyances. Your security software may have components that aren’t active until you turn them on. When you install a new security product, at least take a glance at the settings.
- Password Manager
Listen! You need to take care of your passwords. One of the best ways to do this is with a password manager. If you are using 2-3 passwords for all your logins, you need to stop this practice. Or, if you are using words like password or 12345 – please stop doing it.
CyberNews lists and rates the best password managers for 2021.
- Get a VPN and Use It
Whenever you connect to the internet using a Wi-Fi network that you don’t own, you should use a virtual private network or VPN.
Let’s 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. Just think; someone else on that network, without your knowledge, could start looking through or stealing the files and data sent from your laptop or mobile device. There may be a crook sniffing out secrets from all Wi-Fi connections. A VPN encrypts your internet traffic preventing this and routes it through a server owned by the VPN company. That means you are safe from that intruder.
- Begin Using Two Factor Authentication
We wrote about two-factor authentication or 2FA not too long ago. As a refresher, 2FA is another way to be safer online because it is an essential strategy to secure your login information. Hackers are clever and getting smarter every day. Be forewarned; however, even though Two-factor Authentication is a much better way to protect yourself, it is not a guarantee that hackers won’t still be able to get at your accounts.
- Use Passcodes Whenever Possible
PCMag says that modern iOS devices offer a six-digit option. Instead, go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode and select Change Passcode (or Add Passcode if you don’t have one). Enter your old Passcode, if needed. On the screen to enter the new code, choose Custom Alphanumeric Code. Enter a strong password, then record it as a secure note in your password manager.
Different Android devices offer different paths to setting a strong passcode. Find the Screen Lock settings on your device, enter your old PIN, and choose Password (if available). As with the iOS device, add a strong password and record it as a secure note.
- Pay With Your Smartphone
According to PCMag, another way to be safer online is to pay for purchases with your smartphone. You can search in your internet search browser under mobile payment apps and choose the one you like.
- Different Email Addresses for Different Accounts
Organized people who are methodical about their security often use different email addresses for other purposes to keep the online identities associated with them separately. Think about it. If you receive a phishing email claiming to be from your bank and it comes to one of your social media accounts, you know it’s fake.
- Clear Your Cache
Do you know what it means to clear your cache? Your browser cache is pretty darn smart. Saved cookies, saved searches, and Web history could point to home address, family information, and other personal data. You don’t want that to happen. Again, PCMag gives a clear step-by-step on how to clear your cache on any browser.
- Turn Off the ‘Save Password
Many security experts say that letting your browser remember passwords can be risky. It is too easy for someone with no business to do so to view the actual passwords. If you choose to let your browser remember passwords, specify a master password to prevent unauthorized access. You are much better off using a dedicated password manager, as we mentioned above.
- Watch Out for Phishing
Phishing links pretend to be secure websites, hoping to trick you into giving them your credentials. Drive-by download pages can cause malware to download and infect your device automatically. Don’t click links in emails or text messages unless they come from a source you trust. Even then, you might not be safe. Your trusted source might be compromised, or the email might be fake. It is the same on many social media sites, even in posts that seem to be from your friends. If a post appears unlike the style of your social media buddy, don’t trust it. Avoid getting spam every way you can.
- Protect Your Social Media Privacy
PCMag shared this in their article. “There’s a common saying: if you’re not paying for a service, you’re not a customer; you’re the product.” People love sharing on social media sites – everything from thoughts and pictures to videos and more. Be cautious and play your cards close to your chest. Don’t share everything about yourself.
Take Steps Now to Be Safer Online
While it may seem comforting to have a technician come to your home with tools in hand, the convenience and speed of remote service and support are invaluable. Remote support is faster and more efficient. For example, if you’re experiencing a problem, simply give us a call at 904-430-0350.
Categorised in: Computer Security
This post was written by Megabite