The total number of internet users across the globe stands at 4 million and the issue of online security is on the agenda. This makes the world a more connected place than it ever was. Now, according to a study conducted by IT security analyst, AV-TEST, at least four new malicious software are dropped each second, boosting cybercrime levels by leaps and bounds.
Ain’t that a predicament? Sure it is. While a lot is being said and done to keep one secure, there seems to be a dent in the system that puts your online security at risk, every time. Here’s a roundup of 10 such valuable tips to protect yourself online.
Bulletproof Password for More Online Security
In 2016, around 4 percent of the global population preferred “123456” to be their password. This makes it the most common and worst password of the year. Fast forward to 2019, setting a password that is actually “strong” is still bafflement to many.
Setting up a strong password is perhaps the simplest thing, yet the strongest measure that one can adopt. Passwords hacking at the hands of professionals involve trying out all possible user names and password combinations.
The fun part being, the more unique your password is, the more secure it becomes for the hackers to infect your system with malware to steal sensitive data. Given the good number of accounts a person holds, it’s quite tempting to set default and simple to remember passwords. Well, here’s where you need to resist your call and make use of a password manager.
Tools like Dashlane and LastPass are great options for managing passwords. They come highly reputable and genuinely intuitive offerings that can use to the very best of your advantage. Also, ensure that your online accounts have multi-factor authentication as an added security measure.
Checklist to Help You Create a Bulletproof Password
- Limit your password to at least 10-12 characters in length, unless specified otherwise. Use a combination of numbers, alphabets, special characters, upper cases, and lower cases. The idea is to make it unique and complicated for anyone to crack.
2. Go random and never refer to the dictionary for inspiration.
3. Never choose to use similar passwords for different websites.
Always Keep Your Software Updated
More than 40 percent of people delay by at least 45 days to update their software. Software security is a battle in progress. Such facts bring out the vulnerabilities and exploit security laws as developers get busy deploying patches for software updates in lieu of better protection.
As a user delaying such updates makes a device more open and susceptible to be attacked from various fronts.
With such data in mind, it becomes all the way more imperative to keep your browser, OS, and antivirus programs secure and up to date to avoid any breach of security.
Smart Tip: Enable “Automatic Updates” for all installed software, which should give you peace of mind.
Handling Emails with Caution
With more than 30 percent of phishing emails being opened by users, there’s a good chance of malware being distributed through email. Hackers are known to create a series of sophisticated emails disguised as sales offer coming from a reputed institution like bank or government school, for instance.
Such emails contain tempting links and attachments which trigger malware to your system upon clicking. So, always avoid unsolicited offers and double-check URLs before clicking, and file extensions before downloading.
Boost Network Security
Now that you know how to make your logins safer, it’s worthwhile to ensure your connections are secure as well. While at home or work, it’s pretty standard that you use a router that comes with password protection to keep your data encrypted.
However, when you are out on the road traveling, the usual temptation is to use public Wi-Fi, the ones that are offered for free across restaurants and coffee shops.
Such public Wi-Fi’s are usually a preying ground for hackers to steal your confidential information.
To help protect yourself, invest in a VPN so that you can safely connect and work from just about anywhere.
Using a Firewall for Better Online Security
Contrary to what most people think, a secured network requires a firewall too.
Even if you use comprehensive security software that often comes bundled with your OS, a firewall ensures security for all devices connected.
That includes even IoT devices like webcams and thermostats, for instance. A majority of IoT devices still don’t come equipped with any security measure, which makes it a vulnerable point for hackers to access your network.
Embrace Selective Sharing
Cases of impersonation, identity theft, password hacking-all such incidents they have a secure connection with people failing to act and share selectively.
Social media grip our lives more than ever. So one should be cautious enough to share what can be used against them, especially information related to one’s identity.
Using an Adblocker
Although not a traditional security measure, ad-blockers are an excellent way to steer clear of annoying ads while surfing the web.
Besides, it ensures your webpages load faster and hence makes it more private by eradicating mal-advertising. Furthermore, it also blocks the ad servers from keeping a tab on your surfing habits.
Customize Your Privacy Settings
We live in an age where information is being over shared frequently. Hence, the default settings for multiple websites, mainly social media platforms remains invasive, which might lead your personal life to be more exposed than one can possibly imagine.
One can easily avoid this by customizing your privacy settings and customizing profiles that suit your need to reduce data breach by punching in the information that’s essential for things to function.
Modern-day browser plugins work to offer privacy. They do it by resorting to blocking third-party ads that also track the movement of an individual across the web without one’s permission. As such, it provides an added layer of security for one’s personal information.
Know About Latest Scams
With online threats evolving each moment, it does matter to stay updated. Knowing about risks is also a great way to stay protected by adopting measures accordingly.
For instance, over the last couple of years, ransomware is on a spree. There hackers threaten you to have gained control of your personal information and lock away the same unless one is ready to pay a hefty ransom. It means a lot to stay updated on online security threats. Then you can avoid such happenings, rather than having to conflict the same.
No Matter What, Always Back Up
Stay alert about things you do online. The websites you regularly visit, the information you share, your friend list across your social media profiles, etc.
No matter how secured your network is, never deter from backing up your data using external devices like a portable hard disk. Such a practice can help you in the face of any online security breach or system issues affecting your personal information.
Internet risks, no matter how deadly, needs to be accessed with an open mind and not be scared of. By adhering to simple guidelines and a host of safety measures, one can protect their data from cybercriminals prying on.
Did we miss anything that you feel other readers can know about? Feel free to drop a line and will surely add the same to the list. Till then, happy and safe browsing!
Petr is a serial tech entrepreneur and the CEO of Apro Software, a machine learning company. Whenever he’s not blogging about technology for itechgyan.com or softwarebattle.com, Petr enjoys playing sports and going to the movies. He’s also deeply interested in mediation, Buddhism and biohacking.