The internet allows you access to the world at large, but it also allows the world at large access to you. If you’re not careful, you could easily be the victim of any number of various online attacks. In fact, depending on where in the world you live, many people are as likely or more so to be attacked online than in real life. Yet we rarely take cyber security as seriously as real-life security.
Luckily there is a day, February 7th, on which awareness is raised about internet security, and the hashtag #SaferInternetDay is currently trending! So we’ve compiled a list of 10 tips that we could all implement in our daily internet usage which would go a long way in making the internet safer for everybody.
- Never use the same password twice. Many people use a clever set of rules to create unique passwords for each website. We suggest using a password manager such as KeePass, which can create and store high entropy passwords for you without ever having to type them in, leaving you impervious to key-logging attacks and simple password-cracking tools.
- Always use 2-factor authentication when available. Not only does 2FA prevent users from accessing your accounts/information without your cellphone, but it also acts as an alert that somebody has attempted to access your accounts/information.
- Never use free/public WiFi. Most people know very little about the security risks posed by free/public WiFi. For a work-around, if you really value your free WiFi, at least use a free VPN.
- Always read terms & conditions/privacy agreements. In many cases, you may be agreeing to have your information used in a way that you wouldn’t approve if you had only read the privacy agreement! Always remember to read what you’re agreeing to before agreeing to it!
- Never open an unexpected attachment from a stranger. This is called phishing, when hackers will send out thousands or even millions of random emails with links that, if followed, will, in some way or another, attempt to steal your information or infect your computer.
- Always lock your phone/tablet/computer! These devices all have built-in security features which, in most cases, can be tightened or loosened in the settings. Make sure you keep your security tight and your devices locked when you’re away from them.
- Never check the “save password” box. Your devices may be secured, but if anybody does somehow gain access to them, they will have access to any account which you have the password saved in your browser for. Avoid this again by using a password manager — we recommend KeePass.
- Always use additional security for online banking. Most banking Apps and mobile sites are pretty secure, and offer plenty of increased security options to their users. We suggest that you use as many of them as possible.
- Never use a default password. This is far less common today than it used to be, but one good example of a default password is your router. Always make sure to set your router password to something unique.
- Do not share personal information online. This goes mostly for social media, where many people often feel comfortable sharing information that they don’t realize could compromise their security. One simple example is the answers to common recovery questions, such as your mother’s maiden name or the name of your first pet.
We hope you will use some of these tips for a safer internet in your daily internet usage, and maybe we can see a future where hackers and cyber criminals are disincentivized based on the knowledge and security of average internet users!