Staying Safe Online
With the advent of computers and the internet comes a new territory for bad people to attack. Now, more than ever, protecting our identity and personal information is of the utmost importance. This is a reminder article on ways you can protect you and your information from being intercepted.
Use Complex Passwords
This is one rule I think we are all guilty of not following. We have to remember more passwords then ever before. Oftentimes, if your account is hacked, it’s because someone has worked out what your password is. There are huge lists of passwords that are distributed for the world to download and use to crack a password. If you have difficulty remembering all of your passwords there are free programs such as LastPass. It’s free to download and use but if you would like the upgraded features and the ability for your Lastpass to follow you with your mobile devices or tablets it’s $12/year.
While it’s obvious that we’re not going to give out our passwords to everyone or post them publicly on a forum it’s important to use complex passwords with 8 or more characters, upper AND lowercase, numbers and a symbol. It’s equally as important to use a different password for each online service, this prevents the attacker from gaining access to all of your accounts since the password they have cracked is only used for that one site.
Enable Two Step Verification
Two Step Verification is something you may have noticed everywhere. And it should be enabled everywhere you sign in online that offers it as an option. Two step makes it impossible to get into an account unless you enter a code that is sent to you via text or e-mail. Meaning a hacker who has cracked your password won’t be able to sign in without your phone.
Protect Your E-mail and Computer
This is one that I have to reiterate on a daily basis. Don’t click the link that is in your e-mail and do not open that attachment. If someone you know sends you an attachment or a link that you were not expecting please check with the sender to confirm it was sent by them. Clicking on an attachment can install malware on your machine if it’s malicious. No matter how much they say “You’ll LOVE this!” don’t click on it.
Sign up for Login Notifications
If your account is accessed from an unfamiliar location you will be sent a notification via e-mail or text. If this feature is offered you will typically find it in the security settings of the website in question.
Change Your Passwords Every 90 Days
There is a reason your company requires your e-mail and domain account passwords to be changed every 90 days. It prevents unauthorized access to your account because even if someone did crack the password if you change it every 3 months you remove the chance of your account being accessed again.
Only Access Your Accounts from Secure Locations
Logging into your bank account at the local Starbucks is a very bad idea. Nothing is free and this holds especially true for public Wi-Fi. While it can be useful if in an emergency, try to avoid them as much as possible. If the network has been compromised one login is more than enough information for someone with malicious intent. Better yet, if you need to access public Wi-Fi often, look into a VPN setup.
HTTPS is a variant of HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol). The S stands for Secure and it adds an extra layer of security and encryption when online.
To recap on all of the information given above, don’t click the links, use secure passwords and two factor authentication, and be sure to stay away from public Wi-Fi.