Being secure online is something that you really need to care about. The Internet, while being the haven of information distribution and sharing, is also a big bad place in many ways and there are always people looking out to cheat you or steal from you, much like the crime rate in a bustling city.
Fortunately, there are some very easy things you can do to increase your security online significantly. Here are 7 simple tips to increase your online security.
1. Have strong passwords: This is one of the simplest tips, and you’ve probably heard it many times before. However, it’s importance can in no way be understated. Your password is your means of authentication on every website on the Internet and you really don’t want someone to impersonate you or use your personal information by cracking a simple password. Have a password that’s at least ten characters long, with lower case letters, upper case letters and symbols. And absolutely never use the same password for multiple sites! You can use a program like KeePass to store your passwords, so you don’t even have to remember them.
2. Install the ‘Do Not Track’ plugin: A person is far less anonymous on the Internet than it really appears. There are company ads everywhere. Using your IP address, companies have a means of tracking you and using information collected over extended periods of time, they’ll know exactly what kinds of sites you visit. If you don’t want to be tracked, then install the ‘Do Not Track’ plugin for the Firefox or Chrome browser. This is an easy way to stop companies from tracking your online movements.
3. Install an Internet security suite: Although Operating Systems have come a long way in terms of security, so have the means of breaking those walls of security. It’s always recommended to install a good online security suite, as the companies who develop such software are often far more up to date on the kinds of modern threats than OS developers such as Apple or Microsoft. Although Apple doesn’t particularly recommend installing a security suite on their Mac OS, you’ll find that Windows actually urges you to do so and shows a warning message if a security suite is not installed. Since there are many free ones available, there is no reason not to get one.
4. HTTPS: Never give out your personal information on a site without HTTPS. You can find whether you are browsing HTTPS on the browser’s address bar. Although it’s okay to simply browse the Internet or make comments on sites without HTTPS, never actually divulge your personal information without it. Without HTTPS, you are pretty much an open book and anyone can see what you are doing.
5. Use Google’s two-step verification: Chances are that you are using a Google account for email. If you do, turn on two-step verification. Doing so will make Google ask you to verify each login attempt by entering an auto-generated code that’s sent to your phone as an SMS. Since your phone is always with you, there is no chance that anyone else can get access to that particular code. Your Google account probably also happens to be the email with you signed up for a multitude of other sites, so never let your email be compromised.
6. Always use access passwords for your portable technology: Losing a phone or a mobile device is a very real thing that can happen to you, even if hasn’t ever happened to you before. And your mobile device is a gold mine of personal information for people on the dark side. Always have an access password for your mobile phone or any other mobile device that you carry around with you. That way, you won’t lose anything more than a piece of physical hardware.
7. Watch out for phishing emails: Just remember the simple fact that no credible company will ever ask for your personal information via email. Divulging your personal information via email is simply a recipe for disaster. Never do it!