5 Ways to Keep Your Information Safe Online
Working online is a way of life for many people these days. There is no denying that we live in a virtual society where we spend a good portion of our days on the computer and/or the phone. It’s how we access our bank accounts, keep in touch with friends, and so much more. Because we spend so much time online, it makes sense that much of our personal information is out there floating around on the internet. How can you keep your information more secure while going about your business online?
Fortunately, keeping yourself safe while browsing the internet doesn’t have to be difficult. If you follow a few simple steps, you can eliminate a lot of the risks involved. Here are just a few of the ways that you can start keeping your information safer today:
1. Avoid Public Wi-Fi
It can be tempting to set up shop at your local coffee store and spend an afternoon managing your bookkeeping, browsing the internet, and more. Cozy places like these will lure you in with the promise of caffeine and free wi-fi. However, you might want to think twice before you decide to use their internet. In fact, you should always double-check that you’re using the right connection. Hackers can create trick wi-fi networks that look legitimate but are actually designed to steal your information.
There are other risks of using public wi-fi as well. It’s common for hackers to use these popular locations to snoop around in your personal information, particularly if you are accessing sensitive data like your email or bank account. You could be subject to “man-in-the-middle” attacks where hackers can listen in on the “conversations” you are having over the internet. Without your knowledge, they can even sneak malware onto your computer.
Do yourself a favour and protect yourself by limiting your use of public wi-fi. Save all of your sensitive work for home where your internet access is more secure. Keep in mind that a network is only safe if a limited number of people have the password. Consider how many people have access to your home wi-fi and you may even want to think about updating your password there!
2. Create the Right Passwords
One of the most important things you can do to keep your accounts safe is to block potential intruders. If you have passwords that are easy to guess or figure out, then your information is likely to be hacked. You might suffer from an online attack if friends or employees can guess your password. Instead, it’s advised that you choose very unique passwords with a high strength rating.
Consider how many accounts you have. Do they all have the same password? In addition to making your passwords more secure, you need to switch it up from account to account. This helps prevent hackers from accessing all of your data. They may be able to break into one area of your online presence, but having different passwords limits what they are able to access.
Of course, you have to think about how practical it is to have these multiple passwords. You can actually use a password manager to help you keep track of everything. You need to make sure that you use the right online tools, and a password manager could be a must-have item for you if you are easily forgetful or have a lot of accounts.
3. Always Use Passwords
In addition to creating strong passwords, it’s important that you utilize the password protection feature on your devices. You might think that you are saving yourself time by foregoing entering the password on your smartphone or laptop, but you’re easily allowing anyone to access the information on your device without even trying. What happens if you leave your device sitting on the table of the coffee shop for a few minutes while you run to the restroom? Anyone can pick it up and immediately access your information. Be smart and make sure to set up password protection on all your devices that offer it.
4. Limit Use of Social Media
We all know people who overshare the details of their lives on social media. It might seem innocent enough, but you should really think hard about what details you want out there on the internet. Doing things like sharing your location can put too much of your personal information into the wrong hands. You should always carefully consider how much detail you want to share with friends, family members, and definitely, with people you don’t know on the internet.
If you do decide that you want the freedom to share detailed posts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, make sure to check your privacy settings. This allows you to limit the people who can view your posts and basic information. While it may not be a foolproof way to keep hackers at bay, it can definitely improve the odds that you keep a more secure presence online.
It may seem like common knowledge but there are certain things you should never share on social media, regardless of your privacy settings. These can include items like your address, phone number, account numbers, and social insurance number.
5. Don’t Click on Unknown Items
Everyone receives a few emails from unknown senders from time to time. It can be tempting to open these letters to see if they are from old friends or long-lost family members. Unfortunately, these are often phishing emails that contain viruses or spyware that can wreak havoc on your device. If you open these types of emails, you could be giving hackers access to all the information that you type on your computer moving forward. This gives them access to your bank accounts, social media accounts, and more.
In addition to avoiding emails from unknown senders, you should also refrain from opening files or clicking links sent by strangers. These can have an equally devastating effect and put your information in jeopardy. If you don’t know where something came from, you should avoid opening it at all costs.