We live a lot of our lives on the internet these days. And that’s a wonderful thing most of the time. We’ve never been able to keep in touch with friends more easily, shop more conveniently and learn more quickly. The amount of things that the web allows us to do is just awe inspiring. It offers freedom in ways we might not have even been able to imagine just twenty years ago. The problem that there are people out there who are more than willing to take advantage of that freedom. Considering the amount of time that we spend online, it’s shocking how few of us pay that much mind to our security. The way many of us behave online is the equivalent of going out and leaving all your windows open and your doors unlocked. Luckily, upping your online security isn’t all that hard to do and doesn’t take much work. Here are just a few simple and easy tips to help you stay safe online.
Get strong passwords
Think of your password at the lock on your front door. You wouldn’t make your lock out of foam and bubble wrap, would you? By the same token, you shouldn’t settle for weak passwords that are easy to guess. Make sure that your password is long and features a decent amount of numbers and symbols. Using your name or the name of someone in your family is easy to guess while Gfd&in32 is pretty much impossible to guess. The other thing to make sure is that you’re not using the same password for everything. If you do and someone gets access to it, then you’ve practically left the door open to your entire online life. It might be a bit of a pain to try and remember them all, but that’s a small price to pay for security.
Your current computer usually comes with antivirus software as standard as well as a firewall. This is very useful and convenient, but a lot of the time these programs can be pretty basic. This means that they’ll only offer the smallest amount of protection. It’s worth investing in some serious antivirus software with a much stronger firewall. You should also make sure that you’re regularly updating that software. Cyber criminals work very quickly, and the moment that a piece of security software comes out, they will be working against it. The key is always to stay one step ahead of them. Keeping your antivirus software as up to date as possible is the best way do that. Of course, this only applies to when you’re using your computer, not your phone or tablet, but it’s still extremely important.
Backup and check everything
It’s important to make sure that you keep your guard up at all times. Backup all your important data and information. That includes smartphones and tablets. In the result of theft, the thief may delete everything of yours, and this helps to manage your level of loss. It’s also crucial that you check all your accounts online for any suspicious activity. This includes bank statements, Amazon and eBay accounts, and any other personal accounts that you have. Unusual activity on any of these could be one of the signs of a stolen identity.
Clean up your emails
Make sure you’ve got a spam filter on your email account. We all know not to reply to emails that claim to offer you money for nothing. But cyber criminals are getting smarter, a lot of the time these emails look much more legitimate. They could appear to be from your bank, including realistic looking watermarks and signatures. Some spam emails are even advanced enough to include your name in them. There are ways to tell them apart from the real thing, but it’s not always easy, especially if you’re not looking for them. A decent spam filter will do a lot of that work for you.
The best thing that you can do to protect yourself online is just to use a decent amount of common sense. Just think about how you would behave out in the real world. You keep your wallet hidden and close to you. You lock your doors. In the same way, you should be careful about how you browse online. Don’t click on links that seem unusual or suspect. You don’t need to be a computer expert to know that if something online seems too good to be true, then it probably is.