Living life in a digitally advanced era is hard without hearing, every now and then, about some major data breach exposing millions’ personal data and information to some grandiose scheme. Cybercriminals are ready every minute and second to hack into your account to steal not just money but photos and whatnot for blackmail and extortion.
Everybody with an online presence has nooks and crannies full of private info. These are accessible by anybody. The thing is, the access is in our control. For example, a public Instagram profile allows anybody to swoop and bear witness to your #ThrowbackThursdays and #AboutLastNight. Some breaches are hard-earned – the rest are just a walk in the park for criminals and stalkers alike.
However, you do not need to be a hacker to figure out someone’s password. Sometimes, people come up with unsafe, easy-to-guess passwords that have something to do with their name, birth date, or other personal things. Not all companies have a “strong password” policy, and hence, there are no barriers keeping people away from creating weak passwords. Most peoplechoose weak passwords as they are easy to remember. But little do they know their weak passwords can cost them. For passwords, though,1Password.com can help you manage all of your passwords, no matter how complicated and no matter how many, in a simple few steps.
Here are five tips for keeping your online info safe.
- Free Wi-Fi has a cost – use it with caution
We see free WiFis as a blessing – when on the contrary, they are anything but. Mostly, public Wi-Fi networks have close to zero security put in place. This means any other person accessing the same Wi-Fi can zero in on your activity. This includes the sites you are visiting and any sensitive information you are entering. We recommend you stick to your mobile data or wait until you get home to access the internet.
Home is where the Wi-Fi is password-protected, and only you know what it is. Also, where you can whip out your credit cards without any qualms.
- Not all links and attachments are safe
Click-baiting comes easily to cybercriminals. They bank on our natural curiosity and inquisitiveness. Most of us, if we deem a certain link or attachment we have been emailed trustworthy, will click or touch it without further thought. These links and attachments are a Trojan Horseyou let in. All a hacker needs is you to take the bait, and you are theirs for eternity.
How to tell legitimate links and attachments from, well, not-so-legitimate ones?
Look for spelling errors – they are sure indicators something is amiss more than half the time. If you get an email claiming you’ve received $1000, that is most likely spam. Email clients like Gmail filter these spammy emails for you; however, some are good enough to escape Google’s purge. You’ll need to be careful with those.One little trojan horse is all it takes for your data to be compromised.
- Always check if a site is secure before visiting
You need to ensure the sites you visit are safe and secure. One way you can determine this is to take a peek in the top left corner of your browser with the address. The lock symbol being there will signify that the site is safe. Additionally, look for the HTTPS, which is also an indicator that the site is secure to meander. You can install browser extensions like Ad Guard that display a verified secure seal next to every link on the SERP.
In case of missing seals, you can safely assume that the site has malware or cybercriminals waiting to peekaboo you.
- Keep your obsessive tendencies on social in check
Try not to overshare on social media. Putting up intimate details of your lifestyle alerts people scouting to hunt. If you’ve bought an expensive pair of headphones and very expertly photograph yourself wearing it, cybercriminals skimming through profiles will know there is more where that came from. They might try to hack into your bank account or take your credit card out for a trip. Not only is this dangerous, but it can also be annoying when internet trolls fill your inbox to the rim with creepy messages, especially in girls’ inboxes.
Be careful, and practice discretion.
- Think of additional safety measures
You could install antivirus software like AVG that give you and your devices an additional, more robust layer of protection. Firewalls are harder for cybercriminals to crack, which will keep your information safe from their prying, malicious intentions. Most programs offer an evaluation of how your current line of defense is doing, picking up on vulnerabilities that skip even the most skilled of IT technicians, and counter them with services of their own. Also, use ad blockers that substantially keep malware-afflicted content and spam away.
Time sure goes fast – when it wants to. The progression of technology is no exception. Call it evolution – but hackers are better at what they do than they were. If we want to keep our data and personal information safe, we will have to up the ante a bit. It doesn’t matter if you are not tech-savvy – protecting yourself trumps inexperience. You will learn on the way.
Without further ado, keep yourself and your loved ones safe from the ever-growing threat of cybercriminals.