6 Steps to Keep Yourself Safe Online
Almost everyone is online in this day in age. The internet allows us to communicate with people worldwide. Why does this matter? While the internet is a highly beneficial tool, it also comes with risks.
As a managed It provider, we are constantly educating ourselves on the various risks using the internet can pose. This allows us to train our team and our clients on best practices to avoid clicking on something that could lead to a cyber breach. Protecting yourself online involves some work on your end, as well as a high degree of good ol’ fashioned suspicion.
Here are six basic steps you can take to protect yourself better online.
1. Avoid Sketchy websites
Avoiding sketchy websites used to be the key to protecting yourself online, and for the most part, it was relatively easy to do. But now, preventing malicious websites is only part of the gig. You can be infected with viruses, spyware, trojans, and other ruthless malware simply by opening the wrong email, clicking on the wrong link, or landing on the wrong website (whether it’s a sketchy website). However, this doesn’t mean safeguarding your online world is a lost option.
2. Use strong passwords.
Craft your passwords to be strong, and you’ll easily sidestep a vast majority of online threats. In the event of a severe data breach, the stronger your password, the less likely it is that your account information will leak out. But what does a strong password look like? Try a phrase with capital letters, numbers, and symbols. Just make sure the phrase is altered from account to account. Here are two examples:
3. Stay alert opening emails
When it comes to emails, always be skeptical of who messages come from and what they ask you to do. Malicious emails can be extremely targeted, making them very believable. It’s essential never to click on links, download files, or follow through with a request until you validate the email and its contents.
Phishing attacks are becoming increasingly more common and harder to identify. For this reason, it is critical to stay alert and look for some of the most common signs of a phishing email. If you are interested in learning more about how to protect yourself from clicking on a malicious email, check out this article: What is a phishing email? (5 ways to avoid them)
4. Shop only on trustworthy websites.
Sometimes it might be tempting to purchase products on obscure websites—maybe the product you’re looking for is hard to find, or it’s considerably cheaper on other, less popular sites. But is it worth losing your financial information to a thief or infecting your computer with a virus because you found a tee-shirt two dollars cheaper on an obscure website? For that reason, it is essential to ensure that you are only visiting websites that are verified.
5. Install a good anti-virus.
There’s no reason you shouldn’t have a good anti-virus installed on your devices. You can purchase software for a relatively reasonable price and install it on all your connected devices. Even though operating systems and browsers come with their own security, it’s important to layer on the security as much as possible. Anti-virus software will detect and destroy computer viruses. This will ensure that you are not accidentally allowing a virus onto your device.
6. Lock your device.
You should always have your connected devices locked—PC, laptop, tablet, phone, and anything else you may have. There should be a password to access your device and additional passwords to access applications and online accounts. This will ensure that if your device is misplaced you have a layer of security protecting your confidential files.
For an additional layer of security, we recommend implementing multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication, MFA, is a method that requires two or more factors verification factors to gain access to a resource, device, or application. The most common forms of MFA occur when you log in. You will likely need to verify your identity by a pin sent to another device, a fingerprint or face scan, or even answer personal security questions that only pertain to you.
Looking to strengthen your cybersecurity:
It is essential always to stay alert when keeping your devices secure. Although these are all great best practices to follow, there are many other tools to ensure you have strong cybersecurity.
Usherwood implements a vast array of security solutions to keep businesses secure as a managed service provider. If you are interested in learning about some of the most effective cybersecurity tools, check out this article: The Best Cybersecurity Tools to Protect Your Business From Cyber Attacks.