When you think about it, we do a lot of things online and that’s one of the reasons that you need to be careful about your data on the internet.
The below tips are therefore here to guide you to keep your data private and to keep you safe when being online.
Use Strong Passwords
The first tip is to use strong passwords which are easy for you to remember but hard for someone to guess it. The attackers will likely be using a Brute Force Attack to guess your password. Using this method the attacker checks all possible passwords, words and other possibilities until the correct one is found. You can imagine that if you would use a very simple password it’s going to be found just like that. But if you use a strong password then this process will take a long time, then you’re giving the attacker a much harder time. So a strong password is mandatory, but how do you com up with a strong password?
Use a Password Manager
There are a lot of ways to come up with strong passwords and be creative; take a song, it’s release year, make it memorable, remove some letters, add special characters to it and you repeat this proces for each new account but with different approach. Instead of using a song, you take a movie etc. Hmmm… Now you start to realize that this is going to be difficult to come up with a strong password but also remembering them.
Luckily there is an easy way and that’s to use a password generator. Almost all of the password managers out there offer this as a standard feature. In the past I wrote an article about LastPass: A Great Password Manager which is a great too. This way you simply give away this “fun” task to the password manager and simply use this as your password.
What about remembering it? Well, no need to do so because you’re using a password manager! Great, easy and secure!
Use Multi Factor Authentication for your accounts
Now you have a strong password but you could add another layer of security to your account by setting up Multi Factor Authentication. How does it works? It’s basically an identify verification software to see if you are really the owner of the account. So as soon as enter your password to, let’s say Gmail, then you need to provide a six digit code to prove that it’s actually you which is trying to login. This way even if someone would have your password, they need to have this verification code. For this you need an app like Authy, Google Authenticator, Authenticator from Microsoft.
Think before you click!
Phishing is a one of the most form of cyber attacks and is mainly delivered by email. Although an increasement of phishing through SMS and Whatapp is also very common. The attacker simply sends out an email which might look it comes from your Bank, employer or what so ever and leverages your emotions to click on the link in the email. The link might ask you for your bank details, or you might download a virus or even worse ransomware. So in all cases, your money will be gone! Therefore always check the email with the below points in mind and ALWAYS think before you click.
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- Is it a legitimate email?
- Do I know the sender?
- Are there “emotions” involved?
- A sense of urgency “You “NEED” to respond before …
- and more
- Unusual requests
- Spelling mistakes
- Spoofed URL’s
Don’t use Public Wi-Fi & Use VPN
As a general rule I always recommend not to use ANY public Wi-Fi’s because of the obvious dangerous. You simply don’t know who’s behind the network and all of your traffic may be exposed to anyone on that network. If you really, really need to connect to a public Wi-Fi, then please use VPN! There a lot of VPN providers out there and yes, they do cost you a couple of euro’s a month but that’s the price for being safe!
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Lock & Secure your device when you don’t use them
If you would lose your phone and someone else finds it, then they have gained access to your phone and therefore your data. Always make sure to lock your device with a password, a passcode or fingerprint. Also put them in a secure place, and out of the sight, when you don’t need them.
Encrypt your data
Encryption uses complex algorithms to turn plaintext data into ciphertext. You should always encrypt your data on any of your device. This way, if your device is stolen or lost, the one who finds it can’t access it. It’s just like putting a lot of fruits into a blender and mix it… You can easily encrypt your laptop’s harddisk, or encrypt important emails.
External Storage Devices
You should only trust external storage device if you know their origin. If not, simply do not plug them in your device. They might contain viruses, ransomware or they might be designed to kill your device. Also, when you want to exchange date, always encrypt the data!!
Keep your devices up to date
Whether it’s your phone, laptop or any other (smart) device which you have at home, always make sure that they’re updated with the latest security patches. This also counts for the apps which you’re using as well.
In case that you’re in the market for any new (smart) device, check how they handle security patches and updated.
Photo by Clint Patterson on Unsplash
Preventing shoulder surfing in public
Yes, someone who’s sitting behind you is able to watch what you type on your screen. The best way to prevent this is to buy privacy filters for your laptop. Luckily there are also privacy filters for your phone!
As you can see there are a lot of things which you can do in order to protect yourself and data these days. Yes I know it’ll take some deep dive into the different topics but with the security information available at hand these days, this shouldn’t be too much of a hassle!
Cover Photo by Clint Patterson on Unsplash