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March 24, 2019

Tips for Online Security

Online security is something that many people do not think about. This can be a serious problem causing computer damage or financial loss. When people do not monitor their online security, they leave themselves vulnerable to ransomware, phishing, identity fraud, and theft. Online security experts, lists these 8 ways that people can improve their online security and safeguard their information on the Internet.

1. Be Careful with Security Questions

One major vulnerability that people forget about is the security question. With the existing questions on most websites, it is easy to figure out the answers. Mother’s maiden name, birthplace, and a pet’s name are simple to find on social media or online. It is better to create your own security questions featuring non-guessable words or to create random strings of characters to use for these questions. Of course, you will need to keep a record of the random strings so that you will not be locked out of your own account.

2. Safe Password Use

Insecure passwords cause many security problems online. When creating a password, make sure that it is as random as possible, including numbers, letters, case variations, and special characters if possible. It can be difficult to remember these passwords. Consider keeping them in a password manager program and safeguard that password as well.

It is crucial that people avoid reusing passwords for different sites. If a hacker is able to determine your password, he or she may try it on other sites and access your information in multiple places.

3. Use Two-Factor Identification

Websites that use two-factor identification are much safer in terms of security. With two-factor identification, people may have to use a code from their cell phone and computer to log into a website. This is especially useful for situations where a password has been forgotten. Many popular web services like Apple’s iCloud login use this method, along with many banks and financial institutions.

4. Watch Out for Phishing

Phishing emails, or emails spoofing legitimate emails, have become even more sophisticated in recent years. The emails may look exactly like regular emails from a company you do business with. Watch out for any misspellings in the text and be sure to check the email address it came from. If it is misspelled or contains unexpected characters, you are probably dealing with a phished email.

Phishing can lead to the loss of your valuable personal data and also to identity fraud. If you do click through on the email and enter your personal information like bank account details and Social Security number, you will be vulnerable to financial crime.

5. Update your Operating System

Make sure that your computer, phone, and tablet are all running the latest versions of their operating systems. Operating systems are patched frequently to remove known security vulnerabilities. If you do not keep your machines up to date, you will be more vulnerable to attack.

6. Watch Out for Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi is everywhere. From restaurants to the mall, logging into public Wi-Fi is tempting. Never send private information using an unsecured Wi-Fi connection. When you see a secure connection, it will have a lock icon beside the name of the network. For extra security, use a Virtual Private Network or VPN app to secure your transactions. Never log into a website requiring a password while you are on an unsecured Wi-Fi connection.

7. Secure Your Social Media

Do not add people you don’t know personally, and don’t post too many personal details. Avoid publicly posting vacations, times when you will not be at home, workplaces, and personal data. Even a check-in away from home can let a criminal know that your belongings are now free for the taking.

8. Keep your Antivirus Protection Updated

Antivirus programs can help people keep their computers secure. Keeping these programs up to date will ensure that known vulnerabilities are caught. These programs can also flag potentially dangerous attachments or other problems like malware or malicious software.

Be Secure Online

With these 8 tips, you will be able to create better online security for yourself and your family. Above all, be cautious and always assume that your information is vulnerable. Avoiding scams, phishing, and malware is a huge part of online security. Be careful with your passwords, and with your social media accounts. These tips will make your information more secure and keep you from experiencing costly fraud or identity theft.

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