Going online is part of our daily routine for most of us, checking social media, keeping up with the news on the commute to work, ordering our weekly grocery shop, emails, banking, the list goes on. How many of us actually stop and think about our security online – if what we are doing is safe, secure and not putting ourselves or our bank balance at risk?
Ways To Improve Your Security Online
It doesn’t take a lot to improve your security online, just a few adjustments here and there and some basic guidelines to keep in mind whilst your online.
Sounds simple and pretty obvious but in reality just over a third of people use a PIN or pass code on their smart phone. It’s important to set up a PIN or pass code on your device whether it’s a mobile, tablet, laptop or computer, it will be your first form of defense if anyone got hold of your device. Imagine if your device was stolen or lost anyone could have immediate access to your emails, photos and private accounts and documents.
Whenever you get a new device it’s essential to install anti-virus and anti-malware software, make sure they remain up to date and regularly run checks on your systems. This is vital in order to keep your computer safe, and increase you security online, without it you leave yourself open to virus attacks, key loggers to name a few, all of which can destroy or compromise your personal accounts. As more people than ever are using their mobile to browse the internet, having a good anti-virus app on your phone is also a good idea.
Upgrade Your Email Security
Protecting our email accounts is one of the first and foremost important aspects in protecting your identity. Our email account is often needed for our other online accounts, for example setting up an Amazon or Apple account. Just take a moment and think about the content of your email inbox… if a hacker was able to access your email account they would have access to a wealth of information. They could possibly find out your bank account details, PayPal information, they could even reset all of your passwords and block you out of all of your accounts!
We would strongly advise using a strong, unique password for your email account, even using a free random password generator. It’s important to make use of 2 factor authentication, such as a security questions, entering a PIN code, if your email provide offers it. 2 factor authentication adds an addition layer of security to your account, if your account did become compromised the hacker would need to break through an extra barrier to reach your personal data.
Use a Password Manager
The best passwords to use and those that are hardest to crack should be long, complex and contain a mixture of numbers, letters and symbols. However these tend to be difficult to remember particularly when using a unique password for each of your accounts, that’s where a password manager comes in handy. Password managers store all your logins and passwords in one place, they can be offline on a device such as a USB, or cloud based, encrypting the data so it can only be accessed via a master password. Password managers often have a built-in random password generator to ensure all your accounts have you unique passwords.
Shopping online has become an ever-expanding market but it’s important to make sure that the sites you are visiting are secure, so look for a padlock symbol on the browser window or make sure it starts https:// which is even more important on the payment page. Don’t enter your details if it isn’t secure! If it’s a retailer you haven’t used before or haven’t heard of, it’s always good to do a bit of research and check it’s a reputable retailer, check their contact details like their address and phone number.
Check Privacy Settings
To improve your security online in terms of social media sites make use of the privacy settings they offer. It only takes a few clicks to make changes to the privacy of your profile. Think about what information you want to restrict strangers from accessing on your profile. Be guarded who you let in to join your network and become ‘friends’ with.