Whether you’re online every hour of every day or just someone that jumps on when you need to order a hard-to-find item, you have an online presence. Simply booting up your browser and coming to this article gives you that, so keeping your head in the game when it comes to online security is paramount to your personal online safety.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that 9 million people per year suffer from identity theft. That means that if it hasn’t happened to you, chances are high you know someone who has dealt with it. Thankfully, there are ways to lessen the likelihood that your privacy and data will be violated online if you stay vigilant.
What’s the First Step for Checking Your Online Security?
First off, it’s best to understand exactly what you’re looking for when searching for best practices in online security; for example, there is a difference between online privacy and online security. Understanding the nuance is highly beneficial to staying secure online.
When you’re looking to be secure, you want to be sure that the things you want to keep private are protected. Basically, being private means not posting your passwords or financial information online whereas being secure is putting safeguards in place so that hackers can’t access that information without your knowledge. Two-factor authentication is the bare minimum to ensure your private things stay private. However, latest news shows that even this is no longer a silver bullet to strong web security.
The Next Step in Online Security
Most users want to protect more than just their financial information and passwords; they want to ensure their personal data, like browsing information and most-visited-websites, are not compromised. Additionally, they want to keep their devices safe from malware and viruses.
In order to both secure data and protect from malicious activity, follow these best practices:
- Only interact with those online that you trust.
- Do not accept friend requests from people you don’t know.
- Don’t click on links from people or sites you don’t trust. If you want to check out a site that looks questionable, do your research first. You can use Google’s Transparency Report or Comodo’s Web Inspector among other tools. Notably, StopAd PRO flags and blocks suspicious and malicious websites.
- If an email looks suspicious, treat it as malware. If you’re not sure, take a few moments to learn how to spot phishing.
- Install a trusted antivirus software. Today, you can find several paid or even free options, but make sure you do your homework. Gone are the days that simply blocking viruses was enough. Nowadays users want ad blocking, anti-phishing, anti-tracking, and much more (thankfully, that’s why we’re here).
Looking Toward the Future of Online Security
As our reliance on technology grows, so does our need for better online security practices. Instead of simply writing our passwords on a hidden piece of paper, online security requires robust action. We are now much more vulnerable than ever. Today, our devices are capable of recognizing speech and can be hijacked to eavesdrop. We have technology in our homes that are just waiting to hear “Alexa” so that they may grant our seemingly every wish. Our devices communicate to make our lives easier, but that means that our information is also more vulnerable. It is critical to not leave ourselves open to identity theft, data tracking, and other scary cybercrime possibilities. The more we trust our devices to complete our tasks for us, the more attention we need to pay to what is happening with the information they use to fulfill those tasks.
What aspects of keeping up with online security are most difficult for you?