As our lives are becoming more and more dependent on computer systems and the internet, it is becoming ever more important to ensure that the information we store and our assets are protected from others who have negative intentions. Thanks to social media, all of our communications are available online.
Thanks to mobile and online banking, as well as services like PayPal, our financial information and assets are available online. And thanks to the Internet of Things, it is possible to watch and listen to what goes on in and around our homes online. When used as they are intended, these services and devices make our lives more convenient, but left unsecured they can leave us in a lot of trouble.
Here Are Some Ways You Can Keep Yourself Safe.
Here below we have mentioned few of the steps to keep yourself safe in the online world:
The basics of internet security are to ensure that the devices you use are secured. This should be done at two levels: the local level, and the online level. To secure the local level, the device needs to be secured with a password or pass code.
So for computers and laptops, your user account should require a password before access is granted. For mobile phones and tablets, a pass code, pattern, fingerprint, or facial recognition should be set up to ensure only you can unlock the device.
At an online level, the device should be secured with a firewall and antivirus software. The firewall will prevent people from connecting to your computer without permission, whilst the antivirus software will help to prevent your device from being infected with malware, as well as remove any that slip through the cracks.
Multi Factor Authentication
In the early days of computers and the internet, personal accounts to log in to devices and networks were protected by very weak passwords that were stored using insecure methods. For example, it was common for users to use “password” as their password. These could be easily guessed by a nefarious person trying to gain access.
Over time, password rules have been strengthened with many services requiring users to have a combination of lower and uppercase letters, numbers, and punctuation. Another tool is to use multi factor authentication; this is where a user must enter two pieces of information to gain access.
Usually this is a password plus a unique code that is generated randomly by a device or sent as a text message. A common service for this is “Google Authenticator” which allows users to keep an app on their phone to generate these codes.
Some services use memorable information as well as, or instead of, these one-time pass codes. For example, PokerStars uses security questions and information about previously used payment methods as alternative verification methods. A similar method is used by Santander, which requires a combination of a static passcode and a one-time password sent as a text message to verify that a payment request is genuine.
Secure Your Internet Connection
You may have seen ads for VPN services recently. These are services that can encrypt your internet traffic to help make it less likely for prying eyes to see what you are doing. They have been around for decades, but have seen a rise in popularity in recent years thanks to increasing concerns about privacy online.
VPN services such as NordVPN and TOR Guard can encrypt your internet traffic and then “tunnel” it across the world to make it look like you are surfing the net from a different country. They are most useful when using WiFi connections in public, as these are where you are most likely to have your data intercepted.
Despite the claims though, these services do not provide you with complete anonymity, nor do they keep your internet traffic encrypted for its entire journey as it must eventually leave the “secure tunnel” to connect to the server of the website you’re trying to access.
VPNs are best for use when out in public, but you should also take precautions when you are at home. Your home WiFi network should be secured with a password (preferably using WPA2), and the administrator password for your router should not be the default one set by the manufacturer.
You should also ensure that the “hardware firewall” is enabled and that “Universal Plug and Play” (UPnP) is disabled unless you need to use this feature. It’s also advisable not to share your WiFi password with neighbours or anyone that you don’t trust.
These are some simple tips you can use to keep yourself protected online. By securing your devices and accounts with each possible layer of protection, you are able to minimize the risks to your data and assets. However, no level of security systems should give you reason to be complacent. You should always be alert for suspicious emails and links and for anything that sounds too good to be true.