In 2021, it’s more important than ever to be security-savvy when it comes to your online data – but it can also be more complicated than ever. However, it needn’t be. By following the simple tips below, you’ll reduce the risk of anyone accessing your sensitive data and greatly improve your online security.
1. Don’t Be A Password Repeater
As tempting as it may be, do not use the same password for various different logins. If one site suffers a security breach, hackers could use your leaked username and password to attempt to gain entry to other websites, but this can be avoided by using different passwords. You may use our free online tool, data breach check to test if your online account has been compromised.
Memorizing many unique passwords can be difficult even for those blessed with an elephant’s memory. Luckily, password managers, many of which are free, take the guesswork out of remembering your passwords, storing all your passwords and reducing the mental burden to just one master password to gain entry to the password manager itself.
2. Use An Antivirus
I’m sure you’ve heard this time and time again, but it bears repeating: make sure you have up-to-date antivirus software installed on your devices. There is a huge range of antivirus software on the market, free and paid, and most offer protection against viruses, trojan horses, bots, and other kinds of malware. Ransomware protection can be harder to come by, so if your antivirus software of choice doesn’t offer this, consider adding an extra layer of protection by installing a separate program specifically to combat ransomware.
3. Try Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is a simple way to drastically increase the security of your accounts. In simple terms, it just means that instead of only needing to authenticate your identify in one way (most commonly via a username and password combination), you need to prove your identity a second way to gain access to an account. An easy but effective way of using two-factor authentication is setting up your accounts to require you to enter a code that has been sent to your phone. This is something no hacker, no matter how clever, can work around without access to your phone.
4. Don’t Neglect Passcodes
Leading on from the point above, make sure that your smart phone, and other devices, are protected with a passcode. If you lose your phone and it’s not protected with a passcode, the finder will have access to all of your private data – including any two-factor authentication codes. While convenient, don’t just use a four-digit pin. Where possible, biometric authentication is a much more robust way to secure your data.
5. Use A VPN
VPNs, or virtual private networks, are most important when using an internet connection that you don’t own. Say, for example, you’re using free WiFi offered by a coffee shop; someone else could be sneakily monitoring the data your device transmits and stealing it. A VPN encrypts your data, effectively creating a private tunnel that your data, and only your data, has access to. We've made a comparison of all VPN providers that are most popular.
6. Don’t Just Use One Email Address
Aside from helping you to be more organized and cutting down on spam emails, having multiple email addresses for different purposes can also help ramp up your online security. As an example, you could set up one email address dedicated to serious matters such as banking and bills, and one email address for social media accounts and websites that you suspect may inundate you with pointless spam. If you receive an email purporting to be from your energy supplier in the second inbox, you can bet it’s a scam attempt.
7. Don’t Save Your Passwords
It can save time in the short-time, but in the longer-term you may just pay the price for convenience. Many browsers offer a feature that stores your login details, saving you the hassle of having to dig out your username and password every time you want to gain entry to one of your accounts. However, think of it like this: if your browser has access to this information, it means that it’s stored somewhere, and there’s the potential for a hacker to become privy to this data. Most modern browsers such as Chrome and Safari offer password manager features through use of the Google Cloud and iCloud chains.
Instead of relying on password savers offered by browsers, opt for a more sophisticated password manager, mentioned earlier in this article, to ensure that your data is robustly encrypted.
8. Sort Out Your Cache
The amount of information stored in your cache is frightening. It wouldn’t take a detective to sift through the data stored here and put together a very clear picture of you and your habits, including potential passwords and other sensitive information.
It’s wise to clear your cache from time to time to purge the data that has built up, and luckily, it’s a straightforward procedure that should only take a few seconds.
9. Be Wary Of Where You Click
As a general rule, don’t click on anything that doesn’t come from a trusted source. Even if an email looks like it comes from someone you trust, that’s not necessarily the case, thanks to address spoofing techniques employed by scammers.
To be safe, user our online tools Unshorten URL and URL Redirect Tracker to determine final destination before clicking on it. For example, if you receive an email from your bank asking you to log in, don’t do so via the link in the email; instead, access the website via online tool to ensure you’re not directed to a fake site that only exists to harvest your login details.
Attempts to steal data online are more common that ever, and you can’t be over-cautious when it comes to ensuring the safety of your most sensitive private data. By using the tips and tricks explained above, you can massively improve your online security and reduce the chances of you and your data falling foul of a hacker.
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