Are you safe with just a password for your information and a lock on your smartphone or computer? Do you know all about the threats that could negatively impact both your information privacy and security? Do you just let things slide when scammers finally get ahold of you?
Barring what you may think, it’s not enough to just have the desire to be safe. Rather, you need to always make sure your information is secure every single day. And it goes past locking your devices and setting up passwords. You must make sure that your security is driven by instinct… by desire, like you would for making something to eat, taking the kids to school, etc.
Here’s our 5 important tips that ensure your private information stays safe and secure:
1. Turn your devices off
Locking your computer is rather convenient, right? After all, Windows users just have to hit the combination Windows+L to lock the computer. Or, they can allow the device to sleep so long as the power management settings have been correctly configured.
The only issue here is that the computer remains connected to the internet, which means online attackers can still get ahold of the computer. Many operating system do have protections that guard against the un-authorization of file installations, but compromised browsers don’t have that protection.
A key to steer clear of issues is to completely shut the computer off when you’re done. If you’re worried about boot up times, don’t fret. Windows 8 has a quicker boot time than the Windows operating systems of the past. Generally, booting issues are the result of hardware faults or malware presence.
2. Passwords or passphrases
Most people use a password, which is a single word from the dictionary that may or may not include numbers and/or punctuation marks and other characters. Of course, you don’t have to just use words. Rather, phrases, short sentences, song lyrics and titles and more can be ideal passphrases to protect your online identity. After you’ve come up with your passphrase, add numbers, characters, punctuation and capitalize letters to make a unique password.
With a unique password, you don’t have to write down all your passwords – a bad habit to start.
Luckily, we have some useful tips on how to make a strong password.
3. Avoid using administrator accounts for daily log-ins
If you have administrator access, don’t use it to log into your computer every day. If you do this, it can leave the machine susceptible to exploits and risks, especially if you overlook the obvious (fake popups that claim your computer has multiple viruses and you need to download the removal tool). Or, you visit a website that’s not been secured, which could allow remote scripts from the site to cause you issues. Computer files could be deleted, your hard drives could be reformatted and so many other terrible things.
One really terrible aspect could be the creation of a new inconspicuous administrative account, allowing a hacker to watch your move, record your keystrokes, steal your information and assume your identity.
Unless you really need administrative rights for a task – installation of software or hardware – log into a computer with a standard user account. And if you worry about losing the administrator password, don’t be feared because it can be recovered.
4. Keep hardware secured
If you use hardware that’s not attached to your computer, such as mobile hard drives, thumb drives, etc., you need to ensure that it’s kept in a secure location. For example, you can put your hardware into a locked cabinet. If you can’t, make sure that your tablet or laptop is kept in a bag and with you all the time.
Another thing to bear in mind is the storing of hardware in your vehicle. Leaving it in a car where people can see it through a window may be a surefire way of unscrupulous people to break into the car and steal it. On top of that, your portable device left in a parked car that gets hot could break.
You really don’t want to leave your hardware unattended at any point.
5. Use data encryption
Everybody needs to use data encryption to ensure their information is kept safe. Encryption means creating a PIN number for the SIM card on your smartphone or making a computer hard drive partition secure.
A decade ago, data encryption could only be used by people who knew what they were doing. However, times have changed and technology has evolved. Encryption is available on all kinds of devices such as desktop computers and phones.
The devices running Linux, Windows Phone, Windows, iOS, Android and OS X can be either partially or completely encrypted. If the devices become stolen or lost, they won’t reveal any information on the encrypted parts.
Also, it is crucial that you use secure and encrypted connection every time you go online. Nowadays it is as simple as a click of your mouse. Just sign up for some VPN service and you are good to go. By the way, here we have a great article about benefits of using VPN, what it does and how to choose the best one that will suit your needs.
The safety and security of your computer or phone is important to ensure your information stays just with you. Use the above tips to stay safe at all times.