Keep Your Life, Computer and Devices Safe Online

safeonlineIf you’ve looked at the technology news lately you know cyber security breaches are a major problem. These last few months alone have shown us how top-tier companies like ebay and Microsoft can still be vulnerable to hackers and security breaches. The internet remains a very dangerous place. Here are some tips on how to stay safe online and keep your identity and computing devices from being hacked.

1. Apps Permissions This is especially important if you are using Android devices: make sure that you carefully read the list of permissions you give any apps that you download to your phone or tablet. Some apps request access to parts of your device that they have no business interfering with. Do some research into this app—find out who the developer is, what other people have to say about the developer, and why the app wants access to specific parts of your device.

2. Apply Updates and Change Your Passwords As Soon As Possible Most likely, by the time you’ve heard about a security breach, the company in question is already releasing a security update to fix the problem. Don’t wait to install it. The longer you don’t apply the latest protection against online threats, the greater your chances of being attacked. The same goes for your password: as soon as a company tells you to change it, do so.

3. Know How to Spot Secure URLs Check for the “https://” at the beginning of the website URL. If that prefix is missing it means your data is at risk if you enter it into that site. But look closely—do not enter information on sites that just begin with “http://” because they are not secure.

4. Don’t Share Details Over Email Let’s admit it, we’ve all been emailed by a Nigerian prince who just needs us to wire him enough money so he can unlock the millions of dollars he’s willing to share with us. Don’t be fooled, these are real scams aimed at defrauding you of your money and your identity. You should never share sensitive details such as bank information, passwords, credit card accounts, or Social Security numbers.

5. Keep Away from the Shady Wifi or Public Computer There are always going to be times when you need to use a different computer away from home. That makes sense when you’re in a jam, but that doesn’t mean you should make a habit of it. You will keep your identity more secure if you keep from logging in at the café too often.

6. Use Strong Passwords Strong passwords are a basic requirement. They’re a pain to remember but the best way to keep your accounts safe. Use a range of characters in your password that includes upper- and lowercase letters, special characters, and numbers. Sites that give you an indication of the strength level of the new password as you enter it are really helpful. And remember: never use the same password twice!