Simple ways to protect your digital life in a few hours

Online security tips

Have you ever thought about what you would lose if a hacker got access to your mobile phone, personal computer, email, banking details, or online shopping details? Most of us now store a huge amount of information and data with online services, and just one breach can lead to further compromises, or perhaps even provide an attacker with remote access to you smart phone or computer.

If you could ask any hacker if your digital life is at risk and the simple answer is a definite yes. Do not despair or feel helpless. There are some easy and simple ways to make your digital life less of a target for hackers, money-hunting phishers and overly aggressive marketers by simply increasing your security and data privacy.

We were all trained that an anti-virus software programs is enough but it will take little more than that. Antivirus helps to identify problems, however viruses don’t spread like they used to; the bad guys have adapted and changed their ways and strategies such that antivirus programs cannot keep up.

The basic rule of online security is software updates, smarter passwords and better defensive web browsers. All it takes is for you to adopt a few digital habits to avoid being duped by hackers or criminals who try to exploit your good nature.

If your computer becomes slower all of a sudden or you start receiving shady-looking offers, the first thing you should do is to check for malware that you might have picked up while surfing the Web. A great program to use is Malwarebytes which does a great job of finding and removing worms and Trojans. Or a secondary form of defense try Hitmanpro.

After you have removed all the nasty things then you should spend some time going though the recommendations below.

Update your software – Software is always changing and being updated but this is to address new vulnerabilities. Basically if you install something, then you need to keep it updated. Always update your phone and computer operating system; and then move on to all the apps you have downloaded. Also remember to check the software of your router which is often overlooked and a back-door for hackers, or simply buy a new router. Always run the latest software.

Increase your browser privacy – A web browser is the first place a hacker goes to snoop and aggressive marketers use to exploit you. When exiting a web session or after accessing sensitive information like your online bank, clear browsing data and remove all website data and passwords. Never opt to stay logged in to any site or save passwords. To avoid unwanted marketers activate Do Not Track in the settings for your browser and install a browser extension like Ghostery, Disconnect or EFF’s Privacy Badger to block spying ads and trackers.

Use strong passwords – A strong password is all that stands between you and a hacker. Using strong passwords can contain any threat when a site is compromised. True on and use two-factor authentication of your most used services. Use a different password for every site, so if one company is compromised, the hacker cannot use your stolen username and password somewhere else. Best passwords are random, long strings of numbers and letters. All my passwords are at least 25 characters long and saved using password manager software that can be synced across all devices.

Check the apps you use – Given the number of apps we use – there is an app for everything – businesses are increasingly monitoring where you are going and you do all day. Both a privacy and security concern. Check which apps have access to your location and other data and choose to turn of access or delete apps you rarely use. Bonus, it will also save battery life. Also check your Facebook apps and clear all that you don’t care about. Perform a security check with Google and Facebook on your accounts.

Encrypt your drives – By encrypting your devices will prevent criminals even governments for accessing your info if your device is lost or stolen. Encryption makes it much harder to retrieve anything without your permission. On smartphones you should add a password or fingerprint to unlock phone. Always password protect and encrypt your computer and any external hard drive.

The biggest security risk and vulnerability to our computers and phones is ourselves. Hackers are clever and trick us into providing access tour computers. Always think before you click and read what is on the screen. Use your logic and be alert of phishing scams. Never click on any link or open any attachment in emails from individual or companies you don’t know. Use secure websites marked with “https” especially when entering payment information. Remember your online security not effect you but also the people you connect with online.

Avoid being a hackers prey and take the time to run regular security drills. It only takes a few simple steps to make you digital life less attractive to hackers, phishers and overly aggressive marketers.

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