5 Extremely Practical Ways You Can Stay Safe Online
With so many business professionals spending so much of their time online these days, it’s important to have a frank conversation about how to stay safe and secure on the internet.
Try These 5 Security Tips
When you walk down a dark street by yourself at night, your instincts naturally kick in and you start to notice everything that’s going on around you. You recognize that you’re in a potentially-compromising situation and that you could be harmed.
But did you know that you’re now 20-times more likely to be robbed while at your computer than held up on the street? That’s right, online fraud is now more common than theft – with 1 in 10 adult Americans being attacked every year.
If you’re cognizant of your physical surroundings, it would make sense that you’re equally (if not more) aware of your digital surroundings. Having said that, here are some security tips you can use to protect your identity, your wallet, and your peace of mind.
- Don’t Open Spam
If someone sends you an email, it must be for you – right? Well, not necessarily. Spam isn’t just annoying – it can actually be quite dangerous.
“Spam is also often a gateway to a phishing scam — a technique scammers use to trick people into giving out personal information such as credit card numbers, bank information, and passwords,” explains Gwynn Ballard of Security Baron. “Phishing emails often appear to come from reputable sources. So even if you think an email was sent to your spam folder by mistake, be aware that it could be a phishing attempt.”
- Cover Up Your Webcam
Have you ever thought about how creepy it is that the computers in your home have little front-facing cameras? While these cameras make it easy to video chat, they also make you susceptible to being spied on.
There are countless stories of criminals hacking into a private computer’s camera and using it to spy on people. The easiest way to avoid a problem like this is to cover up your device’s camera when it’s not in use. You can do this with a simple piece of tape.
- Change Passwords Regularly
A password is like a key to your front door. Just like you get custom keys made to fit the locks on your house, you should always customize your password. Using a generic or easy-to-guess passcode is like taping your key to the front door and asking people to come inside.
You don’t need a degree in cyber security to create a complex password. All you have to do is use a combination of symbols and letters, making it long enough that it’s impossible for a password cracking system to easily guess it. Between 8 and 10 characters is ideal.
- Backup Files
Always backup your files in more than one place. If something were to happen to your device, it’s important that you’re able to retrieve your data. Most people choose to backup their files with a cloud service, which allows them to safely and securely access their information, regardless of where they are or what device they’re using.
- Look for Warning Signs
Part of being a safe internet user is being aware of your surroundings at all times. If you encounter something that doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. It’s better to be safe than sorry these days and you should think twice before engaging in risky behavior.
Ignorance Isn’t Bliss
They say that ignorance is bliss, but this isn’t true when it comes to cyber security. Ignoring the threats you face will ultimately lead you to be victimized. By taking a proactive approach to security, you can greatly reduce your chances of being attacked and rest easier at night.