Is your internet connection secure? Are you engaging in risky online behaviors, or simply not taking advantage of all the security resources at your fingertips? You need to stay safe when you’re online, or you could become a victim of ransomware, identity theft, or other cyber crimes.
Use secure passwords, and avoid reusing them for multiple accounts. Be suspicious of potential phishing emails and be careful with downloads. Update your operating systems, security software, and web browsers whenever updates become available. Turn on notifications for your bank accounts, and monitor your credit report for any signs of suspicious activity.
Use Secure Passwords
One of the most effective things you can do to protect your identity and your online accounts is to use a different, strong password for every single account. Of course, it can be hard to remember different passwords for every account – that’s why people tend to reuse their passwords, after all. But there’s a way to get around that hurdle. You can use a password manager. It’ll have a tool that allows you to generate strong and unique passwords at the click of a button. It’ll store your passwords and usernames (and you should be using a unique username for every account, too) and when you need to sign into something, you can access the password manager using a single master password.
Be Suspicious of Your Emails and Careful with Downloads
Phishing emails just keep getting more sophisticated, and it only takes a moment of weakness to fall prey to a phishing scam when they look so much like legitimate emails. You should always be wary of any email that asks you to click on a link to login to one of your accounts. If you’re worried about your account, open a browser and go to the website by typing in the URL. Then you can be sure that you’re logging into your actual account and not a mirror site designed to steal your credentials.
You should be careful about downloading things, too. Don’t click on email attachments you aren’t expecting or on attachments to emails from people you don’t know. Be careful when downloading apps – go to an official app store to minimize the chances of accidentally installing malware. If you’re worried about whether an app is dangerous, you can always google it or read the reviews.
Update Your Software Whenever Updates Become Available
Software updates patch security fixes, enhance performance and functionality, and correct bugs in the software. You should always install software updates as soon as they’re available, even though it’s a hassle. The sooner you install your software updates, the sooner you’ll be protected against attacks on known vulnerabilities. This goes for your web browser and apps as well as your operating system.
Use an Antivirus Program
You should definitely be using comprehensive antivirus software on each of your devices to protect them from ransomware, malware, and viruses. The best internet security software suites will offer all kinds of other features, like a password manager, dark web monitoring, a personal virtual private network (VPN), child safety controls, and more. However, you can probably get by with a free antivirus program if money is tight. Just be aware that you may have to install additional apps for things like ransomware prevention, password management, and VPNs.
Turn on Notifications for Your Bank Accounts
Most financial institutions allow you to sign up for text or email notifications whenever there is activity on your account. While it might be inconvenient to get a text every time you buy something, just wait until you get a notification about a transaction that you didn’t authorize. You can catch identity theft before too much damage is done, and lock down your bank accounts.
Monitor Your Credit Accounts for Signs of Suspicious Activity
You absolutely need to be monitoring your credit accounts for signs that your identity has been compromised. Most banks and credit card issuers offer their customers free credit monitoring services. You can keep an eye on your credit score as well as watching out for any new inquiries or new accounts opened in your name. Any strange information, like new Social Security numbers, new names, or new addresses should also raise red flags.
When you’re on the internet, you should always put safety first. There are lots of bad actors lurking on the web, ready to steal your information for a quick buck. Don’t let them take advantage of you – protect yourself today.