Security has always been an incredibly important aspect of life, but it’s even more of an issue these days now we’re able to control every aspect of our lives from emails, to social media, to banking from a single internet connected device. As such, it’s vital for that everybody keep an eye on how secure your online presence is. While you may think you aren’t a target, you most definitely can be. Hackers seldom target individuals, rather they get a list of email addresses and use a computer to try to work out the passwords associated to the email addresses they have.
This list isn’t exhaustive by any means, and there’s no such thing as a 100% secure online presence but this list should point you in the right direction.
It’s crucial that you never use the same passwords for multiple websites, and that you always use a secure password for every site. If one website you use has passwords leaked (e.g; with Adobe, Tumblr, and Yahoo in recent years), hackers can use computers to try the same password on other websites such as Google Mail, emails, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, PayPal – sadly they’re often successful
Remembering multiple secure passwords can get complicated, but it’s possible to use a password manager such as antivirus software company F-Secure’s ‘F-Secure Key’, LastPass, Dashlane, or Apple’s KeyChain if you use an iOS device and a Mac (there are many other services available but e also don’t ever recommend using random password managers from the Apple App Store or Android App Store as you don’t know if these providers are actually keeping your password secure.). With these services, you can randomly generate different passwords for all of your different accounts and which the password manager will save and encrypt for you. This means all you need to remember is 1 secure password to get into the password manager (and on most modern mobile phones, you can use your fingerprint to authenticate when you need to unlock the password manager).
Another way of securing your accounts is to use Two Factor Authentication (2FA). Companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Twitter push all their users to use this. 2FA means that when you log into an account, the site you’re logging into will either ask for a code from an app such as Google Authenticator or Authy, send you a text message with a code in it, and in the case of Google and Facebook they may even send a notification to your phone which you can tap Yes or No to.
2FA is crucial because it means that even if somebody has your password, they still won’t be able to log into your account.
Public WiFi can be incredibly insecure, it’s hard to know whether the network you’re connecting to is legitimate. In order to stay safe, you can use a VPN service. We do not ever recommend using free VPN services as these services often have the exact same security concerns as public WiFi itself. We use F-Secure Freedome, it’s reasonably cost effective and F-Secure as a company has proven itself to be reliable and trustworthy so far.
It’s important you also keep your phones, tablets, and computers up-to-date with the latest software updates. It’s also vital you have an up-to-date and valid Anti Virus subscription. If you have a Mac, you have to have anti-virus too. While it’s true Macs can’t get Windows viruses, they are still vulnerable to hackers and infections developed specifically for Macs. Nothing is ever 100% secure, that includes Apple products and Linux machines.
This may seem like a rather common sense approach to security, but it’s equally as important as the rest. Don’t make your password’s publicly available. Don’t write them down, and don’t log into things on untrusted computers (such as library PCs).