With the number of people online now exceeding 3.2 billion, the term worldwide web has never been more apt. The internet is glorious for a number of reasons and brings home a whole host of opportunities. However, for all its brilliance, it also brings a whole host of opportunities for attackers looking to steal the personal information for those who haven’t fully protected themselves.
Protect Your Passwords
First and foremost, keeping safe online starts with asking yourself ‘how secure is my password’. Never select a common name or word for your password, the likes of “password” and “qwerty” are no goes, neither are passwords of personal significance. Selecting your name, the name of your spouse or first pet may seem random and convenient to remember for you but it’s all too easy for attackers to guess.
And once you have thought of a word that isn’t so common and has no personal significance, you need to ensure that it has more than six characters and it is not all just lowercase letters. However, this simply does not mean inputting a series of numbers such as “12345678” or your birthdate. Instead, pad your password, use a range of both upper and lower case letters and special characters with numbers. For example: ‘0!J3ep0!’ is a lot harder to crack than ‘jeep03’.
Lock Down Your System
Though, you can have the strongest password in the world but if malware has already made its way onto your system then your attempts may prove to fruitless. Luckily, there a ton of reputable anti-virus programs out there that are free to download and that can protect your system. Simply select whichever program takes your fancy (after checking out their reviews of course), download it and then run regular system scams. These scans will highlight any malicious software and rid it from your PC or laptop.
Malicious software can make its way onto your system via a number of methods, most commonly by following rogue links or responding to dodgy e-mails. Never follow any URLs you aren’t sure of, even if they’re promising free prizes, or claim to be able to take you to your Facebook friends, if the link doesn’t look familiar, then simply avoid it. Similarly, if you find any e-mails in your inbox that aren’t from your contacts, simply delete it. If it does look authentic, check out the sender address and make sure it’s legitimate. This will maximize your security and limit the chances of hackers finding a way into your PC through your e-mails.
Never share personal information online, or store any personal information on your laptop. If a hacker does manage to penetrate your system then they will be able gain access to that information and use it for their own gain causing great inconvenience to yourself. Thus, never store passwords on your accounts, particularly for e-mails, social media and financial accounts. If a hacker has access to these, they’re able to exploit your reputation, finances and contact list.
Following these simple steps will help you to stay safe online, they take little to non often and will soon be second nature to you.