With the avalanche of data breaches, hack attacks and viruses this year, it's easy to get overwhelmed trying to keep up with your digital security. How can you possibly protect against everything?
Well, the answer is you can't, but you shouldn't ever think about giving up. It's easier to recover from a single security threat if your information is otherwise safe.
With just a few basic security steps, you can stop most of the threats aimed at you. And once you get your security set up, it doesn't take much effort to maintain. That leaves you free to focus on the big threats with less worry.
So, without further ado, here are three essential security steps you should take to make yourself safer today.
1. Secure your system
If you've been listening to The Kim Komando Show or reading Komando.com for any amount of time, this first step should come as no surprise. Security software is the first thing I install on any computer, and there's a good reason.
There are so many bugs and viruses online that an unprotected computer on the internet can get a virus in minutes. And these viruses don't just crash your computer. They can steal your passwords, banking information and your entire identity.
Even free security software is enough to catch and stop most of these threats so you don't have to worry.
Once you have security in place, then you only have to worry about keeping it updated. Thankfully, most software does that for you automatically. You should also be sure to keep the rest of your software updated, especially your operating system and browser.
Even if you have antivirus software, hackers will still try to trick you into downloading and installing a virus through phishing emails. This can bypass your security.
Note: This is why we often stress the importance of having a solid backup service that protects all your gadgets. You need something that protects data from your computer, laptop, phone and tablet, all within a single account. That's why we recommend our sponsor, IDrive! Plans start at just $5.95 per month - and as a Kim Komando listener, you can save even more! Click here to save 50 percent on 1 TB of cloud backup storage!
2. Set strong passwords
Thanks to online banking, social networking, and the cloud, much of your digital life is now online. Hackers would love to get access to any of your online accounts so they can steal the information you've uploaded.
Your password is the first line of defense against this. You want to make sure you set up a strong, unique password for every account. That way, it's hard for hackers and their computers to guess. If your password is revealed in a breach at another site, it won't give hackers access to every account you have.
Click here for a simple trick to creating a strong, easy-to-remember password. If you're feeling overwhelmed with passwords or want to create harder passwords, consider using a password manager.
Of course, there's another part to account security - the security question. A weak security question is just as bad as a weak password. It could let a hacker bypass your super-strong password in no time flat.
While you're securing your accounts, it's also a good idea to set up two-step verification - also called two-factor authentication. This makes it harder for someone to log in to your account with just a stolen password. Learn more about setting this up on Google, Facebook, Microsoft and more.
3. Enable Wi-Fi encryption
You wouldn't let a criminal waltz into your home, but that's exactly what you're doing if you leave your home Wi-Fi network unsecured. Not only are you inviting a crook to use your internet for illegal activities, they can snoop on your gadgets to find out what you're doing.
That can give them your passwords, surfing habits or even let them slip a virus onto your machines. This is why I tell you to be careful when using public Wi-Fi.
So don't let your home network be a public Wi-Fi hotspot. Here's how to make sure it's secure against hackers. You should also know how to check it occasionally for unauthorized users.