Let's face it, even though much of the information and knowledge we gain is online, the internet can be a scary place. Recent studies have shown that four new malicious software programs are created each second.
The stats might sound a little scary, but thankfully you don’t have to be a computer wiz to protect yourself while you're online. With some thoughtful preparation and access to the right tools, you can feel secure each time you browse the web.
Let's start with a little quiz:
- Do you have the same password for every application or website?
- Do the websites you visit always start with https://?
- Do you use public Wi-Fi without a VPN?
- Do you immediately install new updates on your computer?
Every minute you spend online is a cybersecurity test. Even when you aren’t facing threats directly, the dozens of businesses you trust with your digital life and reputation likely are. That's why our sponsor, F-Secure created the Digital Life Test. We'll go through the quiz together and give you some insight along the way.
Take the F-Secure Digital Life Test and find out. Here are some tips based on your results.
Do you have the same password for every application or website?
If you answered yes to this question, you should seriously consider changing things up a little when it comes to using a universal password for each platform you use. Having a unique password for each service you access is probably one of the most important aspects of online security.
Whether it's social media, online banking or any service that requires a password, it's important that your passwords are not only specific but strong as well. However, strong passwords are not so strong if it can be used to access all of your accounts. For example, if one of the online platforms or services that you use is compromised, all of your other accounts are at risk.
Given the numerous accounts and passwords the average person has to remember, it’s tempting to default to one simple password. Don't!
Instead, it's strongly recommended that you use a password manager that allows you to store all your passwords safely in one place without requiring you to remember complicated character combinations.
Do the websites you visit always start with https://?
Not sure? Don't feel bad, you're not the only one.
You've probably seen the green lock next to the link in the search bar. This means that your connection to the website is encrypted and secure. If the lock is absent, your connection can be seen by someone who may be stalking that particular website and can record all communication between you and the site. This puts your usernames, passwords, and any other personal info at risk.
Unfortunately, looking for the trusty green lock isn't enough anymore. If you want to be sure that your connection to a site is secure, you'll have to delve a little deeper.
Take a closer look at the content posted on the website, such as contact info, their location and if they have a physical address in a legitimate country. If you're on a site that requires you to enter personal info, be sure that some form of encryption is in place and just use common sense.
You can also utilize other websites like the Wayback Machine, which is a digital archive of internet content that holds virtual snapshots of web pages across time. Sites like these are a great tool for tracing the history, origin, and legitimacy of a website, along with newer or older versions of a site that you may not be sure about.
Do you use public Wi-Fi without using a VPN?
First things first, if you don't use a VPN (Virtual Protection Network), it's strongly recommended that you do. Not just for use in public places, but for using at home as well. If you do use a VPN, but not when connected to public Wi-Fi, you're playing with fire. Every time you connect to a public network, your information becomes public as well.
When using public Wi-Fi, always assume someone is watching. Anyone on the same network can see anything that's not encrypted that comes in or goes out from your devices. Even scarier, is that someone can hijack your connection and fool you into giving them passwords and other private info.
If you're using a public network, only transmit data that you wouldn’t mind being seen by others and never enter login details or banking information when connected to public Wi-Fi.
Do you immediately install new updates on your computer?
Software security is an ongoing, uphill battle. Mostly because the landscape is ever-changing and security software must move at the same pace as hackers and cyber threats.
As vulnerabilities are exposed and security flaws are exploited, developers create patches to update their software and provide users with upgraded protection plans. Delaying these updates or simply ignoring them leaves your device and your personal, private info, wide open to a potential attack.
With this in mind, keep your operating system, web browser, antivirus program, and other software up to date to reduce the risk of a potential security breach.
The best way to ensure that your devices get the updates they need is to enable updates to automatically download themselves in your software settings. This will give you the security and peace of mind you need without even having to press a button.
Secure your online data and personal information today. Click here to take the F-Secure Digital Life test.
Protect yourself on every device that's connected to the internet
How many computers and mobile devices are under your roof, on how many different platforms? There was a time when you only needed security for the one computer in your in house, and it was either a Windows or a Macintosh. It's fair to say things have changed, drastically. Today, you have desktops, laptops, tablets, and cell phones that cybercriminals are constantly targeting. That's why you need reliable protection for every device.