Top 10 tips for staying secure online

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These days you need an online account for everything. It is not possible to manage and access your banking information or email without it. However, to keep this information and access to the account protected, you need to have a strong password and follow basic rules for staying secure online. In this blog post we will share with you 10 tips which will help you keep your personal information protected and safe from malware attacks.

Use strong password to protect your email

Properly protected email can do a lot to help you stay secure online. Since you may use email for multifactor identification and may receive there security codes or password recoveries, it is important to create a strong complex password for it.

Use different passwords for different services

In 2013 Intel created a World Password Day to raise the awareness about the role of the strong passwords playing in data protection. Passwords are often your first line of defense when it comes to data protection. Thus, it is important to keep passwords strong and use different ones for different services. Having a unique password will help you keep your information safe from cyber criminals.

It's hard to remember different complex passwords, so you can use a browser password manager to store them. However, in this case your passwords security is tied to your device security. Thus, anyone who has access to your device will also get access to all your passwords.

A solution for this is to encrypt your drives. In this case even if your laptop gets stolen or someone at your workplace tries to access your computer, they will not be able to steal your sensitive information. Encryption is an integral part of online security today. It does not take much effort to encrypt a single disc, the whole hard drive or removable external storage devices, but as a result it will help you stay secure online and keep your data safe.

Change your passwords on a regular basis

Updating passwords on a regular basis will help to keep your personal information protected and prevent device attacks in case the credentials were compromised. Regular passwords updates will limit breaches to multiple accounts, limit access gained by a keystroke logger and prevent use of saved passwords in cases of devices being stolen.

Best practices for managing passwords include:

  • Two factor authentication. Even if a hacker gets access to your password, there will be another hoop to jump through.
  • Not using one password in different places
  • Choose long and complex password. Stop using your name and numbers in a sequency in your passwords. Instead, use a random sequence of numbers and letters as well as special characters and capital letters.

Install the latest version of antivirus and firewall

You should never surf the Internet without having proper protection software installed on your computer. With the growing number of online threats, antivirus and firewall providers constantly offer new security updates, additional safe browsing features and data protection recommendations. To avoid the headache of dealing with malware it is important to install and activate antivirus and firewall on your computer. Take a look at the list of recommended applications:

Ensure you have all latest software updates installed

Software updates contain the latest security updates as well as bug fixes and help you keep your devices protected. Moreover, they offer new features and enhance the operating system speed. At the same time, old features which are no longer accessible will be removed.

Let's answer the question, why it is important to install software updates regularly:

  • Improved security. The AV software installs the latest database updates and bug fixes, making the device and online browsing more secure. In addition, software security patches close the door for malware threats.
  • Better compatibility. Both software and OS updates are important when it goes about applications and drivers compatibility. Ensure you have the latest updates installed on your computer to make all devices and applications working smoothly.
  • Increased efficiency. Besides security improvements, software updates offer new features and speed enhancements. This, as a result, makes the end-user experience better.

Never share personal information

Phishing is when an attacker tricks you into opening a malicious website link or an email attachment. This way they infect your computer with viruses or steal your login details and personal information. To protect yourself avoid opening links, attachments or filling out forms on unfamiliar websites.

When you receive an email, never open strange attachments with archives and executive files. However, if you have already downloaded an attachment, check it with AV before opening.

Double check and verify links

One way to tell if a link is safe is to mouse over it. This will show a preview of the full link in your web browser's status bar. Check if the preview matches the website, try googling to find more information about the source.

Unsafe links may also open forms which ask you to enter your personal information. Be careful and never share your personal information on the sources you are not familiar with.

Use secure messenger to chat with your friends and co-workers

It is very important to use secure self-hosted messenger for corporate and private communication purposes. This way your information will stay safe and protected and will not leak to third parties. Hackers will not be able to use user accounts to send malicious links and files like they do in Facebook Messenger.

Virola is a secure messenger which can be used for corporate and personal communication, video and audio conferences, files sharing and making presentations. It is a hosted on-premises solution which will help you keep your data safe while communicating with co-workers and friends.

Back-up your data

Have you ever heard of ransomware? It's a type of malware that encrypts the data on your device and demands a ransom fee for decryption. To stay safe online, make regular back ups of your data in case it gets stolen or infected. This way you will not lose your important information and will be able to access it no matter what happens to your device.

Log out from services

Either when you use your banking app or open your web mail client, it is important to log out. When logging into a web service a cookie with a unique identifier is planted into your browser. If that identifier was stolen a hacker could use it to get access to the account. However, logging out makes that identifier invalid or closes the browser session. Thus, it becomes impossible to access your account ithout proper login.

Logging out also helps to reduce the chance of cross-site forgery attacks. This will prevent hackers from sending requests to websites you are logged into.

These tips for staying secure online will help to mitigate your risk from a security incident. Hacking, phishing and malware threats follow you everywhere on the Internet. However, to make your browsing experience safe, keep to basic security recommendations and never open strange links and unknown files.