About Time: How to Secure Your Posh Digital Lifestyle By Angelica Malin
If you’re like most people, you frequently spend time across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other online hubs. Whether you’re surfing the web for information, tinkering on a school project or simply want to hop on one of your computer’s apps—security matters.
Today’s Internet users face countless online threats, frequently relying on only the best browser for privacy, numerous passwords and highly secure desktop security settings. Today’s online scam artists are tech-savvy, smooth and ruthless. They often target indiscriminately, stealing personal information such as bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, PIN numbers and even computer data.
It’s a scary thought—and it should be. Whether you regularly browse a laptop in coffee shops or are a dedicated desktop user, your information, financial security and even personal safety might be at risk. The life of a 2019 Internet-goer is a posh one, considering the numerous browsing and social media options available. Still, it might not be as secure as it should be. Below, we’re covering the best tips and tricks to help you defend your browsing, log-ins and private information.
Tip One: Avoid Public Wi-Fi
While it’s fun to browse the web from your favorite coffee shop, public Wi-Fi can be dangerous. Free Wi-Fi and hotspots can reduce your data charges, but they’re notoriously insecure. It isn’t difficult for criminals to exploit their flaws, view their activity data, and determine your online activity. In doing so, they can even ascertain your social media page, and your identity, from a distance.
Fortunately, there’s a way to browse abroad without putting yourself at risk. You can turn your smartphone into a mobile hotspot—using it as your laptop’s primary WiFi connection. Or, you can simply browse online with your smartphone, itself. While it’ll use some data, it’s a preferable alternative to dangerous browsing scenarios.
Tip Two: Use a Secure Browser
While there are many Internet browsers available, a couple stand out above the rest. In recent years, top contenders like Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer have adopted a plethora of safety features. Now, they offer instant download protection—safeguarding you from URL filtering, phishing sites and viruses.
These browsers can also warn you when a secure HTTPS isn’t being used. This notification assures you’re always browsing in the most secure way possible—and that you’re never entering sensitive information on a website which isn’t secure.
Tip Three: Use Two-Factor Authentication Passwords
A complex password certainly boosts browsing safety, but two-factor authentication can bring your online security to a new level. Rather than simply entering a single password, two-factor authentication requires the input of a PIN number, or simply another password, before you can access something.
It’s also a good idea to use an online password vault application. These vaults store your passwords—so you needn’t use the same password across multiple platforms. Instead, you can create unique passwords for each social media platform, each website login and each app login. Then, you can store them in an encrypted digital space—one guarded by a master passphrase.
Tip Four: Back Up Your Data
Next, take some time to back up the data stored on your computer. Between damaging power outages, computer wear-and-tear and data breach attempts, it’s easy to feel like your valuable information is at risk. You can avoid its loss, however, by preserving it on a removable hard drive. You can also save it on a virtual cloud data storage platform like Google Drive.
Just make sure you backup your data frequently, including any important information, documents, digital photos, tax documents, home videos and digital music. If all of your valued data is in one location, you run the risk of losing everything at a moment’s notice. Instead, keep the backup data device in a secure location away from your computer—and avoid traveling with your backup device, if possible.
Tip Five: Install Security Software
It’s a good idea to download powerful security software, too, as modern hackers frequently find ways to target computers directly—prodding them for security weaknesses. In 2014 alone, about 13 million Americans were subjected to data breaches—becoming identity theft victims. Many of these victims were simply robbed of their information due to Trojans, malware and spyware.
A powerful antivirus program will keep malicious programs and bugs away, routinely sweeping your computer for possible threats. Because modern antivirus programs are updated frequently, they’re often the most capable digital defenders you can rely upon. Even better: These programs can defend your computer’s digital weak points, stopping identity thieves from taking advantage of any bugs, or security weak points, your computer’s software might have.
Tip Six: Make Payments with PayPal
If you’d like to buy things online, you’ll need to keep your digital wallet safe. Rather than using a bank account, revealing your debit card information during an e-commerce purchase, you can simply use PayPal. PayPal is incredibly secure, benefiting from the digital world’s most premium security features. You can simply transfer funds into your PayPal wallet, enter your PayPal information during a purchase and transfer the appropriate funds.
If you don’t have a PayPal, or if you just need to make a quick purchase, we recommend using a credit card—rather than a debit card. Fraudulent purchases can be canceled easily, if they’re made on credit—whereas malicious users might drain your bank account, with your information, before you can stop them.
It’s a good idea to brush up on new browsing security tips often—as the Internet is constantly changing. Remember to keep your identity safe on social media, too, and don’t list your personal contact information publicly. A little preventative security goes a long way, even for those enjoying the posh digital lifestyle endowed with a modern computer.
If you keep your passwords stored safely, back up your information frequently and take care with your digital wallet, you’ll be quite safe—both online and offline. Data breaches and identity theft will always be a threat in today’s digital world, but by locking down your vital information you can embrace the freedom of the Internet’s awesome potential.