Cybersecurity Insight

3 Tips to Be a Smarter Web User

18 Aug

Protecting yourself when browsing online has become much more difficult, but with a little diligence you can significantly increase your cyber safety. While the following three security tips seem like common sense, only a few of us actually apply them to our own security practices.

1. Use Better Passwords
Most of us don’t use passwords that are truly secure. In fact, the word “password” is too often used to gain entry to high-profile accounts such as email or online banking. Using distinct and hard-to-guess passwords with multiple types of characters that include numbers and capital letters will add increased levels of difficulty to hackers attempting to breach your accounts.

We all know that keeping multiple passwords organized is difficult. But simply writing them down on a sheet of paper in your office, or using one of the many password vault tools like LastPass can help keep your passwords organized without you having to remember them each time. This can work wonders to protect your data from unauthorized entry.

2. Don’t Open Suspicious Emails

Only opening emails from trusted sources such as friends, family, or coworkers can greatly reduce your risk. Of course, if someone else’s email account is hacked or is subject to a virus you may not know not to open the message. The one caveat is that most of the infected messages have strange titles or requests. Luckily, many email services now have security measures that can warn you if a message may be malicious in nature.

Don’t be a phishing victim. Don’t ever make money transfers or provide sensitive information over the web unless you personally verify with the user requesting the information or transfer.

3. Only Download From Trusted Sources

Free software or open source software is often the biggest culprit of containing malicious code. There are a bevy of places around the web where you can download free software, however, there are only a few that you can actually trust. If you’re not 100% sure about a particular website or piece of software, doing a quick search engine query can help you learn more about the software itself or the website you’re considering downloading from. Otherwise without proper precaution you could be downloading the tool that could destroy the safety of your entire network.

While these three are common sense, common sense is something we may not often practice if we get lazy with our security. If something looks or seems fishy, then it probably is. It pays to be suspicious on the web, and you shouldn’t trust everything you see. Our goal isn’t to terrify you of all the dangers. We just want you to be cautious when you go online so that you can eliminate basic security threats. Don’t just read these tips, put them into practice.