We can take steps to stay safe online and protect ourselves and our data from hackers. There are myriads of threats that can be blocked or prevented by us personally, even without the help of an IT expert or technician.

This article highlights four ways to ensure our online safety.

Developing safe online habits

When online, there are things that we can do that limit the amount of harm and damage we can bring to ourselves.

Unfortunately, many of us are unaware of what we should do to protect ourselves, mostly because we think it is a cumbersome process or it involves us being technologically inclined. In fact, it is not.

There are basic things we can do to keep our sensitive information and activities online secured without fear of breach or cyber theft.

stay safe online

To be able to do this effectively, we must identify ways we can ensure we are safe online, and develop a plan or routine that will allow us to continuously have protection against any threats.

Routine checks to ensure safety

Here are a few tips that you can undertake to ensure that our information is safe and our accounts are secured.

stay safe online

  1. Use reputable anti-malware and firewalls
  2. Secure all devices
  3. Have a strong password policy
  4. Regularly update software and patches
  5. Perform regular backups
  6. Delete and uninstall outdated and unused software and hardware

By doing these basic things regularly, you have done what is necessary to stay safe from any potential threats online

Multi-factor verification

This sounds technical but it is very simple. Most homes have multiple step verifications/protection like two doors – the main door and a trap door before it. Others also have two locks: the padlock and the key lock, etc.

When we apply this to our phones and accounts, we see that it becomes very simple. Instead of having one lock to access our accounts, we use different steps to ensure our accounts are safe and secure.

Multi-factor verification is easier when you include two or all of these factors:

  • Something you know, such as a password, passphrase or personal identification number (PIN)
  • Something you have, such as a token or smartcard
  • Something you are, such as a biometric like a fingerprint or retina scan

stay safe online

We can do the same to all our accounts on social media, etc to keep them and our information safe.

KNOW /+ HAVE +/ ARE = Security

Spam links and due diligence

What helps in further securing your accounts and data from theft and any cyber threat is not to click every link, even in your emails.

Some malicious malware can be sent through links to your email. Such can require you to update your password, download and open a document or update your personal information.

Example: The email might read “We’ve updated our login credential policy, please confirm your account by logging into Google Docs.” The sender’s email is a faked Google email address, for example, accountupdate@google.org.com.

To be safe,

  1. Block pop-up links and ads.
  2. Use an internet security firewall to screen these links and pages.
  3. If you do not trust it, don’t click it!

Watch what you post online

Anyone who follows you on social media or is somehow connected to you online can “share” your social media post or image by taking a screenshot of it.

While you may think you are simply sharing your content with friends, keep in mind that others can see whatever you enter and upload on an electronic device.

While your social networking sites may have security settings in place, they may not be enough to protect your personal information.

Online social networking companies are continually changing their privacy settings, making it easier for your contacts or “friends of friends” to access and share your information with their networks.

To protect yourself from prospective hackers and/or impersonators, you must log in to your account and change your settings.

Next time, before sharing information with someone online or even posting an update, ask yourself:

  1. Is there a more secure way to send this information?
  2. Do I need to post this picture?
  3. Is this content too private to be shared online? Eg location, work details, etc.

Once you have taken these steps to stay safe online, you are sure that you, your data and your devices information are shielded from potential attacks and threats, especially within cyberspace.

To add to this or start a conversation, join our forum to share your opinions with other readers. For stories of this sort and more, do well to log on to www.jbklutse.com or visit us on Facebook

+ posts