Digital life is necessary security essential. Everyone knows by now that there are so many ways your digital information can be accessed, stolen, or exploited by malevolent parties. In the past, people were told to avoid sharing their full names with strangers online, whereas now there are high-definition photos of people’s children, homes, and streets on almost every social media platform for the world to see. As the internet evolves, so must the way users behave. These five security essentials will help you protect your personal safety, finances, family, and identity online.
1. Stronger Passwords
Many people have grown bored of hearing that they should be using stronger passwords for their various online accounts. Whether it’s your social media or your internet banking, passwords do a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to keeping you safe. Creating a strong password is critical for protecting your online accounts and digital life. A strong password typically combines upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. It should be at least 12-16 characters long to increase its complexity and resilience against hacking attempts.
Avoid using easily guessable information like common words, birthdays, maiden names, etc. Instead, opt for a passphrase or a random combination of characters unique to you but not easily associated with your personal information.
Furthermore, using different passwords for each of your accounts is essential to prevent a single breach from compromising multiple accounts.
A password that is easy to guess won’t keep as one with at least a few of the following:
- Capital and lowercase letters;
- Numbers and symbols but not important dates as these can be discovered;
- Random words with no discernible connection to you;
- 12-16 characters long.
2. Use a VPN
There are several big threats to privacy online. You can use a virtual private network to disguise your online activity from your internet provider, keeping the sites you visit private. A VPN creates a secure, encrypted connection, allowing users to access the internet and browse the web or access online data while maintaining a high level of privacy and security. When you connect to a VPN server, your online traffic is routed through an encrypted tunnel, making it difficult for third parties, such as hackers, government agencies, or ISPs, to intercept or eavesdrop on your online activities.
VPNs are commonly used for an array of purposes, including enhancing online privacy, bypassing geographic restrictions, and ensuring the security of sensitive data when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks. By masking your IP address and effectively encrypting your data, a VPN provides a powerful tool to protect your online identity and keep your digital communication safe from prying eyes.
3. Protecting Your Social Media
Social media platforms have become integral to digital life, allowing us to connect and communicate with friends, family, and colleagues and share our thoughts and experiences. However, it’s essential to be mindful of your privacy settings on these platforms to protect your personal information and control who has access to your data. Each social media platform offers a range of privacy settings that allow you to control who can see your posts, photos, and personal information. Regularly read and review these settings and adjust them to match your comfort level.
You can typically access these settings in your account’s “Privacy” or “Security” section. Another crucial tip for social media is to ensure that your posts are limited to ‘friends only’ so only people you trust will see what you are putting online. It will also limit who can share your content with someone you don’t know. Ensure you are selective when accepting friend requests from people you may not know, and consider making your accounts private.
Further tips for social media include waiting to share social media posts about your trip overseas until you are home, as thieves see when you share your location that your home is ripe for robbery. You can also post screenshots of photos rather than the originals to keep the metadata, including the location of the photo’s capture, a secret. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to protecting not only your digital data but also yourself and your family.
4. Backing Up
Losing digital documents can be anything from a crushing personal loss to a catastrophic professional error. If you fail to back up your files, you may have to face the possibility of losing them if your device malfunctions. Fortunately, there are ways to cope with this. For example, it’s important to address your M1 SSD issue as soon as possible to protect your photos. Keep a separate hard drive with a backup of your files and use cloud storage in case your computer crashes before you have the chance to upload a file to the external drive. Sometimes, security is not just about protecting your data from being stolen but also about preventing it from being lost.
5. Taking a Pause
Before posting something online, think about how it may affect your privacy. Think about the channels you use to share data in case the connection isn’t secure. Unfortunately, publicly accessible Wi-Fi networks are rarely trustworthy despite being extremely convenient. The key is to pause and consider how your use of digital technology could be improved to protect your data and personal safety each time you choose to use it, whether that’s for work or leisure.
To Wrap Up
In an increasingly digitized world, safeguarding our digital life has become paramount. Security practices, such as using unique passwords, employing VPNs to protect our online activities, and managing our social media privacy settings, are essential steps in this ongoing battle against cyber threats. These measures not only shield us from malicious actors but also empower us to navigate the digital realm with complete confidence and peace of mind. By staying informed, practicing good cyber hygiene, and taking proactive steps to secure our online presence, we can enjoy the benefits of different technology while minimizing the risks, ensuring a safer and more secure digital future for ourselves and those we connect with online.