Top 3 Tips to Survive 2016 Online
You’ve made it; 2016, we are fully back to the future.
So for the start of 2016 I have compiled what i think will be the 3 best ideas to adopt to keep you safe online. There is certainly more things you can do than these 3, however if you adopt these 3 then it gives you a better approach to defending yourself against Bad Actors (Hackers etc).
Protect your computer
A recent survey of security experts done by Google showed that the number one action they take to staying safe online is patching your computer. Yes its annoying that this needs to happen almost every week, but its an important part to stop bad actors from gaining a foot hold on your computer.
Patches are often supplied as a response to a security issue discovered with your software. The longer you take to install these the higher the chances are that you will end up having issues. Bad Actors LOVE unpatched machines as it allows them to use some simple techniques to access your personal information.
Run updated Antivirus
While there is a high degree of discussion about the effectiveness of AntiVirus its still worth bothering with. Antivirus software is a little bit like an Ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, but it can be effective against most threats on the internet.
Passwords are important
With everything now heading to the cloud, the importance of passwords has become even more critical than before. The issue being the reuse of passwords on multiple sites or even worse choose dumb easy passwords. And lets be honest, we all do it.
You come up with what you think is a super secure password, and you use it everywhere; Email, Facebook, Instagram… the list goes on. Generally your password is not a major issue. A lot of the lifted personal data last year was due to a security issue with the service you signed up with. Once that information was lifted it could be quite trivial to login to all of your other services because of similar passwords.
While the new year offers an opportunity to reset your passwords, you should consider also doing the following :
For each service setup a unique password. You can use tools like Keypass to keep track of your passwords, or you could choose a base password and add slightly different information for each site. For example :
Start with a base password that is easy to remember. i.e [email protected]
Then look to append a different value for each service
i.e my Bank password is BA[email protected]
i.e my Facebook password is [email protected]
2 Factor Authentication
If you have not heard of 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) then you should spend some time looking into it.
2FA provides an additional of much needed security to online services. When you connect to a service for the first time from an untrusted source (friends PC, internet cafe etc) you will be asked to provide an additional token to prove you are who you say you are.
That token could be sent to you via SMS TXT or even an alternative email address. This service has come along way and its has become something that is not as cumbersome as you might imagine.
Most major online services support this now, so its worth looking into 2FA for the services you use.
Think before you click
Finally the biggest threat to your personal information online is you. We all share far too much of our personal information online, and we certainly offer far too much trust to the online services we use.
When we get emails, offers or links sent to us we just implicitly trust them and click away. Bad Actors are also aware of our behaviors, and cleverly craft emails and offers in a such a way to play on our fears (loss of money, etc), our good nature (charity) and desires (cheap goods, free things).
The first rule you should employ with any emails, offers and links is to ask… Does this seem legit. Chances are they are not.
- Nothing is free, even online…
- If your bank really wants to contact you, they will do it by phone…
- And you dont need to access to your Facebook account to view a video…
Its already widely accepted that 2016 will be a tough year for information security. By starting out with some basic and simple best practises you can find yourself off the easy target list. Over the course of the year we hope to bring more useful tips and news on urbankiwi.com and geeksphere.tv.
If you have some other great ideas let us know in the comments below.