By Brad Smith (Tech Writer)
If you spend a lot of time online, you know your information can become vulnerable. Whether you shop, bank, or just check your email, crucial data about your identity and finances can be stored in your browsing devices.
During a hack or security breach, someone else could acquire that information and use it without your permission.
But there are a few things that you can do to keep yourself better protected while using the internet. Here’s where to start:
Use Devices and Networks You Trust
Stopping at a library and are feeling tempted to hop on one of their public computer to transfer some funds using your banking details? Not a great idea.
Avoid having your information stolen by waiting until you get home.
Computers and networks that
others have ready access to are the most vulnerable to hackers. For the safest browsing, make sure to use devices that have cybersecurity software on them.
Stay On Top of New Technology
Most hackers are on the cutting edge of technology. To best protect yourself, you should be too. This means paying attention to new developments and software that you can use on your own devices.
Consider downloading a VPN on your computer to help protect your information.
When you’re on the go, you can also equip your devices with a VPN to ensure your data is secure wherever you are.
Watch the Sites You Visit
If something doesn’t look right with a website, just assume it isn’t. Never provide sensitive information like bank accounts or social security numbers through emails, even if the email claims to be from a trusted source. Don’t ever be afraid to double-check by calling your bank or the company in question (but never the number given in a questionable email) before proceeding.
If you’re exchanging money, make sure the websites you use are secure and well-established for money transferring. A lock symbol in your browsing bar can help you easily identify sites that can be trusted. If your browser is telling you that a site looks suspicious, carefully weigh the risk of continuing your browsing.
Wherever you spend your online time, you'll likely run into needing to use a password. Do yourself a favor — don’t always use the same password at each website and rotate them regularly.
If one location has a breach and your information is compromised, any hacker can take your email address and that password and try to gain access to other websites with that information. You may find one minor breach leads to major data loss in this case.
Hackers use computer programming to crack your passwords. For the strongest passwords, don’t use personal information, names, or words. Always include punctuation and numbers for an irregular and completely custom password.
Use Safe Browsing Techniques
Avoid saving your information on devices and opt to browse the internet incognito. This prevents the computer from storing your information for later use and also helps you avoid targeted advertisements. Check on your browsing history and cache periodically to make sure your device isn’t stashing information that can hurt you later.
The Growing Need for Online Security
As our society has grown more dependent on online shopping and instant access to funds and information, we’ve become more vulnerable. There’s such a need for additional protection that companies like HP are now creating partnerships with cybersecurity companies.
Industry leaders like ExpressVPN and LastPass are developing new software alongside top computer companies. With these companies working together, you’re bringing home new equipment that’s designed to keep your personal information secure.
Yes, your information can be compromised more easily than it used to be. However, the newest technologies can also make it easier to protect yourself than it has been in the past.
Taking these steps can help make sure your information stays right where it belongs. So go ahead and enjoy the internet and all the good things that come with it while worrying a little less about your