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June 15, 2024

Best Tips for Staying Safe Online

When using the Internet, there are several places of vulnerability, both directly to the user and indirectly to others. Because of this, it’s critical that everyone understands what has to be done to keep secure online.

By learning important aspects of internet safety, we can protect our internet usage. These include the device used, the preferred network, the chosen password, the websites visited, and the user.

In addition to anti-virus software, there are several other efficient strategies to ensure safe online banking, online shopping, and identity theft prevention on websites and through social media.

Treat Business Information Like Personal Information

Business information frequently combines personal and confidential data. While you might picture trade secrets and business credit accounts, personally identifiable information (PII) about employees is also covered by tax returns and payroll accounts. Never provide personally identifiable information to strangers or over unprotected networks.

It’s crucial to protect business information, including trade secrets, employee information, and company credit accounts, just as you are aware of the importance of protecting your personal banking information, passwords, and data.

Additionally, make sure the software you use for work is updated and keep only what is necessary to perform your duties. If you’re in charge, maintain tabs on the client information you gather and where it’s kept.

Frequently Change Passwords

Most of us would prefer nothing more than to set our passwords once and forget them. But that’s just what hackers want; it makes their work much simpler. Therefore, frequent password changes are the best form of defense.

It’s simple to forget a strong password you’ve created for a device or account (we suggest using a password manager like LastPass).

Depending on your business, experts advise changing your passwords every 30, 60, or 90 days. This is especially important if you’ve recently logged onto a shared computer, received information that your account has been compromised, or shared your password with someone who no longer needs access.

Maintain the Privacy Settings

You would be surprised how much information a person can get about you through your everyday browser usage. Both marketers and hackers want to know everything about you. Both can benefit significantly from your online activity and social media use. However, you have control over your information.

According to Lifehacker, you may adjust your web browser and mobile operating system to keep your online activities on the low. Also available are privacy-enhancing settings on popular websites like Facebook. Because businesses need your personal information for marketing purposes, these settings might occasionally be (intentionally) difficult to find. To stay safe online, confirm that you have enabled these privacy precautions and keep them active.

Avoid Bluetooth Exposure by Turning it Off While Online

You intuitively understand the need to secure your doors when you leave the house and add some form of smartphone authentication. But you constantly leave a number of digital doors open, like Wi-Fi and your cell connection. It’s a calculated risk; generally, the rewards outweigh the drawbacks. Bluetooth causes that calculus to shift. You should turn it off if you don’t really need to.

Generally speaking, you should only activate Bluetooth when you immediately need to share files with someone you know. However, you should immediately turn Bluetooth off once you’re finished. Why? Because it could jeopardize your internet security if you leave it on.
Therefore, be careful not to leave Bluetooth on all the time. Also, if your platform has a setting for it, take the time to make sure your device isn’t “discoverable” through Bluetooth.

Configure Two-Factor Authentication

With two-factor authentication (2FA), users must provide two different forms of identification to access resources and data. Businesses can monitor and assist protect their most sensitive data and networks with the help of 2FA.

When working remotely, it’s crucial to use two-factor authentication when login into all of your accounts, including email, Slack, and other productivity software. This adds an extra layer of security to access sensitive data.

Its purpose is to safeguard your accounts in the event that your passwords are stolen by requiring an additional one-time code for successful login.

Two-factor authentication is simple to implement into your security strategy thanks to apps like Google Authenticator, LastPass Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, and Okta. Talk to your IT director or CTO to set up two-factor authentication if your business doesn’t already have it.

Lock Your Home Screen and Set Up Your Screensaver

You can secure the data saved on or accessible from your device by locking the screen. You don’t need to close out of documents or programs because the computer is still running in the background when you manually lock your screen.

Although they may seem simple, locking your phone’s home screen and configuring your computer’s screensaver are two quick ways to keep secure online (not to mention it saves battery life).

Another advice? Make sure your computer’s password is complicated to guess, and lengthen the passcode on your phone to the maximum allowed. These easy actions make it more difficult for hackers to access your devices and for others to access your sensitive information.

Minimize Tabs and Disable Desktop Notifications While Screen Sharing

In a video conference, it’s crucial to ensure no notifications pop up while you’re sharing your screen. This can stop confidential information from accidentally getting into the wrong hands, or it can simply spare you from feeling really embarrassed during your upcoming Zoom, FaceTime, or Skype video chat.

There are a few extra precautions you may take while sharing your screen in a conference to prevent unintentionally disclosing confidential information. Before you begin, turn off your desktop alerts. Your private emails, Slack conversations, and upcoming appointments won’t be visible to anyone in this way. It’s also more professional and less distracting! If your SMS messages are synced to your computer, they also apply to those.

Second, minimize all but the tabs you wish to show; this looks more professional and protects your data. Keep the tabs you want to present in a separate window.

Benefit from Free Cybersecurity Resources

By securing all entry points, including redundancies into your systems to guard against data loss, and preventing hackers from encrypting your data and holding it for ransom, cybersecurity can safeguard your company. Several companies that create cybersecurity software provide free scans for you to check your devices for known viruses and spyware and determine whether your device is vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Beyond running routine scans, be careful to keep your cybersecurity software updated. It’s worth the investment and will undoubtedly save you money if you or your company is breached (not to mention maintaining your brand reputation and client trust).

Think about your main risks while picking cybersecurity software or service providers. Finding the best service for your requirements depends on knowing what information needs to be safeguarded, where it is held, and who has access to it.

Be Doubtful About Your Inbox

We must use email because it has become such a vital tool for communication, but we must also be mindful of the numerous risks associated with it.
You could unintentionally download malware (malicious software) to your device with the click of a mouse, risking the loss of your most important data.

How do you determine whether an email is safe or suspicious when phishing accounts for more than 80% of reported security incidents?

There are signs that something is amiss if you receive an email that appears to be from a business or someone you know and asks you to open an attachment or click on a link because they’ve seen some suspicious activity or login attempts, there’s a problem with your account or payment information, or you need to confirm personal information.

Misspellings, generic greetings, excessive punctuation, and an email address that doesn’t match up are all telltale symptoms of phishing. It’s usually a good idea to confirm any suspicious-looking emails with your CTO or head of IT. Reach out to the sender personally to confirm that it is from them if it is from someone you trust, such as your manager.

Protect your social media profiles

Social media has a huge impact on our lives since it enables us to interact with loved ones, exchange photos, and get the latest news. We can communicate with people worldwide and within our immediate social circle through social media.

Keeping your social media accounts private is harder than it seems, regardless matter whether you’re in charge of managing your business accounts or just want to keep your personal accounts protected.

To start with, be picky about which third-party apps you give sign-in access to. It can seem simpler to create an account on Facebook, but doing so increases the security risk to your information, therefore it’s advisable to have a separate login for each extra account.

Second, if you’re going to allow third-party access, make sure you read the small print and know what authorization you’re granting them. Can they send a message on your behalf? Can they access and disclose your personal information? Don’t give any third-party app access to too much of your data.

Third, use different passwords for each account to ensure that the security of your other accounts won’t be affected if one is compromised.

Securely connect, browse, and access data by using a VPN

An Internet security service called a virtual private network (VPN) enables users to access the Internet as if they were linked to a private network. VPNs use encryption to provide a secure connection across insecure Internet infrastructure.

When working from home, you might not think a VPN is necessary, but there are numerous situations where having one would be helpful.

A virtual private network, or VPN, establishes an encrypted connection between you and a remote server run by a VPN provider. Your data is secure since this tunnel carries all of your internet traffic.

A VPN can certainly give you peace of mind if you’re working from a coffee shop or airport and using a public WIFI connection, but it’s also worthwhile to use if you work from home so that your internet service provider can’t access or sell your data and so that you can keep your company information secure.

Steer clear of using a computer for your personal work

A research found that over half of us use our work devices for personal purposes as well. However, deleting the browser history is insufficient to cover up any evidence of personal browsing, shopping, or posting on our work computers. In addition, there are many things that can harm you.

At first look, your personal computer can appear to be just as secure as your work computer, but experts caution that it’s doubtful that it has enough antivirus software, specialized firewalls, and automatic backup tools running in comparison to computers used by your workplace.

If you must use your personal computer for business, use two-factor authentication, strong passwords for all of your accounts, encrypted communication for all critical information, and make sure firewalls are configured.

Watch What You Download

Random downloads may contain malware and hidden computer viruses, or they may create a “back door” that allows unauthorized users to access your computer. You should only download files, programs, and plugins from trusted sites. Additionally, avoid downloading plugins without first checking their legitimacy. These frequently have malware.

Cybercriminals’ main objective is to deceive you into downloading malicious software, which includes apps or programs that spread malware or attempt to steal data. This malware can appear to be an app that checks the traffic or the weather, a popular game or both. Avoid downloading apps that seem dubious or originate from unreliable websites.

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Fahim Sharier