Email hacks, identity theft, and online credit card fraud can be devastating. If you’ve never been the victim of a breach, count yourself lucky, but don’t let your luck lead you to complacency. These 5 tips for being more secure in your online life will help keep you safer.
1. Use Unique Passwords for Every Login
One of the easiest ways hackers steal information is by getting a batch of username and password combinations from one source and trying those same combinations elsewhere. For example, let’s say Store A has been hacked, and the hackers got your username and password. The hackers might try to log into banking sites or major email services using the same username and password combination. The single best way to prevent one data breach from having a domino effect is to use a unique password for every single online account you have.
So use a password manager. Having a unique and strong password for every account is not a job any human can do well. But it’s exactly what password managers are designed to do. Several very good password managers are free, and it takes little time to start using one.
When you use a password manager, the only password you need to remember is the one that locks the password manager itself. Password managers typically log you into your online accounts automatically (after you unlock the password manager, of course), which means they not only help keep you safer, but also increase your efficiency and productivity as you use your computer because you no longer have to type your logins. Try to create complicated passwords when registering on the site www.toprencontreseniors.com.
2. Get a VPN and Use It
Any time you connect to the Internet using a Wi-Fi network that you don’t know, you should use a virtual private network (VPN). “VPNs provide a secure connection over the Internet between a user and the data or websites to which they connect, and encrypt the data exchanged across that connection,” wrote Aaron Stern, for the Kaspersky blog. It’s one of the most succinct explanations of VPNs I’ve ever read.
Say you go to a coffee shop and connect to a free Wi-Fi network. You don’t know anything about the security of that connection. It’s possible that someone else on that network, without you knowing, could start looking through or stealing the files and data sent from your laptop or mobile device.
PCMag has suggestions for 10 VPN services you should know about. There are a few decent free VPN services, but most of the best ones come with a monthly fee.
3. Turn on Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is kind of a pain in the neck, but it will absolutely make your accounts more secure. Two-factor authentication means you have another layer of security you need to pass beyond simply having a username and password to get into your accounts. If the data or personal information in an account is sensitive or valuable, and the account offers two-factor authentication, you should enable it. Gmail, Evernote, and Dropbox are a few examples of online services that offer two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication verifies your identity by another factor, which is typically one of these three things: something you are, something you own, or something you know. Verifying something you “are” could be done through a fingerprint or iris scan. Something you own could be your mobile phone and phone number, as in, you’ll get a text message with a special code to enter. Something you know might be another password.
Think about it: If someone tries to log into your account, and you have two-factor authentication via text message enabled, you’ll get a text message every time someone tries to log into your account.
4. Use Passcodes Even If They Are Optional
Apply a passcode lock wherever it is offered, even if it’s optional. When it comes to your smartphone and tablet, for instance, it’s “hugely important,” according to security expert at PCMag Neil Rubenking [all caps his].
Rubenking also said that you should use a passcode rather than a four-digit PIN. “Use a fingerprint ID, if available, or another biometric lock. Note that even when you do use Touch ID, there’s still a backup option to log in with a passcode. Make that a strong one, as you won’t have to use it often, but not a stupid four-digit PIN.” With iOS devices, go to Settings > Passcode and switch off Simple Passcode, which gets rid of the numbers-only PIN and lets you to use the full keyboard to create a much more complex passcode.
5. Get Disposable Credit Card Numbers
The system of credit card use is outdated and not very secure at all. That’s not your fault, but there is something you can do about it: Use disposable credit card numbers. In other words, you have your regular credit card account, but you can get a new 16-digit credit card number any time you need to buy something.
Security tech journalist and PCMag contributing editor Fahmida Y. Rashid mentioned that some banks, such as Citi Mastercard, offer one-time use credit cards. Bank of America similarly has a program called ShopSafe that works like this: You log into your account, generate a 16-digit number as well as a security code and “on-card” expiry date, and then you set a time for when you want all those digits to expire. You use the new temporary numbers in place of your real credit card when you shop online, and the charges go to your regular account. The temporary card number will not work again after it expires. So the next time your credit card company or bank calls you to try and sell you upgrades, ask about one-time use cards and other similar services. If you bank doesn’t offer these levels of protection, you can get them elsewhere. Abine Blur offers masked credit card numbers, as well as email masking and other privacy services. Register on the site femmesentrefemmes.com safely.