As you become more reliant on online services, keeping data safe is the need of the hour. Securing data should be the number one concern of customers and businesses. You don’t want to lose your recently written book to a virus and certainly don’t want an intruder to hack into your Cox bill pay account. You don’t want your company documents to be leaked online or your system attacked by malware. Right? By making a few basic changes to your accounts and devices, you can tighten the security against any third-party attacks.
Why Is It Important to Secure Your Accounts?
Online banking and shopping have made lives easier but they have also made you more prone to data theft. Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly common posing a security threat for businesses and individuals both.
Companies such as Home Depot, Target, Subway, and eBay have lost a lot to cyberattacks in the past. Financial giant JPMorgan Chase also encountered a security breach as a result of which data of almost 80 million customers was compromised. It took the bank almost 2 months to identify there was an issue going on. If you don’t want to become a victim of online theft or data loss, it is imperative to secure your accounts.
Tips to Secure Your Digital Accounts
You can make simple changes to protect your digital accounts from hackers. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
#1: Use Strong Passwords
One of the easiest ways to protect your accounts is to create strong passwords with 8 or more characters including uppercase and lowercase characters, numbers, and symbols in a random sequence. A strong password alone cannot protect your account. You also need a difficult security question that the hacker can’t crack.
Additionally, it is important to keep unique passwords for each account so that even if a hacker gets into one of your accounts, another account of yours won’t be hacked.
Businesses can use password managers to create and remember several complex passwords for different accounts. Password managers can also assist in monitoring accounts for safety breaches, altering weak passwords, and syncing passwords across devices.
#2: Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
Another way to secure your accounts is to use multi-factor authentication. It can be a hassle to set it up initially but helps protect your accounts better. Instead of only entering a password to log in, you would need to pass through additional security layers to access your accounts.
You would be required to undergo a minimum of two varying forms of authentication such as fingerprint authentication, facial recognition, or a code sent via text along with your password. This makes your accounts much more secure. Dropbox, Evernote, and Gmail are some online services that offer multi-factor authentication.
#3: Clear Your Cache Regularly
Don’t underestimate the amount of information your browser’s cache knows about you. Saved searches, saved cookies, saved passwords and your web history can tell hackers a lot about you. Therefore, it is important to protect your browsing history by deleting browser cookies and clearing your cache regularly. It’s not tricky at all. You can remove browser data in Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Explorer, or Opera by simply pressing the combination keys Ctrl+Shift+Del and choosing the element you want to delete.
#4: Install an Antivirus
A common way to secure your data online is to install an antivirus to save you from viruses that could destroy your data, make your device unusable or steal personal information. You can set up an antivirus on your device and let it run in the background.
Whenever a virus is detected, you are instantly alerted so it can be dealt with. But remember to upgrade it timely. It is better to turn on automatic renewal to prevent any slowdowns. Another concern is to make sure your choice of antivirus has ransomware protection as well. If not, consider adding separate malware protection for the best security solution.
#5: Use VPN in Public Areas
Be careful when you use public Wi-Fi or hotspot on your phone, laptop, or tablet. Public connections may pose security threats. You don’t know who owns the hotspot or who has access to those connections. It is a possibility that someone might start tracking your data online or the hotspot owner could be a thief trying to steal secrets through the Wi-Fi network.
For instance, if you are working in a coffee shop and decide to use public Wi-Fi for your business transactions, you may expose yourself to hackers. It is wise to use a VPN in such cases which encrypt your data traffic routing it through a VPN-owned server. This way no one can peek through your online data. VPN also hides your IP address from advertisers and trackers making it more secure.
In today’s digital world, it is important to stay safe online. This can be done by following a few basic steps.
First, create strong passwords that are not easy to guess. Secondly, use two-factor authentication when possible. Thirdly, change your passwords often and don’t reuse them on different sites. Fourthly, use a password manager to store all your passwords in one place and generate secure passwords for you automatically. Finally, always keep your software up-to-date as this will ensure that you have the latest security patches installed and that you are protected against new threats as they emerge.