News

3 Easy Tips to Help You Stay Safe Online

3 Internet Security Tips to Help
Minimum usage fee is £35 Mandatory Credit: Photo by Cultura/REX/Shutterstock (5368720a) MODEL RELEASED, Investor checking performance of financial portfolio online whilst reviewing investment statement VARIOUS

* Studies show most people are lacking proper cybersecurity safeguards
* Every time you go online you open yourself to cyber attacks
* Follow these tips to help keep your network safe

With all this talk surrounding the recent Senate bill allowing ISPs to encroach on your privacy, phrases like “online security,” “website privacy” and “personal data” have become a bigger part of our everyday conversations. Suddenly, we’re becoming more aware that what we do online doesn’t stay in the shadows.

With that in mind, we decided to write down a couple of tips that can help you stay safe in these crazy times.

1. Use Better Passwords

Did you know more than 50% of people use the same password for every site? Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket. Even more revealing is just how basic most of these passwords really are. Keeper Security, a password management service, released a report detailing the most common passwords of 2016. Spoiler alert: it’s not good. According to the report, the most commonly used password is ‘123456’. Ironically, the password “password” made it into the top 10, too.

Don’t use the same password for more than one site, and make sure your passwords aren’t easily guessable. Public information like your pet’s name, SO’s name, maiden name, etc. should be avoided, as a simple Google or Facebook search can easily reveal these. Stick to passwords that are at least 8-12 characters in length, and use a combination of letters and numbers. If you need help keeping up with all your various passwords, services like LastPass are a huge help. In addition, enabling two-step verification for your passwords will also add an extra layer of security.

2. Don’t Browse Unsecured Sites

You may not realize it, but not all sites were created equal. This past January, Google Chrome updated its browser to notify users of non-secure sites, calling them out in the search bar. A quick way to check if a site is secure or not is to see if it has “https” in the URL, as the  “s” in https stands for secure.

If possible, avoid clicking on sites that don’t support https-encryption. If you’re ever in doubt, simple Chrome extensions like HTTPS Everywhere automatically encrypt every site for you. Easy peasy.

3. Keep Your Software Up to Date

No one enjoys software updates, but they’re often an overlooked necessity. Taking the time to shut down our apps, close our browsers and update our software every few days is enough to make everyone roll their eyes, which is probably why most of us tend to put them off. The problem with doing that, however, is the fact that you’re unknowingly leaving your network exposed.

Software companies are constantly testing their software and looking for vulnerabilities. When a software update comes out, it’s usually meant to patch holes in the system. The only thing worse than having your network compromised is realizing how it could have been prevented had you taken the time to update your software. So why don’t you take a few minutes to check for updates now? Go ahead, we’re not going anywhere.