Did you know that almost 70% of the companies in the world have suffered some form of cyber attack over the last year? Phishing e-mails, malware-infested websites, and various other malicious pieces of code are all over the web, out for your identity, your personal information or your money. It sometimes feels like it’s a never-ending race. Luckily, there are a few things that, if they become your habits, can make your digital life much easier.
Always use 2FA
One of the best ways to prevent third parties from accessing your online accounts is using two-factor authentication. No matter if you register an account at an old and reliable online service like Facebook or Springbok Casino, or a brand new one, always activate it when you first connect to your account.
2FA means that you need to confirm any attempt to log into your account. This can be done through a unique code sent to you by e-mail or SMS, or through the use of an authenticator app.
If you get a login code that you didn’t request, 2FA can also notify you of your password becoming compromised.
Speaking of passwords
There is a lot of debate about whether strong passwords make a difference. Some say they don’t, while others insist on using random sequences of letters, numbers, and symbols to create passwords that are as hard to guess as possible. The truth is probably somewhere in between. So, it’s always wise if you use an unlikely sequence of characters or a combination of words, but one that you can remember. Pro tip: if you add a space (where possible), the password will be even harder to guess.
Keep your software updated
Many people disable Windows updates, considering them annoying and a waste of time. This is a big mistake: most of the updates, especially the “important” ones, plug holes in the operating system that attackers can exploit. The same goes for your phone’s OS, your web browser, your e-mail client, and pretty much every piece of software you use. Any one of them can serve as an access point to your computer – so keeping them up-to-date and leak-free is vital.
Don’t use public Wifi, and secure your own
It seems incredible that there are still people who leave their home network wide open. Setting a strong password should be the first thing you do as soon as you install your router, no matter how inconvenient it may seem.
Speaking of Wifi, avoid public networks as much as possible. Public Wifi in coffee shops or train stations can be riddled with snooping software that can hardly wait to gather everything it can from your phone or computer. If you can, use your phone’s mobile data to create a hotspot instead.
Wipe your old devices before recycling them
You may think that once you format a hard drive or factory reset a smartphone all the data stored on them is lost. It’s easier to recover than you think – and you don’t even need clean rooms and tech gurus – a few pieces of software will do the trick.
Before giving away or selling your old computer, low-level format your hard disk. And before selling or giving away your phone, make sure that no data can be recovered from it. This is especially important today when we use our phones for everything from social media to payments.
In a world where cyber-attacks are rampant and digital threats persist, safeguarding your online presence is paramount. By using 2FA, strong yet memorable passwords, and maintaining up-to-date software, you fortify your digital fortress. Avoiding public Wi-Fi and securely disposing of old devices further improve your defences.
As our lives become more entwined with technology, proactive measures ensure a safer digital voyage through an ever-evolving landscape.
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