In today’s world of hackers, data breaches, and cyber-terrorism, it is more important than ever for you to be proactive with your digital security.
In this article, I will show you 10 ways that you can instantly improve your digital security right now. If done correctly these actions should only take 5 minutes or less for you to perform.
First thing’s first, change your passwords.
You should always have different passwords for every online account that you use. If it is possible, try to make them long combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols (e.g., “K3wL!s$#” instead of “password”). It is also important to change these passwords every 6 months or so.
Secondly, don’t ever give your passwords away!
If you are asked for your password in an email by someone who claims to be from a legitimate company/website/bank etc., it is almost always a scam. If in any circumstance they do ask you for your password, they will most likely use it to take your money or access your personal information.
Next, when you are connected to public wifi (e.g., at the airport, in a coffee shop, etc.) do not send out any sensitive information like usernames, passwords, or credit card numbers.
If possible turn off your Bluetooth and wifi connection so that no one can hack into your device and access your information. Also, keep an eye out for suspicious people who appear to be scanning the area around them.
If you find yourself having to enter a password on a public computer or someone else’s phone/tablet etc., don’t use anything that is stored in your browser (e.g., saved passwords, saved credit card information, etc.).
Many of these devices provide a “Clear History” or “Clear Saved Passwords” option that will instantly remove this stored information.
When you are at home or work it is much safer to connect your computer directly to the internet rather than through an unprotected wifi connection. However, when using a direct internet connection at home/work use a wired connection rather than wifi if possible.
Another major threat to your computer’s security is the many devices that are connected to it. For example, an external hard drive or even a USB key can be used by someone else to access your computer without you knowing it. Always properly eject these items before removing them from your computer.
Never open a file or click a link unless you trust the source! Many people often open files and links that they receive from friends, family members, etc. However, occasionally hackers will send messages/emails claiming to be from one of these trusted sources in order to obtain your personal information or access to your device. If a link is ever sent to you from a suspicious source, be sure to scan it with a virus/malware scanner before opening it.
Even if you have performed all of the above-mentioned tips for improving your digital security, you will still need to update your computer’s anti-virus/malware software on a regular basis.
There are many “free” versions that you can download and install on your computer. However, these types of anti-virus/malware software are typically not as effective as the “premium” version (i.e., they do not provide real-time security updates).
If you cannot afford a premium version, at the very least make sure to update your free version every week and scan your computer frequently.
A final note: if you have any reason to believe that someone has hacked into your computer or even just obtained your personal information, it is very important that you contact both your bank and credit card company immediately.
If they believe that you were hacked because of some mistake on your part (i.e., you were not careful enough with your passwords, etc.), they may refuse to reimburse you.
Be mindful of your digital security. By making some simple changes to the way that you use the internet, you can greatly reduce the risk of losing money or having your personal information compromised.
Here are the 10 simple ways to improve your digital security in 5 minutes or less:
1. Create a strong password
A strong password is at least 12 characters long and includes upper case, lower case, numbers, and symbols. You should mix up the types of characters & vary the password.
Remember that the bad guy can easily guess your password if you are using something like “password1234” or “abc123”.
Your passwords should also be unique for each website because these accounts often have access to sensitive information & can do damage if they are compromised. Some services have the option of using longer passwords up to 64 characters!
2. Back up your data
It’s easy to lose data, especially on mobile devices. By storing your files in the cloud, you’ll always have access to important information if your phone is lost or stolen. You can also gain peace of mind knowing that there is a backup just in case something happens to your computer or laptop. There are several free services available that will automatically backup your files on a schedule like Google Drive, Carbonite, or Mozy.
You can also back up data manually by using an external Hard Drive (HDD) or USB flash drive. Never store your backups in the same location as your computer because they could be accidentally deleted!
Before following this guide, you may have saved all of your files on a physical hard drive or several different places online. This can be dangerous because if one of these devices is stolen, damaged, or wiped, ALL of your data will be lost! Instead of saving all of your files in one place, “back up” your data to several different places online.
3. Use antivirus software
Malware & viruses are spread through email attachments, downloads, infected websites, etc… It’s extremely important to have antivirus software installed on all of your devices. Antivirus software will help protect you from malware by blocking any suspicious activity or downloads. You should update your antivirus software regularly because the creator of the virus is always trying to stay one step ahead of the antivirus company.
If your computer ever gets a virus, you should immediately install all available updates and restart your device. Once it has been rebooted, run a full system scan with your antivirus software to remove any infections.
4. Use a password manager
Today’s password managers can generate a strong password in a few seconds. You simply enter your name, website, or whatever you would like to be called when signing up for an account and then pick a master password. The manager will remember this password & automatically add it the next time you sign up for an email address or website login. You can even create strong passwords for your friends & family members when you are helping with their computers.
If you are trying to log in to an account that you haven’t used in a while, the password manager will automatically save this login so you don’t have to remember it again! Many services store bank information, credit cards, social security numbers, or other sensitive information that you might want to save.
5. Install pop-up blockers & ad-blocking software
Pop-up blockers & ad-blocking software are used to prevent websites from tracking your activity. It’s easy to install plugins on most browsers including Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, & Opera.
The general rule of thumb is that you should only visit websites that have “HTTPS” or a lock symbol because these sites are encrypted which means your data will be protected.
You can also use ad-blockers on your mobile device because these are connected to unknown networks & are more susceptible to viruses or other malicious activity.
Ads can track everything you do online & create a profile for advertisers! If you want to save time, you should install pop-up blockers & ad-blocking software on all of your devices.
6. Change your DNS settings
Your ISP can see what websites you are visiting, which means they have access to your browsing history. When the DNS cache is reset or cleared, it won’t remember where you’ve been & will force you to re-enter any website credentials that you might need.
You can also change your DNS settings on your router so all of your devices will be protected! To do this, you’ll want to log in to your router & copy the DNS information provided. Then, enter these details into your device’s settings under “network” or “wifi” options.
7. Use VPNs
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a way to encrypt all of your data & create a virtual “tunnel” that prevents anyone from seeing what you are doing online. Most VPNs change your IP address, which means websites cannot track any activity on your device. It’s also possible to use a VPN if you travel outside of the US or Canada.
Many VPN providers offer unlimited bandwidth, which means you can be online constantly without worrying about data caps! VPNs will protect you & your devices on public wifi networks, like coffee shops & restaurants. All of your activity will be securely protected if you are using a VPN.
Using a VPN isn’t difficult & you can find instructions for your device online by doing a simple Google search.
8. Install critical updates
Critical updates are used to fix security breaches & other vulnerabilities that could be exposed if you don’t update. These updates are pushed by Apple, Microsoft, Google, Mozilla, & other internet service providers because they need your device to be secure.
Critical updates will keep your devices safe from viruses & malware while making sure the software can continue to function properly. Most devices will automatically install these updates when they are available, but it’s important to check on this so you know your device is protected.
Many products have new features & improved app experiences with their new software updates!
9. Use alternative web browsers
Your web browser is the primary way you interact with the internet, which means it’s also one of the main ways that your data can be exposed. There are hundreds of web browser providers & thousands of different browsers available, but not all options protect your privacy or security.
Many popular browsers have been shown to store cookies & browsing history, which gives your data to advertisers. All of these practices could interfere with your ability to surf the web freely without distraction!
The best alternative browsers are available as extensions or apps that you can download from your device’s app store. Some great options include Brave, Firefox, & Opera. These browsers will protect your information & give you the browsing experience that you want.
10. Utilize 2-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA) requires two different ways of proving that you are who you say you are. It’s the best way to keep your accounts safe on any platform, including apps or websites that may not have great security by default. 2FA is currently available for Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo!, & other platforms.
You’ll usually need a phone number or secondary email address to set up 2FA, which means your information can’t be captured if someone gains access to the primary account.
Why digital security is important
Digital security is important for anyone who uses the internet. This includes you! If someone else has access to your passwords, they can gain access to your bank accounts, your phone, and your online services.
With one password, they can create a new email account on Gmail or Outlook and do serious damage. Hackers are constantly trying to break into email accounts so they can gain access to any of your online services.
If you are using public WiFi, anyone on that network can view everything you send or receive. They could read your private messages on Facebook or Twitter, see your searches on Google, and steal your login information.
The less secure you are being online, the more vulnerable you are to having your information stolen.
Do you want to improve your digital security?
You’ve come to the right place. We know that it can be overwhelming and time-consuming, but we also know how important it is. That’s why we created this guide with 10 simple ways you can improve your digital security in 5 minutes or less.
It doesn’t matter if you are an expert or just getting started – these tips will help everyone stay safe online!
You don’t have to be tech-savvy to protect yourself online anymore! If you’re ready to take back control of your digital life – check out our list of 10 simple ways to improve your digital security in 5 minutes or less right now!
It’s the easiest way possible for anyone who wants better protection against cybercriminals.
If you have any questions or comments don’t hesitate to call us at (888) 889-0893 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.