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Fun, studies, work, communication, we use the internet for everything. And we got used to it so much that, more often than not, we completely forget about internet security. Be it using public Wi-Fi or having one password for all business and social media accounts, it can lead to a lot of troubles, including:
- Swindlers accessing your network data
- Becoming a victim of spyware or malware attacks
- Personality theft
Yes, using simple passwords and unsecured Wi-Fi connections can lead to anything from the disappearance of money from your bank account to your pictures being used for catfishing. Now, is there a way to avoid those problems? Yes, so let’s check them out without any further ado.
Install an Antivirus
While you may think that antivirus software is just about protecting your computer from viruses, it’s just a small part of what it does. You can become a victim of ransomware, which encrypts your files, and then swindlers demand payment to restore them. You can often mistake a Trojan program for something valid. Masked as a valid program, Trojan steals your private data.
Good antivirus software protects your computer from all these threats. Thus, if you install antivirus software, you will be effectively protected from the above-mentioned and other kinds of malware. No swindlers demanding payment for your files; no private data leaking; no one gains access to your computer without your knowledge.
However, you must remember that just installing the software is not enough. A lot of people have an antivirus installed on their PCs, but they forget about updates. If you want antivirus software to work effectively, you need to keep it up to date. So, never ignore the update notification from your antivirus.
Use Separate Unique Passwords
Typically, you may find it challenging to have different passwords for all your logins. That’s why you settle on one password for your email, social media, and bank accounts. You also get irritated when at work you are required to change the password of your work account from time to time.
Having one password for all logins makes it easier for hackers to get their hands on your data. Generally, hackers get a username and password combination from one of your accounts and then try this combination on all of your other accounts. Thus, by stealing your email password, the hackers can easily hijack your social media and empty your bank account.
You can avoid this domino effect by creating strong and unique passwords for each of your logins. It can be hard to create them, so you can utilize online tools that help to model strong passwords. In case you find it difficult to remember all of your passwords, you can use a password keychain. However, it can be risky, as by gaining access to it, hackers can access all of your accounts.
Use a VPN
Using your personal Wi-Fi network is more or less safe. But, let’s be fair, we often need Wi-Fi when we are going out. Most likely, you will use public Wi-Fi. You’re sitting at the café, and you need to send an urgent email to your work or submit a paper. So, you connect to the public Wi-Fi – and in doing so, you’re exposing yourself to various threats.
Someone using the same network may start going through and stealing your files. VPN helps you to avoid all these problems. Using a VPN service, you encrypt your internet traffic. Thus, the traffic is routed through the server owned by the company that owns the VPN, so even the owner of the Wi-Fi network cannot access your data.
Use a Multi-Step Authentication
If you are working for an IT company, most likely, you are required to set a multi-step authentication in order to access your work account. It can be irritating, especially when you need to log in to your account quickly. However, it really helps to protect your data. Yes, entering your password and then a unique code sent to your phone can be a pain, but it’s worth it.
You should use multi-step authentication not only with your work account. Utilize it to protect your personal account as well. Certain services, including Gmail and Dropbox, offer that type of authentication. It’s better not to ignore it. Passing the multi-step authentication may take some extra seconds, but your data will be protected.
Pay With Your Smartphone
Certain online stores are still offering an outdated system, where you need to enter all your credit card details in order to make a purchase. When you’re required to do that, you have the same feeling of irritation as with the multi-step authentication. However, in this case, it’s better to avoid purchasing goods this way. No one can guarantee the safety of your financial data.
It’s better to use options like Apple Pay and Google Pay. Those apps generate a one-off authentication code, which can be used only for the current transaction. So, even if someone gets their hands on the code, they won’t be able to use it. Using the pay apps allows eliminating the mere possibility of someone getting control over your finances.
Now you know five ways of ensuring your internet security, and of course, there are more. You should consider utilizing passcodes, even when they are optional. Also, you should study the protection options that various tools installed on your PC offer. A PC cleaner may also work as anti-malware software.
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