In a time of working from home and social distancing, having reliable and safe technology is extremely important. It is always essential to have risk-free technology, but it is even more critical now. With communities relying on technology for both work and rest, it is vital to stay safe online. Users, especially cybercriminals, can track all our online activity, including confidential information, now more than ever. Here are five tips to ensure you stay safe online.
1. Review existing defenses, and come up with a contingency plan
Take time to review every protection feature included in your device at home. Reviewing can consist of updating software or changing passwords. Ask your employer about your company’s emergency plans in the event of cyberattack and consider implementing some of their cyber security ideas into your personal cyber security plan.
2. Connect to a Wi-Fi network you know and trust
Especially if you live in an apartment building or populated neighborhood, many different Wi-Fi networks will pop up when you connect to the internet. If you have a designated system in your home, always connect to the network you know. Even if it’s a bit slow, connecting to your known network will drastically lower the chances of any hazardous activity. Don’t try to connect to a neighbor or friend’s networks unless it is necessary, and you are confident about their internet security. If a problem occurs with your network, try rebooting your modem or WIFI by simply unplugging it, waiting 30 seconds and plugging it back in. If that does work, reach out to your service provider for help.
3. Only open links you know and trust
While surfing the web during your spare time, or while working, make sure to review all links or resources before opening or downloading them to your computer. Cybercriminals will often mask dangerous links as informative ones, especially in a time like the present with frequented news websites. If you receive an emails link that is out-of-the-norm from someone you know, check with them before opening the email. A hacked internet link or connection can expose your private information to criminals who can then use it for identity theft. Always check the website or source a link comes from before you click on it to stay safe online.
4. Ensure all of your devices are updated
Although it is difficult to purchase new pieces of technology right now, one crucial step to take is checking in with the devices you already have. Make sure that your tablet, laptop or phone is fully updated and backed up. Backing up your photos and videos is a fantastic way to collect your memories without fear of losing them if you lose a device. If you feel apprehensive about taking time to update your device, especially when we’re all using them more, think of the process like this: when behind on updates, your device is more vulnerable to hacking or other serious cybercrimes. The last thing you need to worry about right now is a stranger getting hold of your personal information, just because your computer wasn’t updated.
5. Update your passwords
Since we all have more time on our hands, one thing you can do to stay safe online is to update your passwords. Don’t just rely on one password for all your accounts. Instead, come up with a small handful that you will always remember. Ensure they aren’t too easy to guess and include numbers and letters to make them unpredictable.
Enjoy your time online and stay safe!