‘Tis the season for online shopping, uploading festive photos to social media, and responding to e-invites for holiday parties. This time of year, it seems like we are connected to our devices more than ever, and with the increased usage comes the threat of becoming a victim to online attacks and costly identity thefts.
The good news is there are ways to make sure your personal information stays secure. Let’s explore.
Don’t share personal information
Think wisely before you share personal information on social media. The more information you share; i.e. location, job information, date of birth, the more susceptible you are to a cyber attack. It is best to review your privacy settings on all of your social media accounts and choose the most secure options available.
Implement strong passwords
While most websites require you to use strong passwords, it’s still a good idea to change them periodically throughout the year to eliminate the chances of someone gaining access to them. Make sure to use different passwords for each of your online accounts. Thierry LeVasseur, a Vancouver-based technology and email security expert suggests to set up two-step verification, when possible. Thierry LeVasseur says this adds another layer of protection to your passwords.
Don’t click or download suspicious links
If the invite for the holiday party isn’t from a trusted contact, don’t click on it. Malicious hackers love to send phony emails with links that contain viruses. Even the most vigilant anti-virus software can be tricked through these phishing attempts. The same goes for downloading files from an unsecure website.
Update your operating system
Most smart devices and computer operating systems send periodic updates to fix security problems. Be sure to always install the updates to ensure your devices are equipped with the latest protection.
Always log out of websites
An important rule of thumb when navigating the internet is to always log out of each and every website that you visit -e-commerce sites, banking sites, etc. Don’t forget to turn off your computer, as well. Beyond firewall protection, turning the computer off effectively severs an attacker’s connection.
Most importantly, always remain vigilant when using your devices in public. Although using free wi-fi is convenient, you can’t be too sure that the network is secure. Lastly, trust your instincts. If something seems suspicious or too good to be true, then it more than likely is.