Last year, hackers and other cybercriminals raked in an astounding $445 billion dollars. From DDoS attacks to phishing and selling passwords, it appears that, unfortunately, crime does pay.
Though avoiding the internet is pretty much not possible, there’s no need to be a victim.
Here are six online safety tips anyone can use to outsmart hackers and keep their data safe and secure.
1. Be Smarter About Password Choices
It’s important to be smarter about how we construct passwords. Believe it or not, the most popular passwords still include ‘12345’ and ‘password’.
Really. We can’t believe it either.
Passwords so simple are practically begging to be stolen. Make sure to take extra measures to create smarter, more secure passwords.
Get more creative and implement letters, numbers, and even special characters. The more diverse the password, the more difficult it’ll be for a hacker to crack.
2. Know When (And When Not) To Change Passwords
It isn’t enough to just be smart about choosing the right password. Time is of the essence, as they say.
However, this is where things take a turn for the weird. It’d make sense that someone would want to change their password at least a few times a year. Originally, this was thought to be the best practice.
But it’s actually recommended that users create stronger passwords and change them infrequently.
While it’s still a good idea to change passwords once every 8 or 9 months, anything more isn’t necessary.
3. Do Research On Common Threats
Online safety tips aren’t all about netiquette. Sometimes a little reading can go a long way. Be smart and proactive in understanding common threats, and it’ll be far easier to stay safe.
Most people don’t know much about the various threats out there. For instance, what’s the difference between phishing and a DDoS attack?
Knowing the difference may just save a user’s information from hackers.
For the technologically clueless, it’s time to research. Take an interest in cybersecurity.
Learn about famous attacks and how they were executed. Examine the definitions of common terms like phishing, malware, and eavesdropping.
A smart computer user is a hacker’s worst nightmare.
4. Be Extra Careful On Public WiFi Networks
More restaurants, coffee shops, and public locations are starting to implement free WiFi for customers. While this is a great idea for consumers, it’s also a goldmine for hackers as these networks are often unregulated and entirely unsecured.
We’re not saying don’t enjoy that latte and Instagram binge, just be smart about it and use a VPN.
5. Don’t Use Auto-Fill
It can be tempting to use auto-fill to enter data fields such as a name, address, and credit card info. But doing so makes it so much easier for hackers with a keylogger to gain access to that information.
Therefore, it’s never recommended that users take advantage of auto-fill. It’s convenient, yes, but it just takes one auto-fill for a hacker to gain access to critical info.
6. Avoid Phishy Links
Pardon the pun, but the point still stands.
Unfortunately, hackers understand that the average computer user is smarter than they were a decade ago. As a result, they’ve started implementing more devious methods.
These include posing as trusted sources of authority, such as Apple or the IRS.
In these instances, it’s important to pay attention to the sender’s address or website structure. It rarely, if ever, looks close to a genuine address.
Final Thoughts On Online Safety Tips
Staying safe and secure on the net isn’t as difficult as previously believed. With these tips in tow, it’s possible to keep private information out of the hands of the wrong people.
Be sure to check back often for more great ways to stay safer on the net. And don’t forget to check out our great list of discounts to help you stay safer for less!