As more and more of our daily lives — whether professional or personal — become at least partly digitized, hackers and malicious parties work harder and harder to access our sensitive information.
The methods they employ vary in style and intent, and are constantly updated to factor in new security measures. In light of the constant danger that hacking represents, the top data security experts were polled in a recent Google research paper as to the top five best ways to keep your information safe.
Implement these 5 practices into your online activity to ensure digital security at all times:
- Stay up to date.
While some users remain skeptical of new updates to their software, the fact is that these patches help to protect your information from known vulnerabilities. By refusing an update, you risk maintaining a weakness in the system that is publicly recognized at that point as a method that hackers may use to compromise your info, so be sure to regularly check for updates.
- Use a wide variety of passwords.
Even though you may have over a dozen different logins for the services you make use of on the web, the fact is that unique passwords are an important part of online security. If you were to use the same password for your email, online banking and social media, the vulnerability of your information is greatly increased because a successful hack of just one account opens up every other one with the same password. Be sure to vary your password from one account to the next.
- Enable two-factor verification.
Many services these days, including Gmail, Facebook, and PayPal, offer a secondary step for verification to ensure that hackers would need more than just your password to gain access to your accounts. While the methods may vary, a popular form of two-factor verification today is to have a confirmation code sent to your mobile device that you then use with your password to login. While it may take more time, it only adds to the security of your information.
- Use password management services.
To help you manage a long list of unique and strong passwords, services now exist that will log and save all your different login information for you. By remembering just the login info for that one service, you can have the service auto-fill any added account info when you need access, securing all your info in one place and reducing the number of passwords you need to keep memorized.
- Remain vigilant!
Maintain a healthy skepticism while surfing the web. If something looks too good to be true, it almost certainly is, so ignore anything that is free or illogically enticing as it is likely a scam. Even clicking on the wrong link can be dangerous, so avoid click-bait and fake emails by enabling spam filters, ad blockers, and working only with websites that are large and trust- worthy.