Leaps and bounds in technology have meant that the challenge of keeping information secure and protected has become an industry on its own. As new software is developed to keep information secure, so has advances been made by that intent on getting at your information. It is up to you to ensure that you stay ahead of this curve and to protect what sometimes is very vital information from the prying eyes of criminal hacks. There are obviously many ways of protecting your information. To manage this risk, implement these 5 simple steps towards ensuring online security:
1. GREAT PASSWORDS
- Gone are the days where a simple password of 3 or 4 characters would suffice. So, as technology has crept into our lives, so has the ability to crack simple passwords. There are geniuses out there who have worked out your thoughts! So step up and introduce new ways of protecting information.
- Passwords need to consist of numerals, letters, upper and lower case and possible some keyboard characters. Today at least 8 character long passwords are required. We tend to simplify the password to “I Love john”… Password cracking software using advanced algorithms will crack that in no time. Instead “Il0veJ0hN” may be much better suited. Also, ensure you don't use the same password more than once. Having cracked the first
- one would allow a hacker to access your bank accounts, store accounts and information that are sensitive.
2. TWO FACTOR AUTHORIZATION
- This is a way in which a person is logging onto a website from a PC with an IP address that is different to the one that is normally used. You will either be sent a notification via SMS or an email notification that someone other than you is accessing a website with or without your permission from another device.
- If you were not the one logging on, change your password immediately. It means that someone has cracked your password. Be careful!
3. MAKING SURE YOU USE SECURE NETWORKS
- When accessing websites such as banking or other critical websites make sure that the address in the address bar has HTTPS (“S” for secure) attached to it. If there is no “S”, it would alert you to the fact that this is not a secure site or a fake site. Many have been conned by not being aware of this simple point.
- Then the bane of all of us. NEVER open emails that seem suspect, make offers that are too good to be true. They are fake… and can be incredibly costly just by the damage they can cause. If the website looks suspicious, for example a banking website, call the relevant bank to check its status.
4. DOUBLE UP ON EMAIL ADDRESSES
- Use a different email address for logging on to secure sites. One for banking. One for Facebook, Twitter, Takealot etc… So this spreads the risk across different platforms.
5. DON’T GIVE AWAY INFORMATION!
- Where there is a need to provide your email address, be very selective who you give it to. Remember that your email has passwords attached to it so hackers are able to steal, yes steal, your password and try it on some of your secure websites…