However, before you get too afraid and start shutting down all your accounts and operating a cash-only policy, we wanted to share with you some useful and practical tips for keeping you and your information safe when using the internet.
As with most things, as long as you’re being vigilant and using some common sense, you’re likely going to be fine, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Use cloud-based software: Cloud-based software programs such as iCloud, Google Drive and DropBox are not only good at keeping your computer and devices from being clogged up with too many files, but they’re a great alternative to keeping hard copies of things from lying around your house or even just digital copies on your devices.
Cloud storage is especially good for making sure your sensitive information is hidden in a place where it can’t be accessed if your device is lost or stolen, and is also a great way of keeping things secure if, for example, there was a fire or flood at your house.
Change passwords regularly: Most people are aware of the importance of passwords for securing their devices, but not only are they crucial to have, but it’s also crucial that you keep them updated once every few months.
Passwords that are kept the same for a longer period of time are at greater risk from hackers, as are weak passwords such as 1234 or easy to guess names.
If you have a lot of passwords to remember and think it could be challenging to have different ones for each device or account you use, then something like LastPass would be something worth looking into.
Update your devices: Most devices nowadays have some kind of function that allows them to update after a certain period of time, such as iPhones, for example. Once they’ve not been updated for a while they may start slowing down and even not allowing certain functionality or new apps to be installed.
One of the main reasons for this is that older devices and hardware are at greater risk of hackers as they age, so with each new update comes a new layer of security to protect your device, your information and your identity.
Get in the habit of checking things every month or so: Even if you take every step listed above, you can’t just do it once. You need to stay on top of things and make sure that you’re checking in with your information to ensure that nothing is amiss. For example, is your computer running slower than usual after you’ve just cleared a lot of files from it? Or are there some transactions on your online banking that you don’t recognize?
Of course, there are never going to be any guarantees with your safety online as things become more complex and hackers get more sophisticated, but if you at least follow the rules above then you’re going to be reducing your risk of cyber-attacks very greatly.