Tittle 5 steps to keep yourself safe in the digital age next to a man standing with a security check nearby
International, Security

5 steps to keep yourself safe in the digital age

Living in the digital age means that we depend on the internet almost every day. From paying bills to grocery shopping and keeping in touch with your friends and family, your online life can make obligations easy and fun. But with this come some potential dangers since crime doesn’t stop where the internet starts and anyone can become a victim in seconds. Luckily there are 5 easy steps you can take to protect yourself and your accounts from cybercrime and improve your security online.

Your password is your best friend

If your password is qwerty, 123456, or any of the top 10 most commonly used passwords, change it immediately. Even if it can be difficult to remember complex passwords, their value is immeasurable when it comes to cybersecurity. Make your password at least 15 characters long and mix upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols, but remember to avoid common sequences. Everyone deserves more than asdfg to stand between them and their best-kept secrets. 

Additionally, setting up two-factor authentication (2FA) can ensure your private information is safe against potential attacks. 2FA works on a basic principle – it requires additional login credentials beyond just the username and password – to gain account access, and getting that second credential requires access to something that belongs to you.

hand holding a phone with the instagram login open ready to put in their security details

Protect your digital presence

We have all heard that what’s once on the internet is forever there, but in today’s day and age keeping your information private can be difficult. Since we are used to sharing information daily, it can be difficult to avoid sharing personal information online. Your address, phone number, and in many cases location, should not be readily available for absolutely everyone to see. If you wouldn’t tell your address to a stranger on the street, it should not be available on your personal profiles. Additionally, presenting a professional online image can help build your reputation and consequently your career. 

Safety first

It might seem like an innocent link at first, but one click later you can find yourself infected with terrible malware if you’re not taking proper precautions to protect yourself online. Avoiding insecure websites and dubious offers online will ensure predators do not have even a chance to get to you. 

Similarly, you should never use an unsecured public Wi-Fi network unless you are in dire need. Many scams include fake hot spots which are used to gain access to your device and get control over your accounts. If you must use an unsecured network, make sure you are not logged into your accounts, especially when it comes to financial matters as this is exactly what hackers are looking for.  The same rule applies to devices that do not belong to you but are public such as a library or university computers. Don’t be shy and ask a local cafe if you can link up with their secured Wi-Fi instead and safely browse whatever you need instead. 

woman sitting in a cafe and browsing internet on the laptop using a secured wi-fi network

Make Online Purchases From Secure Sites

It can be a hassle to physically go shopping, but luckily, online stores are a perfect choice that are open 24/7. Giving our your card or bank account information might seem like a good idea but the next thing you know, your accounts are empty! Make sure your bank has an authentication process to avoid just copying your information and do not give out details to just any store without identifying if their site is secure or not. 

Additionally, make sure your payment method is secure and won’t leave you exposed to potential online theft. By using payment alternatives you can rest assured that your account and earnings will be protected no matter what you’re paying for. 

Make sure your devices are up to date

If you don’t have your security software, web browsers, and devices set to update automatically, turn on those automatic updates now. Updates often include critical fixes for any security holes that may have been detected in your programs or devices.

Whatever you do nowadays, you can’t escape being online one way or the other. But you can easily escape potential cyber-attacks and hacking by following these easy steps and ensure your accounts are only your own at the end of the day.