I am updating my being safe online tips. After all, it is a new year and there are new threats out there. What worked last year simply may not be enough for 2015. So here goes; make some time to not only read but action these safety steps.
Step 1: Back up, run anti-virus, back up again
Do it now, do it again and again. Only the first back up is hard, each subsequent back up is incremental and therefore doesn’t take much time. Backing up is your first and best defense against data loss which can happen for more reasons than I have space to mention. Many systems can automate the process to an external drive or cloud service, so your only excuse is .. none.
Make sure that you download, install, run and update a good anti-malware programme, even for your mobile device. Get rid of or prevent viruses, adware, spyware and other wares designed to destroy your life.
Step 2: Set Strong Unique Passwords
Passwords can be a pain, but they are also your first line of defense against attacks. Forget the old rules, passwords now need to be longer than eight characters, need not be a recognizable word and need to be unique for each account. Yes, you read that right - each account. Since remembering scores of complicated passwords would be too much, it is time to breakout a good password manager to keep things in check.
Step 3: Secure Everything
It can be tempting to jump on a free WiFi hotspot, skip the hassle of configuring a firewall or browsing quickly through unsecured websites, but try to remember how temptation worked out for Eve.
Take a moment to set up a new password on your home wireless router and all internet enabled devices like IP cameras. Take a moment to set up a firewall on your ‘outer, turn off Discovery and disable file sharing, especially if you plan to log on to public WiFi.
Step 4: Avoid Scams
Certainly it is not recommended that you click on links in email, but if you do, make sure there is a little lock showing in your browser window confirming that the site is secure.
Speaking of security, secure your credit card by using a dedicated ‘online card’ issued by your bank, a one time/pre-paid card or a service like Paypal to create a safety zone around your prized plastic.
Online email services like Google, Yahoo! and Outlook all offer built in virus scanners to reduce the likelihood of nefarious downloads, but it is good to remain vigilant.
Step 5: Repeat
Yes, repeat. Continuous protection requires continuos updating.
Here’s to a safe 2015!
Tech4Life airs every Wednesday @ 8:15am on RJR94FM