10 Easy Steps to Online Security

Every week it seems that we read an article about a massive security breach or a company that was hacked. If you have internet access on your computer or phone, you could be at risk too. By following these simple steps, you can reduce your risk.

  1. Keep your operating system and applications patched. When software companies discover specific bugs or flaws, they release patches to fix these issues. Many times, the flaws discovered are security vulnerabilities. Be sure to download and install software updates – especially for Microsoft, Adobe, and Java!

  2. Use different and complex passwords for online accounts. Most sites online now have an account creation process. The fact remains that most of us use the same password for all of these online sites – and this is extremely risky. Shoot for passwords that exceed 15 characters in length and are complex. Don’t worry about remembering different passwords for every site, there are tools to help you with that like LastPass, 1Password, and KeePass.

  3. Be critical of every email you receive. Don’t click or open an email unless you are sure who sent it. Even if you know the person, does the content look suspicious? Don’t open random emails with attachments – this is very dangerous.

  4. Be critical of every link you click. You should browse websites very cautiously. Many attacks “spoof” popular websites (like the login page to your bank) where you then enter your username and password. Take the time to make sure you are accessing the correct website.

  5. Put a password on every device. We know it is super convenient to just swipe to open your phone or boot straight into your operating system without having to type a password. Most modern phones will allow you to protect your phone with face-recognition software or your fingerprint. If you don’t have this option, choose a PIN. Don’t skip the password on your laptop or computer either. Remember, all of your information is stored on these devices!

  6. Use two-factor authentication where possible. This security method is used to double check that your identity is legitimate. You normally enter your username and password, and then have to confirm your identity through a text message to your phone, and email to your confirmed account, or a code from a separate device. Most major email providers and banks offer two-factor authentication – use it!

  7. Use a modern browser. Older browsers may have security flaws that websites exploit to execute malicious code that read your files, steal your passwords, and infect your computer with viruses.

  8. Force an HTTPS connection when available. Using HTTPS protects the transmission of data from an unauthorized third party. You can install the HTTPS Everywhere browser extension in Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. The extension forces an HTTPS connection whenever possible.

  9. Don’t skip on security software. Yes, it usually costs a little bit of money, but don’t skip on antiviral and malware detection software. Install the software and keep the definitions up to date.

  10. Don’t think you are immune on a Mac or iOS device. Online security goes beyond preventing viruses or malware from infecting your machine (you are not immune from these either). The majority of attacks happen due to human error. Be critical of the websites you visit and the email you receive.

Want some help with keeping your business data safe online?

Contact the experts at Bear Bones IT. We can perform a free security audit and help you to identify weaknesses in your IT system.

Phone: (385) 393-9367 | Email: info@bearbonesit.com