Digital Hygiene 101 for Staying Safe Online
Nowadays, almost everyone is using the internet to learn, purchase, connect with friends, communicate, and more. But users are not aware while innocently surfing; they expose their data which in turn is changed to a goldmine. How do you do that? From the queries you key in Google search, your device location, photos you upload on Social Media, and histories of places you visit is later used by businesses to tailor their marketing approach.
The entry of the Corona Virus has left us with terms that’ll not disappear any time soon. And one of those terms is sanitation, which means to clean our hands often. In the digital world, the users of computers and other gadgets are required to observe digital hygiene as well to preserve system health and enhance online security. This means to be cautious when using the internet by ensuring any sensitive data is secure enough to prevent theft or external attacks.
Failure to digital hygiene after spending time online leaves your data naked, such as credit card information, home address, social security numbers, and others which may fall into the wrong hands and use it negatively. Digital hygiene helps to clean all your online activities, leaving no trace for companies or hackers from collecting your data. But don’t worry as below we delve deep to give you strategies you can use to sanitize your digital activities.
Secure Your Internet Connection
Staying connected online is no longer an option but a necessity. And you’ll find many joints such as restaurants, bus stops, airports, and other public places installed with free Wi-Fi. Everyone loves free things where they’re not parting with any cash, but public Wi-Fi can expose your activities to uninvited guests.
The threat comes when e-criminals or hackers get in the middle of you and the connection point and instead of directly linking to the hotspot; hackers capture your data in the middle.
Therefore, unless you are using personal WiFi, Protect yourself using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to secure your connection. It helps to hide your activities by preventing any other party from accessing your information. It’s prudent to add another layer of security even to your home WiFi to guarantee your safety.
Use the Right Tools
Cyber hygiene requires you to use smart tools to outsmart any threat that endangers your connection online. Lack of utilizing the right tools is the number one cause of cyber hygiene failure.
Reliable antivirus software, password protection, and a strong network firewall keep the data stored on your home devices safe. When armed with these tools, it gives you confidence about the data on your desktop, laptop, and other home devices. Above and beyond make sure your tools are from a trustworthy source before using them.
Update Software’s regularly
Regularly check software installed on your devices to ensure they are up-to-date. Outdated software exposes your devices to attacks and malware. You should frequently update phone apps, computer browsers, operating systems, and others. The best way to avoid getting caught of-guard is by setting an automatic update feature to keep your business or home devices with the latest software.
During the update process, any flaw or glitches is cleared to get rid of loopholes or entry point of virus and hackers.
Encrypt Your Devices
Some individuals and companies that are hygienically digitized have their encryption process setup, and you should adopt the same idea by encrypting your gadgets that contain sensitive information. Without encryption, anyone can see everything you are doing online.
Devices that need encryption are desktops, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, backup tapes, removable drives, cloud storage, and more to ensure your data is protected in all means. And since you connect your devices through a router, secure your internet connection by sealing all loopholes by going to settings and then choose security option. Most routers have the encryption option nowadays, but don’t assume yours is among them.
This may seem like a tiresome process, but it’s better to be sure after investigating the level of digital hygienic are your devices than being sorry later.
Use Strong Passwords
You have a million places to visit on the web, and while it may be easier for you to use a simpler and memorable password to access your devices plus other areas on the web, that could leak your data to hackers.
Make a habit of creating a strong password; however, tiresome it may seem. It is the only way to add strong defense against any of your data leaking to the wrong hands. Here are a few things you should follow when setting up the password for a secure network.
- Create a long password with many characters that hackers cannot guess
- Use a combination of upper letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters
- Avoid using phrases that are easy to memorize
- Do not use any personal information
- You can use software’s to test the strength of your password
- Use different passwords without reusing them elsewhere
The Internet is today’s most phenomenal discovery that has transformed the world from the way we communicate; consume information and many incredible benefits. However, the online connection comes with a risk of freely providing information to hackers if you fail to follow proper digital hygiene that guarantees your data safety. Good cyber hygiene habits are doable by merely adhering to the strategies shared above.