Helpful Tips for Securing Your Digital Life

Someone on their computer and phoneThe world has become increasingly more connected through the internet in recent years. For the most part, it has allowed us to become more interactive with each other and has made many parts of our lives easier. The ability to upload pictures, reconnect with friends and family, and shop online are necessities of everyone’s lives now. However, it’s important to remain vigilant online, educate yourself on the dangers of these digital interactions, and learn the security measures you can take to prevent them.

1. Backup Your Data

One of the first steps you should take when securing your digital life is acquiring backup storage, such as a USB drive or portable hard drive. It’s a simple process that is overlooked but dearly missed if your information is ever corrupted or misplaced. Using an external hard drive is easy for many devices. Several have built-in backup systems or highly-rated apps for backing up files, photos, and more. You can also backup your data via the cloud: online-only storage that allows users to access their data from anywhere on any device.

2. Establish A Firewall

It’s no secret that the internet has a lot of daily users uploading and downloading information. There is a constant stream of data traveling through your computer – and not all of it is friendly. A firewall acts as a defense between your PC and the rest of the internet. It examines data that requests entry to your device and only allows in those it deems safe. Many operating systems and pre-built computers come with a firewall, usually packaged with anti-virus and/or anti-malware software. Check what your operating system currently has before downloading new ones.

3. Turn Off Tracking

In case you didn’t know, websites track your every move with a tool called “cookies.” They are used to track your online habits like shopping and web browsing. Websites rely on cookies to track where users have visited on their sites. In a way, cookies can make your life easier as it can remember your log-in info to make accessing sites much quicker. However, passwords, credit card info, and shopping habits are targets if a website were to be breached by hackers. It’s up to you to decide the line between convenience and security.

4. Only Visit Secured Websites

When accessing a website, your browser will notify you if it is a secured or unsecured site. Secured websites use a set of security standards that require them to authenticate themselves to users accessing their website – this is called the Secure Sockets Layers (SSL), which privatized data transfer through cryptographic keys. Essentially, secured websites restrict access of a third-party attempting to view your session on the website.  You can easily identify secure websites with green ‘https’ and/or lock in the URL, depending on your browser.

5. Always Use Two-Step Authentication

Many websites and platforms often require or suggest a secondary security measure for your account. While this additional step can seem cumbersome, it can also protect your account. A single authentication can eventually be breached via password generation or weak credentials. Providing another layer of security on your account makes it much more difficult for invaders to break your privacy. A typical two-step authentication often involves you signing in through your email, smartphone, or possibly with security questions.

It’s important to make sure that you and your credentials are protected when online. Every time a site is accessed you are at risk to potential hackers. For businesses, check out our information on cyber insurance. Put your mind at ease and contact TJ Woods Insurance Agency to ask about our rates for home and cyber insurance. The holidays are fast approaching, so make sure you’re safe and secure while shopping for your loved ones!