WannaCry, Equifax and Uber—in the wake of a data emergency, I often find myself hyperconscious of my online security measures: I immediately change my passwords, I’m careful about what emails I open, and what links I click. However, once the news cycle passes, I admit I fall back into my old habits, which aren’t always as secure as they should be. It’s important to incorporate good practices into your daily routine to keep your digital life safe even before a breach happens, and well after the latest hack becomes old news. Here are 5 simple ways you can help improve your online security.
Take a Break to Update
We all know how frustrating it can be to receive pop-ups for a software update when you’re busy. They can take time, slow down what you’re working on, and often seem unimportant. But, they are important. Updates fix bugs—bugs that potentially could leave your device vulnerable to an attack. In fact, operating systems and browsers require regular updates to stay on top of vulnerabilities. So, take the time to let the updates run as needed—think of it as investing time in your security.
Delete, Delete, Delete
Does your device have pages of apps that haven’t been used in months? If so, it’s time to delete. It’s a good security practice to take a minimalist approach to your application use, especially since some older apps may no longer be supported by the Google or Apple stores. Over time apps can get infected with malware and could be part of a larger data problem. Check the status of your mobile apps regularly, and delete them if they’re no longer supported in stores, and you haven’t used them in months.
Keep Your Private Passwords, Private
The age-old saying, “sharing is caring” should never apply to personal passwords. Last year’s survey showed that 59% of people were open to sharing their passwords. But when it comes to online safety, passwords should never be shared with anyone under any circumstance. It may be exciting to share the latest video streaming app with your friends and loved ones, but your privacy could be compromised. It’s simply not worth the risk, so keep your passwords to yourself.
Stay Current on Your URLs
Hackers are masters of disguise, and often hide behind convincing URLs to launch phishing attacks. Pay close attention before you click on a link — if the link looks “phishy,” go directly to the company site to confirm that the URL is legitimate.
Enlist Some Backup
As major data breaches continue to hit the scene, it’s important to be proactive in protecting your identity. Reviewing your account info, and setting up alerts if there’s a chance your personal data has been compromised is a key component to securing information that has been compromised. Consider using a comprehensive monitoring and recovery tool that can help you take action.