Spotlight on Account Security
It is important to know and follow some basic Internet safety tips when online. Our Internet connected devices are valuable resources that improve so many facets of our everyday lives. However, they are not without risk.
The more we depend on these technologies, the easier it is to forget that we should always remain vigilant to protect ourselves online. We need to follow a few best practices to ensure that we do not fall victim to online scams or get into bad habits that leave us vulnerable.
The following Internet safety tips will help keep you safe online.
- Keep Your Device Updated and Secure – Make sure the devices you connect to the Internet with are current on support and patches. If your phone or computer OS no longer receives security updates, you may be vulnerable to exploits that could harvest your data or compromise your privacy. Use a screen lock on your phone and computer as an extra layer of protection in case your device is lost or stolen.
- Have a Strong Password – Choose a strong and unique password for every account you have. Having a unique password per account ensures if one is compromised, it does not require you to figure out everywhere else you used it and change it there too.
- Protect Your Passwords – Passwords can be stolen when a website or service has a breach and that may be no fault of your own. When hackers get your username and password from one place, they often try to use them with other popular sites and apps to see if you reused your credentials. Therefore it is an extremely important Internet safety tip to use a unique password for every account.
- Check Your Email Address – If you are curious about finding out if your accounts have been involved in a breach, you can enter your email address at https://haveibeenpwned.com/ to get a report of all known breaches your address was involved in.
- Consider a Password Vault – If remembering your growing number of passwords is getting difficult, use a password vault (Passbolt hosted by FirstLink, LastPass, etc) to store/manage your passwords. Then you only need to remember one password to unlock your vault and it can auto-fill your apps/websites when you need to log in. You can also protect the vault and every account that supports it with MFA (multifactor-authentication) sometimes called 2FA or second factor authentication.
- Practice Multifactor Authentication – Multifactor authentication adds a token or one time passcode generator to your account so that even if your password is stolen, it can’t be used without access to the second factor. This greatly reduces the likelihood someone will be able to use your account without your authorization. Some good choices would be a hardware token such as the ones sold by www.yubico.com or a one-time password generator app you can run on your phone for free like Google Authenticator.
- Beware of Social Media – Additionally, one of the most important Internet safety tip is beware of social media quizzes. Especially avoid the ones that ask you a series of questions to reveal your horoscope, movie star name, house in Harry Potter, etc. If you pay attention to the questions you are being asked, you might notice they are collecting information that can be combined to determine likely answers to security questions used for account recovery when you forget your password.
- Back It Up – Get into the habit of regularly backing up your data either on an external hard drive or to the cloud. FirstLink offers cloud backup solutions to ensure if your device is lost, stolen, or infected with ransomware, your data can be recovered.
Internet Safety Tips 101: If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. The only thing as good as it sounds is FirstLink’s technology service. Contact us today to see how we can help you.