Security is the buzzword on everyone’s lips at the moment. Whether it’s talk about the infamous (or famous, depending on your political slant and point of view) Edward Snowden, the Ashley Madison leaks ,or the massive ransomware attack that crippled the British health service, staying safe and secure online amidst an ever more interconnected landscape of technology is one of the main priorities of businesses and individuals alike. But in a world where the internet is a minefield of phishing scams, potential malware pitfalls and deviously enterprising hackers, what steps can you take to keep your passwords, data and personal details safe?
This one is for the website owners out there – especially ecommerce websites – for added peace of mind when designing a website, always ensure that it has an SSL certificate. Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, provide privacy and data security between the visitor and the website by encrypting all data transmitted. This means when you input valuable data such as passwords, they will remain encrypted and secure. Usually when you purchase the hosting of a site through an ISP they provide you with an SSL certificate, but it’s also possible to buy them separately through a company like 1&1.
Ensure Your Passwords Are Strong, Complicated and Differ From Device to Device
While this might seem like the most basic piece of advice, it’s astounding how many people forgo this crucial information and use the same password for their bank account, Facebook profile as well as the lock code on their phone. This is one of the easiest ways for someone to hack the details of your entire life. After one password is figured out, it simply acts as a skeleton key to the rest of your personal data in its entirety. When picking a password make sure that you:
- Don’t re-use passwords
- Combine upper and lowercase characters with numbers
- Use a password manager to remember complicated passwords
- Utilize two-factor authentication
Cover The Cameras on Your Laptops and Other Devices When Not In Use
If you’ve seen the episode of dystopian series Black Mirror called Shut Up And Dance then you know that your laptop camera is a security risk to letting hackers spy on you in real life. Covering it with a piece of tape or paper when you’re not using it is a low-tech but very effective solution to ensuring your privacy. Sound paranoid? Maybe, but when devices from Google malfunction and become defacto surveillance machines, and with tech moguls such as Mark Zuckerberg covering up, it makes you realize that any technology is fallible and a little precaution definitely never hurt.