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How to Stay Safe Online: 9 Online Security Best Practices

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

a woman looking at a tablet thinking about online security best practices

In today's digital landscape, where spending more time at home and online has become the norm, knowing how to stay safe online and safeguarding your sensitive information and conversations has never been more critical. Protecting your financial details and other sensitive data is essential, making it vital to follow best practices for online security. To ensure your online safety, here are nine steps you may want to take to fortify your online defenses.

1. Incorporate a Password Manager

Streamline your online security and eliminate the frustration of remembering multiple passwords by utilizing a reliable password manager. This essential tool significantly enhances your protection against potential security breaches. Research and choose an expert-approved program that heavily encrypts your data, making it safer from hackers.

2. Enhance Online Security With a VPN Subscription

Keep your data secure and your online activity private, even on public Wi-Fi, by considering a virtual private network (VPN) subscription. Security experts recommend using a paid service to avoid data selling or malware associated with free VPNs.

3. Secure Your Accounts With an Authenticator App

Enhance your account security by using an authenticator app for two-factor authentication codes instead of relying solely on text messages or emails. Even if you're already using a password manager, an authenticator app adds an extra layer of protection.

4. Use Caution with Voice-Activated Smart Home Devices

Take precautions with voice-activated smart home devices, as they can activate unintentionally with words other than their programmed wake word. Keep in mind that they may potentially record and store confidential conversations, making it essential to regularly review and manage the recorded data to maintain your privacy and security.

5. Deploy Complex Passwords

Avoid security risks by choosing secure passwords and utilizing complex combinations of upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters. When creating passwords, avoid using easily guessable information such as birthdays, names of family members or pets, or common words. Instead, opt for random and unrelated combinations to enhance the strength of your passwords. Additionally, changing your passwords regularly, preferably every three to six months, is essential to minimize the risk of unauthorized access to your accounts. Frequent password changes make it harder for potential attackers to crack your passwords through brute force attacks or other means. Adopting these best practices and steering clear of common passwords like "password123" or "123456" establishes a solid foundation for online security and better protects your sensitive data and personal information.

6. Embracing Two-Factor Authentication

Add an extra layer of security by implementing two-factor authentication (2FA), ensuring that only you can access your accounts. Two-factor authentication is a robust security process that requires users to provide two different forms of identification before granting access to their accounts. The common acronym for two-factor authentication is 2FA. Typically, the first factor is a password, and the second factor is something unique to the user, such as a one-time code sent to their registered mobile device or a biometric scan. This powerful security measure significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized access, even if your passwords are compromised. Adopting 2FA creates a formidable defense against potential cyber threats, safeguarding your sensitive information and digital assets effectively.

7. Staying Secure Online with Regular System Updates

Stay protected from known vulnerabilities by frequently updating your phone, tablet, and computer with the latest security software. This not only includes updating your operating system but also extends to regularly updating your applications and web browsers. Software developers regularly release updates to patch security flaws, fix bugs, and improve overall performance. Neglecting these updates could leave your devices and data susceptible to cyber threats. Additionally, watch for automatic updates, which can be enabled for apps and operating systems, ensuring you stay up-to-date effortlessly. By regularly updating all aspects of your digital ecosystem, you create a robust defense against potential exploits and ensure a safer online experience for yourself. Remember, timely updates are a critical component of your overall cybersecurity strategy, making it more difficult for attackers to exploit known vulnerabilities and helping to maintain the integrity of your digital presence.

8. Identifying Red Flags

Educate yourself on common online scams, phishing tactics, and malware to avoid falling prey to security pitfalls. Knowing the common red flags for phishing scams or malware can help you avoid clicking on the wrong link and protect your personal information from being compromised. Be cautious of suspicious emails requesting sensitive information, unsolicited messages with enticing offers, and deceptive websites that may attempt to mimic legitimate ones.

9. Setting Up Security Alerts for Early Detection

Stay proactive by setting up security alerts for your accounts and credit monitoring to detect suspicious behavior early. Security alerts can promptly notify you of unauthorized access or unusual activities, allowing you to take immediate action and prevent potential security breaches. Moreover, credit monitoring services can provide real-time alerts for changes to your credit report, such as new credit inquiries or account openings, helping you detect and respond to fraudulent activities related to your financial information. By leveraging these proactive measures, you stay one step ahead of potential threats and significantly strengthen your cybersecurity defense.

How to Stay Safe Online and Fortify Your Online Security

By combining these comprehensive steps for safeguarding your sensitive information and fortifying your online privacy, you can navigate the digital landscape with confidence. Knowing how to stay safe online is crucial in today's interconnected world. While there are various ways to protect yourself from malicious activities online, it's essential to be vigilant. If you ever recognize any suspicious activity, report it to the relevant authorities, update your passwords, and review your online security protocols. For any questions or concerns, contact us today. We are here to assist you in maintaining a secure online presence and protecting your valuable information effectively.

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