In 2020, cyberattacks peaked at the beginning of March and then dropped significantly. The peak was due to the increased number of attacks under seemingly favorable conditions for hacking. After all, millions started working from home, and the uncertainty sprouted thousands of social engineering scams.
As a responsible netizen, there are some questions that you need to ask yourself. The answers to them reveal whether you can consider yourself relatively safe online. You might have decided to turn a new leaf in 2021 and treating your digital identity and security as a priority should be among your new resolutions. Now, let’s dig deeper into the questions that can potentially reveal a lot about the way you have been using the internet.
Are my passwords secure enough?
While it might seem like a very basic question, it is essential to know whether you follow poor password hygiene. As almost all of us are connected to the web via various social media and other platforms, we all use passwords daily. You may think that a simple password guarantees that you will always have access to a specific service.
It is important to remember that forgetting a password is not the end of the world. As long as you have access to the email linked to your account, you can reset it. However, if your password leaks and you have reused it for multiple accounts, the consequences can be much more severe. Hackers that obtain your password could go on a rampage to break into your other accounts. Thus, it is better to create a very complicated password, even if you are afraid you will forget it. Luckily, your brain does not have to store all the passwords. Password managers are incredibly useful in keeping all of them in a secure vault.
Do I use only legitimate and safe software?
Software and applications are basic entities of our digital lives. Everyone uses software for various purposes: writing, adding reminders, programming, tracking projects, improving security, etc. Now, not all of these programs and their updates will be legitimate. Some might be cheap schemes to get hands-on sensitive information. So, while downloading or updating software, be cautious. Here are some tips:
- Prevent installing software via browser pop-ups
- Install updates from within the software or official websites
- Download software from the official sources
- Read the terms and conditions carefully
Are my financial transactions safe?
Online shopping has taken over the world like a storm. The e-commerce sales market is expected to go up to $5.69 trillion by 2022. This huge growth means that more shopping and more financial information flowing through the internet. Although e-commerce giants keep all the transactions secured and encrypted, it is necessary for you to take steps from your end.
Here are some tips:
- Use a debit card for transactions
- Keep strong passwords and update them timely
- Use a legitimate third-party payment option, if required
- Make sure that every transaction of yours requires authentication
- Avoid purchasing good from unknown vendors
Is my smartphone secure enough?
The answer depends entirely on your usage. There are countless apps on the web that we use. You may not realize it, but the app permissions that we provide can prove to be a great way to leverage private data like conversations, messages, and media. Hence, it is best to install apps after closely checking the app permissions.
Moreover, installing apps only from legitimate sources like Google Play or the App Store is also necessary. Refrain from clicking on strange links and attachments in spam emails.
Is my data safe online?
Security of data online is a prime concern of most tech firms these days. If you are a regular internet user, it is necessary for you to pay close attention to what you share online. While companies try to protect your data, improper management of information frequently leads to data breaches. In other news, businesses can use your data for various purposes. You might not even be aware of how companies monetize the consumer data they collect. Thus, many netizens turn to a VPN for browsing safely and avoiding tracking. Virtual Private Networks are incredible at unlocking geo-blocked content, but their main purpose is ensuring that your data travels safely online.
After answering all these questions, you should know how you can improve your digital lifestyle. Do not take your security and privacy online for granted. Hacking and data theft might seem like threats relevant exclusively to big tech companies and influential figures. However, anyone can become a victim due to minor mistakes we might make.