Online Safety – Part 2

Author : teriann

I know that many persons think that their browsing is safe because they never use public computers and they don’t feel that their accounts can’t be easily hacked.  Well that is a false sense of security!

While it can be convenient, using the Internet has certain risks and it makes sense to be informed so that you can protect yourself and family while online.

Passwords

Many persons have passwords which involve their birthday or some other easy to remember number. The problem is that these simple passwords can be just as easily hacked.

Why not make it difficult for online thieves and create more complex passwords?  If you create strong, unique passwords for all your critical accounts then you will keep your personal and financial information safe.

Strong passwords include special symbols and a mix of upper and lower case letters. Do you use one password for everything? Then be careful!

If you reuse your passwords, a hacker can take the leaked data from one attack and use it to login to your other accounts. Our best advice: use a password manager to help you store and create strong passwords for all of your accounts.

Some online accounts offer multi-factor authentication. This is when multiple pieces of information are required to verify your identity. So, to log into an account you may need to enter a code that is sent to your phone, as well as your password and passphrase.

Are you protected?

Even if your network is secure, you should still use a firewall. This an electronic barrier that blocks unauthorized access to your computers and devices, and is often included with comprehensive security software.

Do you know which websites are safe? Well when shopping online, or visiting websites for online banking or other sensitive transactions, always make sure that the site’s address starts with “https”, instead of just “http”, and has a padlock icon in the URL field.

This icon indicates that the website is secure and uses an encryption to scramble your data so that it can’t be intercepted and used by others. Also, be on the lookout for websites that have misspellings or bad grammar in their addresses. This is a sign that they are copycats of legitimate websites.

Final thoughts

Although using the Internet to complete transactions is not going away anytime soon, it is important to always be cautious about what you do online, which sites you visit, and what you share.

If you take preventative measures, you can save yourself from headaches later on!

How do you stay safe while shopping online? Let me hear from you.

Teri Ann Paisley

Gleaner online writer

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