Online threats are evolving at an increasing rate day after day. It seems like every week you turn on the news, you hear of another data breach. Most of these breaches are against large companies. While there is not much you can do to prevent someone from hacking a company that stores your data, there are some things you can do to protect yourself while browsing online.
The best ways to protect yourself online would be to use strong passwords, be cautious of unexpected emails, install anti-virus, and use extensions to block pop-ups and malware.
A strong password should consist of at least eight characters, is different than your previous passwords, and should include uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numeral digits, and symbols. Your passwords should not include your user name, real name, company name, or a complete word. Secure password managers are great to use if you do not want to keep up with all the account passwords. Palmetto Computer Solutions (PCS) recommends LastPass for this purpose. Don’t forget, if you are a student and have an .edu email address, LastPass provides free access to their services for six months.
Unexpected emails show up in everyone’s inbox. If you do not recognize the email sender, do not open or download the message. Though the email may look authentic, it could be a phishing scam. If you click a link in any email that sends you to a login page, always check the domain in the URL to be sure it is a legitimate site.
A good anti-virus can help protect your computer if you download a virus or malware. There is many anti-virus software companies out there to choose from. For a highly rated free anti-virus software, PCS recommends Avast Free Antivirus.
Extensions are software add-ons used in Firefox or Chrome to increase functionality of the browser. They can be downloaded in the browser options. Several security extensions that PCS recommends you download are HTTPS Everywhere, NoScript, and Adblock Plus.