Online product reviews, how-to guides, and tips and tricks roam the Internet, finding their ways onto our social media pages. With all of the ephemera out there, it’s difficult to know which are the most important guides to follow, and which are a waste of your browsing time. So, in order to be effectively quick and to the point, we’ve put together five quick tips for improving your online security.
1. Strong Passwords
Use strong passwords that include a both numbers and letters, and, let’s be honest, the occasional symbol doesn’t hurt either. A good security question will produce answers that have the five “S”s. They should be safe (cannot be researched or guessed), stable (will not change over time), simple (precise and consistent), special (something memorable), and sundry (has many possible answers). Check out Privacy Snapper for more tips on answering password security questions to make sure that you’ve got your passwords protected under the best lock and key.
2. Technology News
Read tech news. There are helpful resources for staying updated on emerging issues in the tech world including Privacy Shell, Wired, Arstechnia, and Privacy Snapper. When picking your news outlet it is important to determine which ones fit your reading preferences, though I will be selfish and take the opportunity recommend the high quality material of Privacy Shell as well as Privacy Snapper.
3. Protect Your Information
Protect your credit card information. When you’re entering credit card information, your URL bar should read “https”, rather than simply “http”. Hypertext Transfer Protocol, HTTPS, is the language that your web browser speaks, adding a secure layer between your browser and the website. Be sure to also check for customer service contact information. An authentic retailer will create an online presence where their customers and clients can get to know them. The website should include contact details that, at the very least, provide a business address, email address, and telephone number where you can easily reach them.
4. 2-Step Verification
Opt for 2-step verification when available. Google, Facebook, and Microsoft offer 2-step verification, meaning that these products and softwares require two pieces of privileged information before allowing before granting access to an online account on a new device. Check out this nifty piece for configuring 2-step verification on your accounts.
5. Know Your Policies
Know your privacy policies. Knowing your terms, agreements, and privacy policies is an important part of protecting yourself against online threats. Privacy Snapper, a browser add-on holds all the terms and privacy policies, can help you with this task, allowing easy access to all of the privacy policies you have (perhaps unknowingly) agreed to.
An active online presence shouldn’t be scary, and by all means, you should feel empowered to browse at your own leisure. With these five quick tips for online security, our hope is that you can continue to browse safely and securely.
About Brianna Wiens
Brianna is pursuing her Master’s in Communication at the University of Colorado Boulder, while also teaching university courses in organizational group interaction and communication theory.