Internet privacy is a very important issue. Protecting online identity is something that every person should learn. Recent hacking attacks on Apple and Sony Pictures and other big companies have raised awareness on online security. This article features five ways to better protect yourself on the internet.
On August 31, 2014, Apple’s iCloud service was hacked, resulting in hundreds of nude celebrity photos released online. On November 24, 2014, Sony Pictures experienced a major hack – the confidential data released online included personal information about Sony Pictures employees and their families, e-mails between employees, information about executive salaries at the company, copies of (previously) unreleased Sony films, and other information.
The breach in Apple’s security should serve as a warning to everyone on the vulnerability of keeping sensitive files online. Both of these hacking incidents and many others continuously being reported in the news have sensitized people to the importance to reinforcing their personal privacy online.
Security on the internet is a very serious issue. Most of the time, a simple password is the only thing keeping you and your files safe from curious eyes. In order to be absolutely ensured of your data’s safety, you’re going to need to take a few more steps.
Featured below are five things you can do to reinforce your privacy on the internet.
Always check if it’s possible to use Two Factor Authentication
Two Factor Authentication is probably one of the best ways to stay secure online. Most websites allow users to use Two Factor Authentication when they log in on their accounts. Two Factor Authentication basically means that you won’t be able to log in on your account using only your username and password. Instead, you’ll be required to verify a code that’s sent to an item on your person (like a cell phone or tablet).
Related Reading: Does Privacy Still Exist?
Two Factor Authentication makes it impossible for hackers to access your account unless they also have access to your phone. Twofactorauth.org features a list of popular websites and services and whether they offer Two Factor Authentication or not.
Never use the same password twice
A password is like a key to a lock in your house. In the same way that you shouldn’t be using the same key on every lock, you should also never use the same password on multiple accounts. Sure it’s a lot more convenient to just use one password, but doing so drastically lowers your security on the internet.
Make your passwords completely incomprehensible
In addition to never using the same password, try to make your password really hard to guess. Websites often advise that you use a combination of letters and numbers for your passwords. But you can take things even further. If you really want to be secure on the internet, avoid using words or phrases for your password. Instead, try to use a seemingly random sequence of letters and numbers.
An easy way to make a random-looking password is by coming up with a sentence, and then using the first letter of every word to formulate your password. A sentence that only you can remember works best. Even a sentence like “My dog is fighting with my cat again” can translate to “mdifwmca”, a seemingly random sequence of letters. You can then add some numbers or change letter cases to make your password more secure.
It’s also recommended that you make your passwords longer than eight characters. Longer passwords are much harder to bypass than shorter ones through the use of brute force programs.
You might also like my detailed article about password security. Discusses brute force attacks, rainbow tables, etc.
Occasionally log out from all of your devices
Make it a habit to occasionally log out from your accounts. Most websites like Twitter or Facebook allow users to remotely log out their accounts with a simple click. Do this whenever you log in on a friend’s computer, iPad, or any other device. If you change your password, most websites will automatically log you out from any devices you’re logged into.
Always check the address of the website you’re logging into, be wary of phishing sites
Phishing is a problem that everyone should be aware of. Phishing is basically an attempt to acquire a person’s username, password, or any other sensitive information by pretending to be a legitimate website. Whenever you’re going to log in your account somewhere, always check the website’s address.
One of the easiest ways to tell apart a phishing website from a legitimate one is by checking the address’s spelling. If the web address is a bit messed up, then you’re probably about to get phished.
There are a lot of other ways to tell if the website you’re accessing is genuine or not, but the most important thing to do is to develop a sense of awareness. Phishing is one of the easiest ways to gain access to a person’s online identity. Protect yourself by always being on the lookout for such websites.