Security

Top 5: Ways to stay safe online

Chances are, you've heard these tips before. But as recent news stories indicate, reminders about online security are never a bad thing.

The ways you can get compromised on the internet have gotten more numerous and more sophisticated. Now, more than ever, it's important to follow the best practices to give yourself the best chance of getting through life on the net safely.

Here are five ways to stay safe online:

1. Keep your software current, especially your security software. If automatic updates are an option, turn them on. Companies already take long enough to patch software so you don't want to go any more time patchless than you need to.

SEE: Zero day exploits: The smart person's guide

2. Passwords. Make them strong and long. Use special characters where allowed and mix in capital letters. And turn on two-factor authentication where available. Remember to use a unique password for each account and either write them down in a safe place or use a secure password manager.

3. Be very wary of what you click on. Delete suspicious emails. Don't open attachments unless you're absolutely sure they're safe. Be careful visiting unfamiliar websites. And don't click OK or Yes blindly!

SEE: Five password management apps that will work on all your devices

4. Limit your business on open Wi-Fi! At the coffee shop, hotel or on the airplane, people can sniff out your traffic. Use a trusted virtual private network if you need to do sensitive stuff like financial operations.

5. Customize privacy settings on the services you use. Don't just go with the defaults. Even then, only share the information you must to make a service work. Be wary of entering personal or sensitive info online anywhere.

SEE: 6 tips to protect your G Suite account from phishing scams

There's no silver bullet for security — it's just a game of reducing the chances of bad stuff happening. But hopefully these tips will make your chances a little better.

Also see:
The best security? Have Zero Trust, says expert
Despite security risks, 75% of CEOs use applications that aren't approved by IT
5 ways to reduce insider security risks
United flight attendant accidentally leaked cockpit security codes to public website
FTC looks to shut down fake tech support scams with Operation Tech Trap

About Tom Merritt

Tom is an award-winning independent tech podcaster and host of regular tech news and information shows. Tom hosts Sword and Laser, a science fiction and fantasy podcast, and book club with Veronica Belmont. He also hosts Daily Tech News Show, coverin...

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