Online security is becoming increasingly important as we use more and more new technologies, carry out more digital transactions and disclose more data. A whole host of apps, programs and even objects such as fridges, watches and other devices connected to the “Internet of things” now have our data and make purchases on our behalf. In a world that is becoming more and more interconnected, there are a few things we ought to bear in mind, especially when it comes to our own financial information. What do we need to bear in mind with online security? How is sensitive financial information protected?
11 tips for your online security
“Big data” is perhaps the buzzword of the decade, and it is one with a somewhat negative overtone. This is because any discussions about big data always raise the following question: how secure is all the data we now see on the Internet? Is there even any such thing as privacy in a digital world, and how can we safeguard it? These questions are impossible to avoid, particularly in the financial sector.
These 11 tips will help you boost your online security
Tip 1: A strong password
The first tip of having a secure password may seem obvious, but it’s something that cannot be underestimated. There’s a lot you can get wrong when choosing a secure password, such as always using the same password or never changing it. If you have a strong password, you’ve already won half the battle when it comes to online security. The stronger and more complex your passwords are, the more secure your e-mail and e-banking logins will be. So, make sure you never use the same password in two places. Using a different password for each login is the key. It is also a good idea to make sentences , ensuring you use only the first letter of each word and numbers. This will make complicated passwords easier to remember. Passphrases are also sensible. This involves a password made up of complete sentences rather than individual words, greatly increasing login security.
Tip 2: Password manager
To ensure you don’t lose track of all your passwords, we recommend using a password manager. That way, you will only have to remember one password instead of several. Each password is stored in an encrypted database, and a password for each app is also generated there. If this is not possible, you could also work with a separate password generator that can create your passwords entirely at random. There are several free programs you can use to do this. There are also lots of password manager apps available, such as KeePass and KeePassX, or free solutions such as LastPass or 1Password. Another benefit is that you can create even more complicated passwords, because you won’t have to remember them. This in turn will decrease the risk of someone cracking your password.
Tip 3: Delete your browser history
You probably visit several websites every day, where information about your user behaviour accumulates all too easily on servers. You should delete your browser history and cookies on a regular basis, as this will wipe away your digital footprint to a certain extent and help boost your online security.
Tip 4: Use private browsing
By surfing the net in private browsing mode, you make it harder for websites to trace your activities, which is usually done through cookies. Most traditional browsers have a form of private mode. In Google Chrome, for example, it is known as an incognito window, but Firefox, Opera and Internet Explorer also offer similar options.
Tip 5: Links
Be careful whenever you receive links in e-mails or on social networking sites. You should always enter URLs for e-banking manually, so you can be sure you reach the right site. Cyberattacks are especially common in finance.
Tip 6: Encrypted URLs
If you are sharing confidential information, always make sure you use an encrypted connection to do so. How do you do that? If the URL starts with “https” and there is a little lock symbol next to the address, your connection is encrypted. These websites are better secured against cyberthreats than websites without a lock symbol or an “s” after “http”.
Tip 7: Use personal devices
It makes no difference whether you’re logging in to e-banking using your laptop, a smartphone or your tablet. What matters is that you use a personal device to do so rather than, say, a public PC. Don’t leave your laptop lying around unattended, and activate password protection – even if you’re just off to grab a quick coffee.
Tip 8: Device protection
If you lose your smartphone or laptop, or if one of your devices is stolen, you must delete all the data. You can do this remotely, as long as the device is connected to the Internet. It is also advisable to reset all your passwords after such an incident, because your logins may still be stored somewhere. When you create a new password, make sure you follow the tips for setting a secure password at the beginning of this article.
Tip 9: Carry out updates
As tedious as it is to install software updates, it really helps boost your online security. Updates often close security loopholes that have been detected or fix faults. If you install the latest updates, your security will generally improve. Tech companies regard unpatched systems – the technical term for systems which have not been updated – as one of the main causes of cyberattacks. Of course, this does require the manufacturer to provide updates. If you’ve noticed that maybe your Android smartphone has not been updating itself automatically for quite a while, check if there is any other way to get the updates it has missed.
Tip 10: Avoid public networks
If you are connected to a public network, you should try to avoid the following activities if at all possible:
- Accessing e-mails or saving your e-mail address for logging in
- Online shopping
- Logging in to online banking – or any platform that requires your password
Tip 11: Antivirus programs
Above all, make sure you install an antivirus program and update it regularly, especially if you are not using iOS devices.
As useful and amazing as the Internet might be, it still involves risks – especially when it comes to the security of your personal data. However, if you are careful on the Internet and follow these eleven tips, that will help you stay secure.