Online security is something everyone needs, but most people forget about. Sure, the days of the Nigerian Prince offering you $50,000 are starting to dwindle, but background hackers and sleuths are still under the radar.
Some amazing advances have been made by security companies like McAfee and Norton to help block online attacks, stop automated bots and destroy viruses and trojans before they do any damage, but there are only so many things their software can protect you from.
So, what can you do to protect yourself online?
Look for the Green HTTPS & Padlock Combo in the website URL
If you see the website URL starts with HTTPS, you know the owner wants to protect you and everyone who uses their website.
The HTTPS system helps protect you by:
- Helping you see that that website is authentic and not being controlled to steal your data
- The information that is sent between yourself and the website is encrypted; Only you and the website know what is being said
While we’re not saying you should stop using websites that don’t have the HTTPS in their address, it is better to either avoid them, or use different account names/passwords in case the website is being taken advantage of.
We covered the reasons behind moving to HTTPS for website owners, so if you’re still not sure it’s worth it, check out the post here.
Use different usernames/passwords for each website
Whoa, that’s a lot to remember!
To be fair, outside of the extremely paranoid or security sensitive, you aren’t really going to need unique usernames (or email addresses, for that matter), but at least having unique passwords for each website can cut down on the chance of someone stealing all of your sensitive data.
The biggest reason we’ve seen so many hacked websites and high-profile accounts is because passwords and usernames are exactly the same on every account that is owned by 1 person.
Let’s look at a simple example:
- Website A is attacked, and your account information is leaked
- The hacker takes your username, and looks for other websites that have this username
- They then use the password from their first attack to access every website you’ve used that has the same username/password combination
It honestly doesn’t take much to work it out, but at least having a unique password on every website would stop this attack at the first step, saving you a lot of drama.
If you struggle to remember hundreds of passwords (like we do) then you should check out LastPass. LastPass is a great Password Vault that can remember passwords and usernames for hundreds of websites (all for free) across all your devices. We really suggest you check it out and give it a go.
You’ll need to remember 1 Master password, so keep this safe and make it super difficult to guess.
Keep your software up to date
This is a big one. A lot of people (website owners included) tend to push updates for their systems and apps to the side, forgetting about them. This is a big no-no!
One of the biggest reasons for updates to software is to patch bugs and security threats that are part of the system. When major security issues are found, they are spread far and wide, meaning everyone who has that version can be attacked quickly and easily.
Don’t let your updates, especially core system updates, fall behind and you should be fine.
While this isn’t a comprehensive list of ways to stop anything bad happening to you online (I mean, we didn’t even touch on VPN’s here), these are some of the main reasons over 150,000 websites and people are hacked daily. Don’t become another number!
If you’re interested in a comprehensive security list to protect your online browsing, check out this article on zdnet.
Has your website been hacked or swamped with spam? We can help secure and protect your website or server from hackers and keep your system up to date, have a look at our Security and Maintenance services.