10 tips for staying safe online

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As an avid computer user and person who is interested in security, this topic or post was bound to happen at some point. the thing that sparked me writing this was my old email was hacked into and I had to overhaul all of my security, so I thought why not make a handy guide for people because we are using tech more and more so security is more important than ever , so here it is!

1. Use different passwords for your accounts
This is one tip that I always saw and never really paid attention to it, but it really is such a handy thing to do, sometimes it does take an attempt at your security for you to realise you're not actually that secure. just imagine if a hacker gets your password then they have access to all of your stuff (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc) There are some great pieces of software that can generate a password for you for different accounts, my favourite is Dashlane.

2. Use strings for passwords or random letterings
Following on from my previous tip about passwords, although having a different password may be a good practice to use, if the hacker knows you then they could easily guess your password from things you like as this is what people do base passwords on. A way around this is to use random strings of uppercase and lower case letters and symbols so that it really is a safe password. This way you are safe from such things as dictionary attacks which use common words (or user specific) to try and guess your password hundreds of times a second. again a good piece of software for this is Dashlane (promise i'm not promoting them) They have a great chrome extension that allows you to create random strings of letters, numbers and punctuation on the fly.

3. Keep passwords safe
If you're using various different strings for different accounts it can get very confusing to remember which password is for which account, if needs be write it down somewhere, on a post-it note by your PC, on Notepad and save the doc to your desktop, just somewhere so if you do forget you can look it up.

4. Keep personal information to yourself
Now this should be a given to anyone using the internet now (which is everyone) if someone asks for some information about you like your address or your bank details or anything, don't give it to them. Ive heard of stories of people befriending people online then getting their bank details and then stealing from them. Basically be smart about who you really talk to.

5. Keep your security settings up to date
Everyone should be doing this regularly on all there social platforms. Go into your account settings, take a look at the security settings and make sure they are all what you want them to be, you never know when facebook will update its T's and C's and change some settings without you realising!

6. Don't click on any links you don't recognize
We all get spam mail and see spam everywhere, be wary of what you click, more recently ive seen this more on facebook with so called links to WTF videos and when you click on the video it will then link the same thing to your wall, always take a look at the link below the actual post and just have a little check to see if it is real, I normally google a website if I think it is a spam one.

7. Keep your Antivirus up to date
This I cant stress enough you should always update your AV and make sure that is up to date with its virus definitions, there are countless different virus's out there that are created all the time, keeping up to date with your AV means you get the best protection for your pc and your information.

8. Use two step verification
This is a new one, but a great step to use, most social media platforms can let you use TSV which will make you confirm in some way that you are who you say you are by using a phone number to input a code. Facebook and Gmail both use this and you can use a app called 'Google Authenticator' which generates a random number every minute on your phone, so if someone wanted to access your account they would need your phone and that app.

9. Back up your data
This is more based for actual documentation and files, always have a backup just incase one day you lose something or something crashes and you lose the files that you need, windows has its own backup system with windows 7,8,8.1 and 10 so use that regularly so you don't lose any of your work!!

10. Be smart
Now this is the easiest step for anyone to do, just be smart when online, don't go handing out your password willie-nillie, if something looks bad or doesn't feel right then don't click on it, use some common sense while online, its the best tool you have against hackers.


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