Using the internet has become second nature. We expect access 24/7, in our homes, while we travel, in our cars and in the air. Without the ability to text, snap, post, map, check in, or log in we feel lost. We now shop, do our banking, manage our credit cards, and connect via social media while at home and on the go. With this constant connectivity, we as consumers need to be sure we keep our personal data private and secure. Identities are stolen, data hacked, servers compromised, and passwords are stolen almost every minute of the day. In fact, reports of these events are becoming commonplace on the nightly news. As we live more of our life online, what can, and should we be doing to keep our information safe?
Below are 5 tips I have shared with others to keep you and your data safe online.
Tip #1 – Use Strong Passwords
Strong passwords are the cornerstone to online security. Be sure to choose different passwords for each of your accounts, and when prompted to change passwords, do not reuse them.
Never share passwords to your accounts with friends or family.
Tip #2 – Beware of Email Links and Attachments
Beware of email attachments and links asking for your password. These are most always attempts to get your personal information. If the email looks legitimate, go to the website that is shows it came from, and log in from there. Never click the links in the email, unless you asked specifically to reset your password.
Tip #3 – Keep Your Software Up To Date
Apple and Microsoft post updates for a reason, and it often has something to do with security flaws that were found. Make the updates part of your security routine. By doing them, you will be patching security holes that Apple and Microsoft know about, and are providing fixes for.
Tip #4 – Back Up Your Data
Make regular backups of your data using an external drive or a cloud service. This goes for computers, phones, and tablet devices. If any of your devices are affected by something that lock you out of your files, you can reformat the device, reinstall the operating system, and restore your data from a backup.
Tip #5 – Two Factor Authentication
Turn on Two Factor Authentication on all important online accounts that offer it. Accounts to look at include email, financial, social media and online shopping. Two Factor Authentication is used to verify that the person logging in to the account is indeed you. Once this is set up, when you log in to your account, you will need to provide a secondary piece of information to complete authentication. Often times, this is a code that is sent via text to your mobile phone.
Scott Christensen, Master of Science in Educational Leadership and Curriculum, with licensure in Educational Technology, is a 21st Century technology specialist. Scott currently serves as the Director of Educational Technology with the Burlington Area School District. He works with K-12 educators to explore, educate and integrate technology into their classrooms. As a teacher, principal and technology director, Scott has a great understanding of educational environments, and how technology can benefit both staff and students. Scott provides customized staff development programs for schools, and teaches graduate courses in the area of educational technology. He is also an adjunct instructor with Aurora University and UW-Whitewater.