Safer Internet Day: 10 Tips to Protect Yourself Online

PHOTO: Passwords that use a mix of lower and upper case letters and numbers are stronger.
Share
Copy

LinkedIn Hacked: 6.4 Million User Passwords Stolen from LinkedIn Website. 250,000 Twitter Accounts Hacked. How a Hacker Used Amazon and Apple Loopholes to Destroy a Tech Writer's Online Life.

Those are just a few headlines we've published on this website in the six months.

Today is Safer Internet Day. We know, it sounds super-corny, like a training day in lab safety, but if you think back over the last year you can appreciate the importance of a day dedicated to protecting yourself online.

WATCH: Staying Safe from the Internet in a Bunker and More Online Safety Tips

The online threats posed by hackers and other security holes are enough to make you want to hide under your desk or find the nearest fallout shelter. But it turns out that's not necessary (even though we did that in this video!). ABC News spoke to Google Security Princess Parisa Tabriz (that's her official title) and McAfee's Security Expert Robert Siciliano about some of their top security tips. There's no better day than today to heed their advice.

1. Use different passwords for every account.
Of course it's easier just to remember one password, but when has taking the easy route ever gotten you anywhere? When there is a large-scale password breech, as we saw with LinkedIn or Twitter, you can understand why having one password is the worst thing you can do. If the password and email address that you use for one account gets in the hands of the wrong person, they can start trying it on other sites and services. Make sure you use different passwords on different sites.

2. Make sure your passwords are strong.
You also have to make sure those passwords are good, hard-to-guess passwords. Siciliano suggests that you use a mix of upper- and lowercase letters and numbers. He also says that you should change your most important passwords at least once every six months and suggests using password-manager software so you don't have to memorize them all.

3. Set up two-factor authentication.
Google's Tabriz says two-factor authentication or two-step verification is something everyone should set up on his or her Google account. Other services provide similar security safeguards. (Twitter is said to be setting some up soon too.) The service provides an extra layer of security. When you sign into your account it requires you to enter another code, which you can only get via text or a voice call. This way no one can get into your account unless they have that piece too.

MORE: No Internet for One Year

4. Don't reveal too much on social networks.
"Fifty years ago, the bad guy was the KGB. They were the mole on the inside. Today we, with social media, are the mole on the inside," Siciliano said. Siciliano says we are often providing enough information via social media profiles for hackers to figure out our passwords or answer those questions in the password reset tools. He recommends being very careful about what information you share in your public profile. "Lock down your settings and don't friend everyone who connects with you," he said.

5. Protect your computer and browser.
This one used to be the most obvious and probably still is. Make sure if you are using a Windows PC you are using an up-to-date anti-virus or spyware program. Whether you are a Mac or a PC user, make sure your operating system is up-to-date with the latest security patches. Google also recommends using Chrome (naturally, it is its own browser) and making sure you have the latest version.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
null
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...