How to secure yourself online in five easy steps

              With so much of threat out there, one might be wondering if there is a way to protect oneself online? There are five easy ways to step up online security.. With our online data getting leveraged to more apps and online activity increasing every other day, it is important for us to use robust security tools.

Our world is hyper connected now. From meeting friends to exchanging money, we do everything online. In fact, our online world has suddenly turned bigger than the offline one.

With so much time spent online, we have also exposed ourselves to immense security threats. A report by Norton said “113 million Indians lost an average of Rs 16,000” last year.

With our online data getting leveraged to more apps and online activity increasing every other day, it is important for us to use robust security tools.

From LinkedIn to Ashley Madison, T-Mobile to Verizon, every big enterprise gave away user data in some or the other form. Often unintended, it also proved that trusting the companies alone is just not enough.

“Security is all about trust. Security is a paid business where the attack is payable and defense is payable too,” says Peter Sparks, Senior Director, Cyber Security Services, Symantec.

From LinkedIn to Ashley Madison, T-Mobile to Verizon, every big enterprise gave away user data in some or the other form. Often unintended, it also proved that trusting the companies alone is just not enough.

He notes, “Earlier threats included stealing credit card information, but now threat is all about stealing personal information, intellectual property, ransomware, target money by compromising people, phishing, etc.”

Sparks, who has been working in the security space for nearly 23 years and seen changes from the times of Windows 3.1, thinks there is still lot of cybercrime but it’s not just about making quick money.

Cybercriminals are using more sophisticated technology but all of the threats are based on human elements. A very simple example being offering free coupon cards and thus gain access to their contacts, social media account, friends online etc

With so much of threat out there and significant exposure to them all the time, one might be wondering if there is a way to protect oneself online? It seems there are five easy ways to step up your online security.

Beef up your passwords:

Every time while creating or updating passwords, make sure it has minimum of eight characters.

Every time while creating or updating passwords, make sure it has minimum of eight characters. Avoid using real name, username, or any other personally identifying information. The best passwords include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters.

Enable two-factor authentication:

Many websites now offer two-factor (or two-step) authentication.

It adds an extra layer of security to your account by requiring you to enter your password, plus a code that you will receive on your mobile device via text message or a token generator to login to the site. Many websites now offer two-factor (or two-step) authentication. This may add complexity to the login process, but it significantly improves the security of your account.

Don’t reuse passwords:

It is important to create a unique password for each account.

It is important to create a unique password for each account. Once a hacker gains access to one of your accounts, they’ll try to use it to gain access to all your accounts.

Use a password manager:

Consumers should consider using a password manager to remember unique passwords for each account.

Consumers should consider using a password manager to remember unique passwords for each account. Norton’s Identity Safe stores your passwords in a secure, cloud-based vault. LastPass is the best tool for managing password.

Pay special attention to email credentials:

Ensure you use a particularly strong password with both characters and numbers for your primary email account.

Many users fail to recognise that their email account can be a front door to their entire digital life. Think about how many times you may have reset your password on some other site and the recovery link is sent to your email account. Ensure you use a particularly strong password with both characters and numbers for your primary email account.

With these steps, users can step up their online security. Remember to change your account password once at least every 45 days.

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