Hackers, corporations, and government agencies have a hundred different ways to steal your online data. Your computer has open doors all over, just begging someone to walk right through it – findings ways to protect your online data is more important than ever.
When it comes to protecting your online data, your job is to go around and close as many of those doors as possible. I was reading a recent article over on esecurityplanet.com which stated that 88 percent of surveyed web users are at least “a little” concerned about the data that they have online. This article will look at helping you get out of that mass of confused people, and get your data secure.
The 5 Easiest Ways to Secure Your Online Data
1. Manage your passwords in a password manager
The recent HeartBleed security flaw clearly showed that having just one password that you use everywhere is not an effective way to protect your online data or identity. If just one hacker gets your main login details and password, and it’s the same on many of your popular accounts…you’re done!
2. Use Two-step verification
Many websites are now starting to use two-step authentication when you sign in. This involves using your cellphone and the SMS service to authenticate that you are you when a new sign in occurs.
Matt Cutts, the only person who seems to be working at Google (besides Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn and Aasif Mandvi), describes two-step, or two-factor, authentication as a way to connect “something you know” (Your password) and “something you have” (Your phone).
Your phone will have a code sent to it after you enter you password. This verifies that you are the person signing into your account. The only downfall? When I enabled it on my own Gmail account…my phone was dead!
- Microsoft Accounts
- Yahoo! Mail
3. Install KB SSL Enforcer on Google Chrome
Say what you will about Google, but their Google Chrome browser is probably the most secure browser available. Their safe browsing, sandboxing and auto-updates are second to none. Add on the fact that their security team is quick to respond to issues and you may as well put a big chrome lock on their browser as the logo.
The KB SSL Enforcer extension forces encryption when it is possible by detecting when a site supports SSL. It then redirects the browser to that more secure site. It isn’t 100% foolproof, HeartBleed showed us the vulnerability of SSL, but it’s free and you don’t have to do any work once it is installed.
Using your laptop at the local coffee shop, or any other public wifi, seems pretty convenient and carefree. But this is actually a perilous location as scammers are everywhere. They’re looking to capitalize on people looking for something free, read our Fake Wireless Access Point article for more information.
A VPN will encrypt all of your files, hide your actual IP address, and essential make you anonymous online. Using a VPN to protect your online data will turn many of the other tips presented into backup plans as it is an online privacy workhorse.
Check out our most highly recommended VPNs to find one that is right for your privacy needs.
5. Uninstall Java
It may seem harsh to tell you to uninstall a web application already on your computer, but Java is the software that is most often targeted by hackers.
Most people don’t really need Java that badly, it only runs on a few very specific applications. Removing Java will significantly lower the available attack options for hackers, and close a great big barn door leading into your data.
Feature image via Maxx-Studio / Shutterstock