How to protect yourself online in 5 steps
4 min read
In this last year where all of us for obvious necessities have moved to a much more online life for study, work or leisure and therefore we use the net more to surf, inform ourselves, watch TV series or movies, I thought it was useful to remember some basic steps to protect your data so here are 5 very simple steps with which we can increase the protection of our data and put our information a little safer.
Do NOT use the same password
The first fundamental advice is not to use the same password for access and login to the sites to which we are registered because if only one of these credentials were stolen they could be used to access not only the site from which they were taken but also to all others. So do not use your child’s birth date or dog’s name as a password and above all do not use it either to access Facebook, to the bank, or maybe to that online site where you bought something years ago that may not have the same security policies as the most structured sites.
USE a password manager
It is a good idea not to use a piece of paper to mark all the passwords we have and keep them somewhere in the house because we could always lose it but use a password manager (more details here) that is a software that allows you to save all the different passwords of yours online accounts securely ready to use. Many of these password managers are available as online services to have them always available and allow you to generate complex passwords and auto-fill login forms securely.
ALWAYS update programs and the operating system
This is as simple as forgotten by many: update programs and the operating system to the latest version available. In this way we will also have all the security updates and bugs will be fixed that could be used against us to steal information from us. This advice applies not only to our PC but also to all mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, it is strongly recommended to periodically take a ride on the Play Store or the Apple Store to update our apps.
Pay ATTENTION to how much information you post online and with whom you share it
Post as little information online as it could be used against you by exploiting what is called Social engineering), through which the behavior of a person is studied to obtain useful information that can be exploited to cheat. Here is an example: do you know that purchase you posted on Facebook and are awaiting delivery? An attacker could use this information and pretend to be the company that sold it to you saying that there were problems with the payment and that you have to redo it using a special link that will send you by email but not having access to this information will tell you to give it back on the phone... where is the problem? If you take the bait you just let him know your email (and as mentioned before it might not be difficult to guess the password), in case you went further by clicking on the link that sends you and try to make the payment you will have a nice cloned credit card.
USE two-factor authentication
This is perhaps the most advanced method of all but it is the one that takes security to another level. Two-factor authentication is the ability to enable access and log in with SMS/notification/code that is sent to your mobile phone to confirm your identity and that you must enter to log in, often used to access sites and home banking apps. Why is this method so important? If they were to steal your credentials they could not use them to log in because they would not have the code that arrived on the phone... Not to mention the fact that if that happens, you’ll see right away that something’s wrong.
BONUS: use passphrases instead of passwords
A good way to make your password secure is to replace it with a passphrase that is a phrase, duly modified, that is: easy to remember for you, sufficiently long and complex to make vain the efforts to discover it. Here’s an example: consider the phrase
da Londra a Parigi ci sono circa 450 km
and convert it into
Do you know how long it takes to discover it? 8 Hundred Quattuordecillion Years.
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