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Top 8 Practical and Simple Tips to Improve Your Online Security

online security tips
Image source: Rawpixel | Top 8 Practical and Simple Tips to Improve Your Online Security

It can sometimes be unavoidable to fall for a virtual scam. However, in general, you can develop several online habits that will enhance the cybersecurity of your files, data, and even your devices (like PCs and smartphones). In light of this, we have compiled a list of eight useful and easy-to-follow tips to enhance your online security.

1. Don't save passwords online

A data management system at Google proposes host passwords to its users. This basically means that if you use Google as your online search engine and log in to a website, a small window will show up in the corner of your screen and ask you if you want to preserve your password. If you choose not to, you will have to manually log in every time.

But what's the issue if it's such a flexible resource? So your credentials would be accessible to anyone who gained unauthorized access to your computer, whether through remote hacking or in-person visits. The attacker would have complete control over your login information to access the platforms you use, including social networks, email, work websites, banks, and stock brokers, once they obtain these passwords. The list is extensive, as is the security breach, so exercise caution and do not save your passwords online.

2. Disable autocomplete

Do you realize that your browser will automatically propose information to you when you click on a text box to input your address, CPF, or email? We refer to this as autocomplete. This issue is similar to the previous one, despite its seemingly harmless appearance: anyone with complete access to your computer can find the sensitive information you have already entered (including credit card numbers) and copy it for their own use at a later time.

Thus, we advise you to go into your browser's settings, find the autocomplete option, and turn it off. It is true that after doing this, you will constantly need to enter your email address multiple times, but your data will be much safer.

3. Enter password on files with sensitive data

Sensitive data files are frequently kept on computers, mobile phones, tablets, pen drives, and even cloud storage platforms like Google Drive and OneDrive. We won't debate the merits of this; instead, we'll merely advise you to add additional security measures to these files, which may differ based on where you host them.

When it comes to cloud systems, OneDrive provides a safe haven for all users. It ensures a number of options to protect your files, including two-step verification, facial recognition, biometric reading, passwords, and emailing codes to yourself. Examine the technologies that your device supports, then select the one that gives you the highest level of security.

4. Don't use public Wi-Fi networks

When people leave their homes and don't have data plans to access social media, they certainly make the habit of using public Wi-Fi networks. These networks can be found in hospitals, retail centers, dining establishments, squares, and clinics. However, why is it bad to access them? Simply put, they provide hackers access to your device and allow them to steal files (pictures, videos, documents, audio) and sensitive data (passwords, usernames, and CPF entered in the browser's autofill).

First of all, be aware that a network's name might be changed and made public. In other words, cybercriminals may deliberately create a public network and call it something like Wi-Fi at a plaza or mall to lure victims and then steal their data. Alternately, in a second scenario, break into a public network's system (which typically has a poor level of security because nobody anticipates a public network that offers internet access to be hacked) and use it to collect information from users in the network.

When in doubt, it's better to wait until you come home, ask your friend to route their network, or always have a data plan to access the internet outside the house. In any case, avoid using public networks at all.

5. Use difficult passwords

The adage "sensitive and obvious data, like dates of birth, house numbers, CPF or ID digits, etc." should not be included in your password is overused. Making your password strong (and free of clichés) is therefore crucial to deterring hackers and improving the security of your files and data.

For this reason, we advise you to make a complex password. Use capital and lowercase vowels and consonants, numbers, and special characters (&, *, $, %, @,!), to do this. Never discuss this information with others, and avoid writing any characters in sequence (e.g., 54321 or 12345) or repeating any of the characters you entered.

6. Don't enter your main email anywhere

To use a given service, you must register your email address or establish an account on a lot of websites and platforms. Never use your primary email address unless you plan to use this site or platform frequently. So, what should we do? Keep a secondary email address that you only use when you require the service temporarily.

Furthermore, why is this the case? Because hackers regularly assault websites and platforms, data retrieved from the deep web is exposed, leaving your email vulnerable to phishing attempts. It's because it was leaked onto the internet along with a ton of other information if you've ever received an email and recognized it was an effort at scam.

7. Check email addresses carefully

Verify the sender's address whenever you receive an email from a financial institution or other service provider. Regardless of whether the message is about forwarding bills, advertising services, or something else entirely, click on the sender to verify that the address is legitimate.

Fake addresses lack a customized registration and contain only alphanumeric and special characters. See a clear distinction below:

8. Never provide sensitive data online

Be aware that no bank will ever reach out to you on its own to request private information. Thus, proceed with extreme caution if you receive a message requesting your address, credit card numbers, CPF, or bank information. Simply verify the sender's address when dealing with emails; fraudulent senders consistently utilize addresses that are conspicuously phony and contain random or alphanumeric characters.

Cell phone calls, chats, and text messages are all subject to the same caution. You should locate and call the official customer support number of the institution if there is an issue with your card or bank account. No bank will contact you to inform you that there is an issue with your data; if this happens, pay attention to the number and look it up online to check whether it belongs to the institution; the safest option is to always turn off the phone and make the call yourself to the official number to get information about potential issues.

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