Living through the digital revolution has plenty of perks. You can find answers to questions within a few clicks, connect with loved ones who live thousands of miles away, and easily find hours of great entertainment on all of your devices.
But increased access to digital technology does come with risks. Hackers, phishing, and spoofing scams all threaten to undermine your security, both at home and work.
Digital attacks are becoming increasingly common and sophisticated, as malware and digital fraudsters create new strategies to steal your identity while you work and play online. Luckily, you can keep yourself safe online by following a few common-sense strategies.
Being able to surf the web while you take public transit, relax at a coffee shop, or walk between appointments is almost essential for modern life. However, hackers and malware can lurk on public Wi-Fi networks while waiting for innocent users to log on.
In general, you should only connect to a Wi-Fi network if you know the provider is trustworthy. You should also double-check that you’re logging on to the correct network, as digital thieves may attempt to impersonate an otherwise safe network to steal your identity.
If you work remotely, choose an internet service provider that offers good security and other perks like high speeds and unlimited data for downloads. Finding the right provider can save you plenty of headaches down the line, as you won’t be tempted to jump on an unsecured network if your internet is reliable and safe.
Storing Information Online
More people are working remotely now than ever before. For the most part, remote work allows people to be more productive, focused, and comfortable in their own homes (though you’ll typically need a few essentials to enjoy these benefits). However, working remotely also usually requires you to store and access important information online.
You can avoid mishaps by requiring two-factor authentication across all your devices and log-ins. Two-factor authentication can be a bit of a hassle at first, but you will quickly get in the habit of entering a unique passcode every time you want to access your business’s cloud data or your personal banking information.
Though two-factor authentication is a great way to reduce your risk of being hacked, you still need to be aware of corporate espionage tactics and professional phishing scams. Phishers often prey on business email accounts and aim to impersonate the identity of managers and high-level leaders. If you are ever in doubt of an email’s authenticity, do not open it. Instead, speak directly to your real-life coworker and let them know someone is impersonating their identity online.
Passwords exist to protect your identity online and prevent breaches in security. However, some people still don’t understand the importance of unique, hard-to-crack passwords and still use the same password across multiple logins before users can gain access to sensitive documents.
Even if you don’t think you’ll be targeted by hackers, you should still password protect PDFs, files, and other important documents. Adding an extra layer of security should prevent any hacker from gaining access to your personal and professional records. The extra layer of passwords may also turn some would-be thieves away, as unlocking an extra layer of security takes much more time and effort than a hacker may be willing to spend.
Smart Devices and Shared Data
Smart devices like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Nest make modern life that much easier. Being able to check the weather while you pour your morning coffee or checking in on packages while you make lunch is surprisingly useful. Despite these conveniences, smart devices can potentially undermine your security, especially if you aren’t careful.
The security risk of smart devices is heightened if you don’t keep all of your devices updated with the latest security software. Companies that own and operate smart devices are constantly responding to new threats and making adjustments to ensure that you’re safe when using their products.
You should avoid installing any untrustworthy third-party apps on any of your devices. Only install applications that you find on official app stores on your devices. Most products on the official app store for your phone are vetted for greater security.
If you’re worried about the security of your smart devices, it may be worth checking the permissions you have enabled. Some apps and devices require access to things like your camera and microphone to operate. If you don’t want to give apps access to these features, you can usually disable them in the settings of your phone, laptop, or tablet.
Accessing the web while working from home or in the office is an essential part of most people’s day-to-day life. However, you need to keep yourself digitally protected to prevent identity theft and keep your sensitive information and personal data safe. Luckily, you can prevent most attacks by maintaining a secure password, requiring two-step authentication, and keeping all your smart devices updated.