1. Create Strong Passwords
Creating strong passwords for all your accounts is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself online and prevent hackers from stealing your personal data. To create a good password, ensure it is at least six characters long (the longer, the better) and contains no personal details. Names, birthdays, and addresses should all be left out. While it may be tempting to use a phrase that's easy to remember (like "password" or your favorite singer's name) or a simple combination of numbers (such as 123456 or 000000), a longer, random string of numbers, letters, and special characters is best for security purposes. It's also important to never use a password for multiple accounts.
2. Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication adds an additional security layer to your online accounts by requiring a second login credential, like inputting a code sent to your phone, before you can access your accounts.
3. Avoid Public Networks and Use a VPN
The same qualities that make free Wi-Fi hot spots useful for consumers also make them useful for hackers. Because most free Wi-Fi networks do not require authentication to establish a connection, hackers can easily access the devices logged into the network.
This means hackers can conveniently position themselves between your device and the connection point, steal your information, and potentially use it against you. Unsecured connections also make it easy for cybercriminals to distribute malware and viruses to your computer.
If using a free Wi-Fi hotspot is your only option, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself. The most important thing to note is that a virtual private network (or VPN) is an excellent way to prevent your data from being stolen. VPNs ensure that if a hacker intercepts your data, the information is likely too encrypted for them to successfully cause you or your device any harm.
4. Update Your Software
Keeping your devices' software and apps updated ensures you are protected by all of the latest security patches and bug fixes.
5. Check Links and Attachments Before You Open Them
Before clicking on any links or attachments, ensure they’re safe and secure. Emails from unknown senders could be infected with malware or be a part of phishing scams, so use caution.
6. Use Antivirus Software
Antivirus software has many advantages. For example, with a strong program, you can scan specific files or entire devices for malware, schedule frequent scans to run for you automatically, view the overall ‘health’ of your computer, and so much more.