Even if you don’t own an online business, chances are high that you’ve conducted business online. Whether you’ve logged into your online banking account, bought a lightning deal through your favorite online retailer, or shared family photos on social media, your information could be compromised when using the internet. Hackers abound online, so it’s critical to actively take steps to improve your online security.
Invest in Protection
Start by investing in a comprehensive online protection system like Norton 360 and LifeLock that works for you around the clock. If you work, shop, communicate, or play online, you need a system that can protect you against a variety of security threats and online theft. Internet hackers are constantly working to find new ways around antivirus software and computer security systems, so you need a protection system with multiple security layers, real-time threat protection, and the latest security advancements and updates.
Use a VPN client
Anytime you’re communicating online, data is being transferred over the internet. Even with website security features like SSL certificates and two-factor authentication, hackers can use backdoor access points or exploit security vulnerabilities to access a system and steal sensitive information. If you’re sharing your favorite lemon bar recipe on social media, this might not seem disastrous, but if you’ve ever used credit cards to purchase items or conduct business online, security should be a top priority.
To improve your online security in these situations, it’s best to use a VPN, or virtual private network, client. VPN clients take additional steps to protect your computer’s IP address, verify the security of any websites you visit through a mutual authentication process, and encrypting any information you enter into websites. While setting up a VPN client might not be the simplest process for a complete beginner, the cost to set one up (or pay someone to set it up for you) is worth the effort for the additional security.
Learn to Spot Email Spoofing
Email spoofing occurs when a hacker emails you pretending to be someone they’re not. The most commonly spoofed emails are those requesting you to verify your account information or provide other sensitive data. Hackers send an official-looking email from a well-known company and invite you to click a link and enter your information. When you do, your sensitive data is sent back to the hackers to exploit.
To keep your data out of the hands of these crafty cybercriminal, learn the most common signs of email spoofing. Poor grammar or spelling within the email body, demands that you respond immediately, and suspicious attachments could all indicate a spoofed email. You should also hover over the email address and any links within the email (but don’t click on them) to verify accuracy. As you hover over the link, the web address will preview in the bottom left corner of your screen. If the web address preview doesn’t match the email or isn’t from the correct domain, the email is likely spoofed. Once you’ve identified a spoofed email, report it as spam to your email provider and delete it immediately.
Make Online Security a Priority
If you spend a considerable amount of time online, making your personal online security a priority is critical to avoiding the hassles of online hacking, computer viruses, and identity theft. By taking these important steps, you can enjoy the benefits of the web and rest easy knowing you are protected.