Digital safety is not just a concern for businesses and governments. Anyone who cares about their data should take precautions to protect it. Thankfully, you don’t need to be a computer whiz to build some good digital habits.
Keep these 4 commandments and you’ll ward off most digital threats.
1. Thou Shall Use a Password Manager
Do you use the same (or similar) password on all your online accounts? If you’re like most people, you probably do. If even one of those accounts is compromised, your entire life could be turned upside down.
You should use a unique password for every account. Doing this yourself is hard because you can’t remember fifty passwords. But doing this with a password manager (eg: Bitwarden, 1Password, LastPass) is extremely easy. Don’t let that sketchy and insecure website you signed up for (you know the one) ruin you. Use a password manager.
2. Thou Shall Backup Your Computer
When was the last time you backed up all your important files? Last month? Last year? Never? Losing your data is not fun. Your precious photos, financial records or homework could disappear forever in an instant without a good backup.
Setting up a good backup system might seem time-consuming and intimidating. But thanks to tools (eg: Blobbackup, Backblaze, Crashplan), it’s not. You could have your entire computer securely backing up to the cloud within 5 minutes. Do it before it’s too late.
3. Thou Shall Use 2 Factor Authentication
Sometimes you can do everything right and still get screwed. You can use unique passwords everywhere and a hacker might still guess your credentials. 2 factor authentication is your last line of defense. It’s what stops a hacker even if they know your password.
If a website has ever sent a numeric code to your phone before granting access, you’ve seen 2 factor authentication in action before. Some websites (like online banking) may require 2 factor authentication, but most will ask you to opt in. Opt in whenever possible so that you have a digital last line of defense.
4. Thou Shall Keep Your Software Updated
You’re hard at work on your computer or phone and a message pops up saying “a software update is available.” You’re busy so you click “cancel” instead of “install now” thinking you’ll get to it when you have some time. But you never get to it. Sound familiar?
Software updates may not seem important but they are. They often fix security issues and bugs that hackers know they can take advantage of. You don’t have to click install immediately every time (sometimes you simply have better things to do), but don’t make procrastinating on software updates a habit.