Social Media Magazine

Online Security

Posted on the 08 February 2012 by Dynamicreality @Carl_ball
Online Security
Online Security
"Most people have no idea about online security or what it takes to achieve it"
Recently a friend of mine had one of his social networking accounts hacked, with distressing results for both him, his friends and family... We all find it funny when someone is fraped on facebook but what if somebody gains access to your accounts who's motives are more unsavoury. 
During the last decade our online presence has increased exponentially, with people using the internet more to purchase goods and services, interact with their friends and build businesses. Meaning we are now more vulnerable than ever.

I am going to share with you some tips, which will go along way to protect your online investments.

Here are my 5 things to do and 5 things not to do:
1. Use a password that relates to you in anyway
This includes your date of birth, house address, name, nickname, pet name etc
2. Use the same password for more than one account. Think of it as damage limitation. If one account is hacked, the others are kept safe.
3. Store your passwords within your browser
Your passwords are not encrypted and can be extracted with simple tools. Also anyone using your browser has access to all your accounts.
4. Be wary when clicking links or downloading
Generally the rule of thumb should be not to click on/download anything unless your trust the source. Viruses can be embedded in many file formats, including pictures and videos
5. Leave yourself logged in
Always log out before leaving a site, if you use apps on your smartphone that are continuously logged in, ensure your phone is protected.
1. Make strong passwords
I recommend 14 characters long with a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Never use words that can be found in the dictionary, or rather substitute the letters with numbers or symbols. Your aim should be this, if someone looked at it for 5 seconds, they still couldn't reproduce it.
2. Use a password manager
A much more secure way of storing your passwords. I use Lastpass, which you can check out by clicking here. You install an extension to your browser and it behaves in a similar way to the the default password manager by automatically filling in your long, super duper password when you arrive at the relevant site. 
3. Use a good cleaner
As you visit websites you will acquire cookies, spyware and adware and build up an online history. Granted not all cookies are bad but its much safer to remove all these things as they can potentially threaten your security. I recommend Ccleaner from Piriform which you can find here.
4. Use reputable virus protection
There is no need to pay for this, most new computers/laptops come pre-installed with payware anti-virus, in order for you to use the trial period and eventually part with your hard earned cash to continue using it. Free antivirus software can do the job just as well, you can check these out Microsoft Security Essentials, AVG and Avast
5. Always keep updated
Keep your antivirus software updated with the latest definitions and always keep your Operating System (OS) updated so you don't miss any security fixes and leave yourself vulnerable. 
Always protect your primary accounts especially your email, as most sites will use your email to reset your password! Think and be vigilante.
This post briefly touches on the subject and by no means covers everything, although I hope it will provide a stepping stone to a much more secure and safer online experience.
Best Wishes and safe browsing

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