Young women having fun with laptop outdoor showing need to secure your digital life

Secure Your Digital Life in 7 (Easy) Days

As we’re constantly connected to the internet and our digital lives have become an extension of our “real” lives, the need to protect and secure our digital life is more pressing a concern than it has ever been.

Since our digital selves are so intertwined with every other facet of our lives, securing our digital lives has a great impact on our life in general. Without a doubt, we have invested much of our life into digital platforms in some way or another. By securing your digital life, you are, in fact, securing your life as a whole.

Our digital presence represents who we are on social media platforms, we do our shopping online, we engage in business and meetings online, our work and memories are stored digitally. This list goes on. What it means is that you can’t neglect the fact that you need to take the time, once every few months, to review your digital security and secure your digital life in 7 easy days.

Day 1 – Protect your hard drive(s)

You might wonder why your hard drive needs protecting if you just store everything in the cloud anyway. While you do back your data up to the cloud, most of your personal information gets stored on your personal computer or laptop. For many people, a laptop or PC serves as a “base” where we keep the bulk of our files – this includes important, confidential documents, photo album folders which are a treasure trove of memories, music collections, and much more.

Stopping anyone from logging into your laptop or PC with a password is decent protection, but it’s not nearly enough. This one layer of security is not the tightest vault to break, so if someone gains access to your computer, they will easily be able to access your files if those files are unencrypted.

Apple and Windows both offer automatic encryption for your files and folders. All that’s necessary is for you to turn it on.

Day 2: Create better passwords

What, so you thought your first pet’s name followed by your favourite child’s birthdate still suffices as a strong password in 2020? The password game has changed and there are many ways for anyone with access to your information to figure out your password through educated guesses or decryptions software.

This is why it’s more important than ever to create better passwords and use a different management system regarding your passwords in general. With all the accounts that you’ve got today – many of them providing access to sensitive personal information – it’s highly advisable that all of us should be using a tool that helps with password encryption.

What’s the best thing you could do? Create a different password for each of your accounts. This may sound annoying, but if one of your accounts is hacked, the others have a higher chance of staying secure.

Day 3 – Send encrypted text messages

This sounds more complicated than it is. The reason you want to send encrypted text messages is because there are many instances where we send important information over text. If these messages are intercepted, it’s quite simple for people to know exactly what you’re communicating and with whom.

In basic terms, encryption is simply when data is scrambled to the point where it becomes unintelligible. When you send an encrypted message, the person on the other end needs a key which unscrambles the data and makes the message intelligible again. It’s a lot more complex than that.

All you have to do is research messaging apps which work for you and also offer encryption. The app does all the encrypting and decrypting. WhatsApp and Signal are both popular apps which most of your contacts would have.

Day 4 – Automate your software updates

Keeping your software updated across all devices is critical in terms of digital security. Usually, when an app or program is released, it still has a few glitches which get fixed when updates are released, downloaded, and installed later.

This is also true for operating system software, which is the core of each one of your devices. If malware manages to get into your system files, that usually means a lot of trouble. Turn on the automatic update setting on your devices and you’ll receive all the updates and always remain protected.

Day 5 – Learn about phishing scams

You’re always hearing stories in the news or through the grapevine about someone who was scammed. Sometimes they’ve been scammed of a few hundred dollars. Other times, their identities have been stolen in a devastating case of identity theft and fraud.

Learning about phishing scams, how they work, and what to look out for is imperative for anyone who does anything at all on the internet. Often, scam artists try to get your personal information by sending you emails that appear to be from legitimate companies or from people you know. Clicking links or opening attachments from unknown senders allow scammers to gain access to your personal information, so verify the sender’s identity on Nuwber before opening that email.

Day 6 – Protect your accounts with two-factor authentication

We’ve mentioned passwords earlier, but two-factor authentication (2FA) adds another layer of protection for your accounts. For your email account, online shopping accounts, banking accounts, and even social media accounts, two-factor authentication means that anyone who tries to sign in needs to pass through a secondary layer of security.

Two-factor authentication often works this way: First, you sign into the account using your password. Once your password is accepted, you’ll receive a randomly generated code sent to you via text message on your phone. Type in this code in the login page and then gain access to the account.

Day 7 – Use a VPN

VPN stands for “virtual private network”. Without a VPN, everything that you do online, every site you visit, every app you use, can be seen by your internet service provider (ISP) since you have an IP address. While you’re consuming content or working online, a VPN protects your privacy by routing your activity through your own, private server that is not accessible to others. It masks your IP address and keeps your online actions virtually untraceable.

 

Staff Writer at CPO Magazine