by | Jul 16, 2015 | Security | 0 comments

If you think about it, the lifestyle we live today is extremely connected. Wherever we go, on the bus, in the car, or even in a plane, there always seems to be an internet connection for us to connect to. The issue is, most of us take for granted that each one of those connections is actually secure for surfing the web.

When we are at home, we want to protect our family with locks and deadbolts. Some would say that this just keeps the honest people honest. But how do we keep ourselves safe while surfing online? What can we do to secure our information from hackers and thieves?

In today’s post, I’ll be talking about a few internet security tips to help keep you safe.

5 Internet Security Tips Every High Tech User Should Know

1. Connect To A Wireless Network You Know

5 Internet Security Tips Every High Tech User Should Know - Free Wifi

As a society, we love Free Wi-fi.  If you are using a laptop, it is probably the only way you will connect to the internet. With a phone or tablet, free wi-fi is a cheap alternative to the data caps our mobile providers put on our accounts. No one likes getting a data overage bill in the mail.

It is totally cool to connect to a businesses network that provides a free guest network for their patrons. While this open network may be free, be sure that you consider who is giving you that connection. While the internet connection at the local coffee shop are free to use, they are often unsecured and leave your device open to hacking attempts. While these networks provide a convenience, there are a few risks to be aware of.

The takeaway from this point, be sure that you know who is providing the internet access you are seeking. If you have a list of 10 open wifi networks, and 9 of them are labeled Linksys, or Guest, you probably need to connect to the one listed as the business you are located at. It will help you stay safe and secure online.

2. Shop With Caution

5 Internet Security Tips Every High Tech User Should Know - Shop With Caution

These days, shopping online can be a huge time saver. For me, if there is a product I need that I can’t get locally, I will go online to Amazon or eBay and search for the item I need. These stores are huge online repositories that ship products directly to your door, and they do it very fast. With millions of users every day, it is safe to say that they have probably taken the necessary precautions on security, and when you type in your credit card number on the checkout form, you can feel confident that your information will stay safe and secure. But not every site is this way.

A quick and easy way to tell if you are using a secure checkout site is to look for the yellow lock in your browser address bar. Most sites will purchase a SSL certificate for their site if they are taking online payments. In fact, to be PCI compliant, you must employ SSL technology. An SSL is a way for the web site owner to ensure the text you are typing in on their site will be “encrypted” and not pushed across the web in clear text, for hackers to pick up.

***As a side note, don’t ever send your credit card number in an email. Most email is not secure and has the potential to be read by anyone that comes across this. Imagine what would happen if someone forwarded that email to 100 people. Once you hit the send button, there is no UN-Send.***

3. Use Secure Passwords

5 Internet Security Tips Every High Tech User Should Know - Secure Password

A big part of our daily lives is taken up on how to remember the passwords for every site you need to log in to. Most people pick 1 or 2 passwords they can remember and make small modifications for each site, but even then, the passwords are all the same and could be easily hack-able. It is important to take the time to come up with a secure password for each site.

Don’t want to remember each one or write it down? In a recent post, I discussed the benefit of using Enterprise Password Management Software and how it can help you take back control of a small part of your busy tech lifestyle. These password managers not only help you establish a long, secure password with multiple numbers and letters, but they store those for you in a sort of “digital locker” so you don’t have to remember each one.

I highly recommend trying Dashlane. It is free and you can see the benefits right away. Also, to help you with internet security tip number 2 above, it also can store your credit card information for a quicker checkout experience.

4. Lock Your Computer, Phone Or Tablet

5 Internet Security Tips Every High Tech User Should Know - Mobile Security

Have you ever taken your laptop somewhere and walked away from it for a few mins? Do you lock your screen so no one can use it? If not, you should be doing this every time, no matter if you are on your laptop, desktop, phone or tablet.  This internet security tip is probably the easiest to start doing, and the most beneficial.

Mobile devices are easier to be lost or stolen because they are so small and easy to pick up. When the new iPhone came out, a beta tester left his on a bar when he went to the bathroom and when he came back, he discovered that it has indeed be stolen. Imagine how he felt. He probably didn’t have enough time to load it up with pictures and music, but imagine if he had? Most people I know use their mobile devices for everything, and for good reason.

Phones are now high powered computers that ride around in our pockets every day. They are cameras, maps, encyclopedias, gossip makers, and not to mention phones to help us stay in contact with the world. Ask yourself, if your phone was lost or stolen, what sort of information do you have stored on it?

Do you have banking applications that don’t ask you to log in every time? Does your email contain past communications with people about a certain private subject? Can the pictures taken be used against you in any way? Better to be safe than sorry, which is why we always recommend locking the device.

For more details, check out our 3 Quick Mobile Security Tips post to help you stay secure.

5. Identify Email Phishing

5 Internet Security Tips Every High Tech User Should Know - Phishing

Phishing – no not fishing, but sounds the same – is a way for hackers to trick you into filling out a bogus form or web site that steals your personal information.

You’ve probably seen these in your inbox where an email looks like it comes from a well known retailer or shipping company, and explains they need you to fill out some information so they can process an order or send you a package. What you may not notice is this is a total scam.

First, when you click on the email it will probably install a virus on your computer, so don’t do that. Second, if you did click on it, you’ll be taken to a web site that looks like a valid companies site, but in reality it is a mirror image and designed to steal your info. Unsuspecting recipients will not think twice and start to fill out the forms that ask for your address, credit card info, and possibly even your social security number.

Please, whatever you do, don’t click the submit button. Once you do, your information is submitted to the site and captured in a database that will be sold on the black market. Next thing you know, people will be buying plane tickets to Mexico with your credit card. I know, it’s happened to me.

Over To You

So, now that I have educated you about the 5 Internet Security Tips Every High Tech User Should Know, how many will you start using? Already using them? Great! Share your secret to online security with us in the comments below!

If you like this post and know someone that can benefit from it, please share the 5 Internet Security Tips Every High Tech User Should Know with them.

Mike DeVincentis

Mike is a tech guru that loves spending time outdoors. When not at the helm of SurePoint IT Solutions, you can find him hiking or mountain biking.
5 Internet Security Tips Every High Tech User Should Know was last modified: July 16th, 2015 by Mike DeVincentis
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