How Is Your Online Security? What Steps Are You Taking

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Have you ever wondered how secure your information is while online? What steps are you taking to protect your online presence, privacy, information, and security?

Let us look at how we can ensure we are doing everything we can to keep our online presence safe, secure and away from would-be cybercriminals and cyberattacks, safe from viruses and arm ourselves with the knowledge and tools to prevent most every threat to our privacy, emails, data, information and computer hardware we may encounter. Let’s breakdown each threat to find an adequate solution to ensure total online security.

First, before we do anything we have to start with a common-sense approach to our security. We must stop taking our security lightly and realize there are many potential threats waiting for us to let our guard down and make their move.

We must be aware of where we are, what we are sharing, with whom we are sharing our information. We must be on the defense, looking for suspicious emails, attachments, etc. We must protect our passwords, devices, from threats. So let us look at the various ways to achieve, and to do this we have to start with the basics.

Antivirus Softwarecrossword

There are many reputable Antivirus Software programs, providers to choose from, so finding one that suits your specific wants and needs should be fairly easy. Keep in mind that the use of “Free” programs may be a cheap and economical way to go, but you may be trading your security and your valuable data and information.

These “Free” programs could be collecting and selling your information to 3rd party entities, ask yourself how and why am I getting this for “Free”? It must cost something? and what is the cost? While there are some really good free programs and apps that we use all the time, but again we have to ask ourselves is our online security where we want to put our trust in a “Free” app or program? In the end, “Free” might cost us much more than we realize. So you will have to do some research to try to find an Antivirus program that ticks all the boxes for your specific needs. Look for

  • Compatibility with all your devices and platforms
  • Number of devices protected, simultaneously
  • Price
  • Protection from well-known malware and virus threats along with lessor-known, including others that may be embedded in USB drives and
  • Ease of use, set up and interface, is it easy to navigate?
  • Automated scans and updates, always make sure you have the latest update
  • Customer support and service

There may be many more options available or that you want, so find a reputable provider that suits your needs.

Email Protectionmail

The best way to protect your email is to have an Antivirus program that scans incoming and outgoing emails for any viruses. Also, email encryption, There are many Free/paid programs, apps, extension add-ons that you can use to encrypt your emails.

Some may think this is rather extreme which probably for the casual user “if there is such a thing” if you send sensitive information via email you may want to consider email encryption.

History And Cookie Deletion

When your online and whatever sites you may visit small packets of data are formed into what is known as a “cookie”, within the cookie small bits of data are stored, some of which could be your name, your password, or both these cookies help to speed up web page log-ins, save user preference settings on a specific site.
The cookie itself is not dangerous, it is the data contained inside, which stores tracking, browsing, and personal information that can be stolen. Deleting your history is another way to ensure your online privacy, most browsers and devices allow you to manually set your preferences to delete cookies and history when closing the browser or you can set so the cookies and history will delete automatically after users set time frame. The best way to configure it is to set so cookies and history are deleted after browser closing. This way you won’t forget and it is done automatically.

Strong Unique Passwords And Pin Codesunique password

The use of strong unique passwords is another great step to ensuring your online security. Way too many people use weak passwords that could lead to hackers accessing email accounts, bank accounts, credit card accounts and could wreak havoc.

It is recommended for every online account you have you should use a strong unique password that contains a combination of upper/lower case letters, numbers and characters. The use of names, addresses, pet names, etc. should be avoided.

Also, you should change all passwords regularly, a good practice would be to change passwords every 3 months, to aid with this there are many reputable password generators available. Do not share your passwords, protect anywhere you have to input. This will go a long way to keep your sensitive information safe and secure and out of the hands of criminals.

Strong and unique Pin Codes are another way to keep you safe. Try to use random numbers when choosing a pin code, again stay away from ages, addresses make it hard to decrypt, you also may as a good practice change pin codes on a regular basis.

Search Enginessearch

Another great way to protect your information while online is to use an alternative search engine, Google, Yahoo, Bing all the major search engines track your search history, with this information they build profiles on you.

Google now encrypts your traffic but it is only to prevent 3rd parties from prying in on your searches, it doesn’t prevent Google from having a look. There are a couple of really good search engines,

  • DuckDuckGo– They do not log any identifiable information, they do not use cookies to identify you, the page is super clean, easy to use.
  • Startpage– basically searches Google for you, Startpage submits search to Google and then returns the search results to you, they do not use cookies, and delete all identifiable information.

There are others that you can research and find the one that suits your needs. You can also add to your security arsenal, privacy browser extensions, they block advertisements and cookies from content providers who do not honor/respect the “DO NOT TRACK” setting in a user’s browser. There are again a few different ones that you can choose from.

The great thing about this is, this is actually where “Free” is a real thing, some the search engines and browser extension or apps are completely free and do not put any of your information at risk. There are of course some paid and some pay-want-you-want choices.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)What's A VPN ?

There are many VPN providers to choose from, so you will have to do some research to find one that suits your needs. Keep in mind as we discussed earlier using a “Free” VPN may not be the best protection, you may be giving up the things we are trying to protect.

If your not familiar with a VPN and what they do I will give you the coles notes version.

First, what is a VPN or Virtual Private Network? A VPN is a service that will give you online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network from a public internet connection. Virtual Private Networks also hide or masks your internet protocol or IP address, so what you are doing online is virtually untraceable, another great feature of a VPN is that you get greater privacy than even a secured Wi-Fi connection. So in other words, if you are connected to an already encrypted and secure network you get even better privacy protection.

So basically whenever you connect to a public Wi-Fi connection your information is exposed to whoever is connected to the same Wi-Fi, and if that person was looking to steal your information they could do so. The use of a VPN prevents this and is another great tool to protect your online presence. When looking for a reputable VPN service there are some definite must-haves, such as

  • 256 bit-key military-grade encryption
  • No-Log Policy
  • A large number of servers, located in many countries including yours
  • Fast speed, but keep in mind you could experience some speed degradation with the use of a VPN, this degradation should be minimal and should give you adequate speeds, also remember what is more important fast speed or rock-solid online protection?
  • Tech support
  • Easy to use/set up and interface
  • Internet Kill Switch ( IKS )
  • Split tunneling
  • Compatible on your devices, and multiple platforms
  • Number of devices connected simultaneously

Again you may find some that offer more, which is fantastic, but don’t settle for less!!

Final Thoughts

If this all sounds like a lot of work, your right, protecting online presence, data, information, privacy, and identity is a full-time job, and the problem we all face is that there are many criminals that work full time to steal your information, but you can go along way to protect yourself while online.

How much is your privacy worth? Protecting your online presence and activity won’t cost you thousands, at most $100 to $200 hundred dollars, depending on the Antivirus software you choose. Most VPN service is really affordable, with monthly and yearly plans to choose from.

Also with some manual tweaks to your email, browser, router, settings you will be well on your way to rock-solid protection. I have added some really good links to “How To’s” they are hot-keyed throughout the post and at the bottom. So are you going to what you need to protect yourself?

I hope you enjoyed this post if you have any questions or just want to leave a comment please do so below

Take care

Stay secure and always practice

Safe Text !!!

Butch

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6 thoughts on “How Is Your Online Security? What Steps Are You Taking

  1. Allan, thanks for this informative article. I enjoyed reading it and learned some things. My next queston was going to ask what antivirus programs would you recommend, then I noticed the link to your post “Best VPN Antivirus” and I’m looking over that one now. Thanks again. -Shirley

    • Hi Shirley, thanks for taking the time to visit and leave a comment, I am glad you found post informative and helpful. If I had to recommend an Antivirus it would be Norton, they have been around a long time and have good products, Norton has one of the largest threat databases. thank you
      all the best, take care, Stay Secure
      and always practice
      Safe Text !!!
      Butch

  2. Hey man this is a great article, I couldn’t agree with you more when you say that people don’t take their security serious.

    While serving in the military I seen with my own eyes how many passwords were so easy to hack. So many people use the same password over and over or may just add a number at the end of their name is really common. In the last 10 years the number of passwords getting hacked is unimaginable.

    I myself used numbers, characters, and symbols for my password… just 2 months ago Google sent me a message saying someone in china just figured out my Google password but they denied it because it was the wrong address. Thank you Google.

    Thank you for sharing this important information.
    Rick

    • Hi Rick, Thank you for your comment and for taking the time to visit. I am glad you found the post both helpful and informative, it’s amazing how many people take their security lightly. I had a similar experience that prompted me to beef up my security and to start this site, luckily for me my credit card informed me about a suspicious transaction, so I was able to stop and cancel my card. It was only for a small charge, but it could have been much worse!!! All the best
      Take care, and always remember to practice
      Safe Text!!
      Stay Secure
      Butch

  3. Great article! I felt embarrassed when I read the section on passwords as I am a regular offender of not changing my password often, and when I do, making it similar to the last! I take security measures too lightly I think. Also, my VPN knowledge is limited so thanks for this information.

    • Hi, Gina thanks for taking the time to visit and comment, don’t feel too bad most people use weak passwords it is easy, the unfortunate thing is this is what cybercriminals thrive on. I am glad you found my post both helpful and informative if anything maybe a good time to change your password!!!! All the best, Take care
      Always remember to practice
      Safe Text!!
      Stay secure
      Butch

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