Protect yourself online: Healthy digital habits for a safer internet

Illustration: Omar Zaz

Adopt healthy Digital Habits to make sure you don’t leave yourself prone. Update your software and devices. As we become more dependent on technology, we need to develop better online security protections. These habits will help you recognize and counter threats to your digital security and help you be less vulnerable to cyber attacks.

It’s never too late to make a New Year’s resolution to adopt healthy digital habits. Kaspersky experts have compiled a list of simple habits that can help improve the security of your personal data and make life easier in the coming year. Start incorporating these habits into your routine in early January to make the most of the new year.

Start the new year with a new password

As the new year begins, it’s a good time to review and update your passwords for all of your online accounts. Remember to use unique and complex passwords for each account, and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. A password manager can be helpful in managing multiple passwords, as it offers features such as autofill and a password generator to create unique and complex passwords for each account. This way, you only have to remember one master password.

1. Think twice before clicking on links or opening attachments.

Even if the email looks like it’s from someone you know, watch out for attachments. Take that extra second to avoid being digitally compromised. Do not reply to the email, as the sender’s identity may have been compromised.

2. Check requests for personal information.

When you are asked to provide personal information (yours or someone else’s), verify the identity of the requester – even if it looks like someone you know. Fraudsters are clever at gathering information to steal information and identities. Even if you think you’re safe, check your financial statements and credit reports regularly.

3. Protect your passwords.

Never share your passwords with anyone. Make them long, strong, unique, and use multi-factor authentication (MFA) where possible.

  • Use a password manager like LastPass or RoboForm.
  • Use different passwords for different accounts.
  • Use different passwords for work and home.
  • Don’t let apps and websites remember your passwords.

4. Protect your belongings!

Take care of your belongings when you are in public. Even if you’re only away for a second, lock things up or take them with you before you leave. When you’re at work, secure your territory and lock your computer screen before you leave your desk. Take your phone and other portable items with you.

5. Keep your devices, browsers and apps up to date.

Automate software updates at home and periodically reboot your devices to make sure updates are fully installed.

6. Back up critical files.

Store backups in a physically separate location from the original.

Sign up for data breach alerts

Along with weak passwords, data breaches are another threat to personal and corporate accounts. Unfortunately, data breaches happen frequently, making it difficult to track them all. If your account information is compromised, criminals may try to take over your accounts.

One way to protect yourself is to use the latest data breach scanning services and check if any of your data has been stolen. Some advanced password managers also offer this feature and will notify you if any of your saved logins or passwords appear in recent data leaks. By staying vigilant in 2023, you can stay ahead of scammers.

Top tips to help you protect yourself from fake calls and messages

Use a VPN for more privacy

Once a niche product for tech-savvy individuals and businesses, VPNs are now essential for anyone looking to maintain privacy and security online. Modern VPN solutions are user-friendly, offer high speed and keep personal information private. They can be used for a variety of purposes, such as making secure online purchases, accessing streaming services from anywhere in the world, or accessing local content. VPNs also hide your IP address from websites and advertisers, providing better privacy. Without a VPN, web tracking can lead to targeted ads showing your loved ones your gift purchases. Protect your privacy and prevent advertisers from hacking your records with a VPN.

Copy documents to encrypted storage

Electronic versions of documents are increasingly used, but how can they be kept secure to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands? Password manager software is a secure alternative for storing scans, PDFs, and other important documents, including medical records and work-related documents. Encrypted storage services are more secure than traditional storage options because they can only be decrypted using a master password known to the user.

Check your child’s digital usage

It’s important to teach kids about online safety from a young age to ensure their online experiences are safe and enjoyable. Parents can use games and other engaging formats to make these lessons more enjoyable. It can also be helpful to learn more about and share your children’s online interests, such as watching their favorite TV shows or listening to music. There are also child safety software options that can help parents learn more about their children’s hobbies and encourage healthy digital habits from an early age.

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