Warren Buffett – Staying safe online is your responsibility
Our growing reliance on technology requires that we become more aware of threats and possible harms that can occur or originate either by our activities or that of others.
It is actually not the responsibility of the social media platforms, mobile network operators or your PC/gadget manufacturer to keep you safe online.
Yes, all of these stakeholders I have mentioned above have a certain role to play but there is only so much they can do. Think about this. According to securitymagazine.com, a hacker attack occurs every 36 seconds. What this simply means is that for you to stay safe online, you have to be extra vigilant particularly as more and more devices become Internet-ready.
Today, tech and social media platforms have given voice to be voiceless, made hard-working young people millionaires, enabled people to learn new skills from the comfort of their homes, made Internet-ready homes/offices a reality and lots more.
The reality, however, is that there are risks associated with all of these unprecedented developments and that is why we need to get the cybersecurity consciousness of all stakeholders including users to an above-average level.
Below are a few tips that will help improve Internet safety for both you and your organisation.
- Use Lastpass
LastPass is a cloud-based service that makes managing data on the web easier. It is a password management utility that locks all of your various passwords behind one master password. You, thus, can create separate logins for your email accounts, and everything else you do online, but can still access those accounts by memorising one single password, that ought to be changed every now and then.
- Use difficult passwords
One of the best ways to secure your accounts and data, in general, is to ensure that whatever password you use is hard to crack. A number of experts have advised that your passwords should be alphanumeric with symbols or some kind of gibberish because hackers or cybercriminals are very adept at grabbing peoples passwords for criminal intents and purposes. Always think of your passwords as safety locks because, the more complicated your passwords are, the more difficult will it be for hackers or cyber criminals to penetrate.
- Vary passwords for all your online activities
For every time you are required to supply a password online, use a different one. For example, never use the same password for your email and social media accounts. Also, do not re-use a password when creating your personal profile on a social media platform. The reason is simple. If you recycle passwords, chances are that hackers or cybercriminals will someday get hold of this one-fits-all password, and if they do, they will feast on you like a pack of hungry lions.
- Never disclose your password to anyone
It is advisable not to disclose your password to anyone, regardless of how close the person is to you except of course your immediate family or next of kin.
However, the more people know your password, the riskier it becomes for you and your data.
Remember, the other person might not be as security conscious as you are, so keep your passwords totally personal except for the purpose of sharing with super close people just in case.
- Avoid clicking on untrusted links
Did you know that clicking on a compromised link is one of the easiest ways to get breached? If I receive an email asking me to click on a link, I would only do that for links that I trust.
The reason is simple. Clicking on such untrusted links is one of the fastest ways to get you to divulge your personal information through a process known as phishing.
- Setup two factor authentication
Many Internet accounts now have this feature built-in and I have it activated on almost all my major accounts.
This is because of how insecure the Internet has become. What 2FA means is that, besides your regular password used to access an account, you will also need to enter a code that will be sent to you via SMS or an app, otherwise you will not be allowed access.
The Two Factor Authentication, therefore, provides an extra layer of security for you. I must, however, say that when it comes to the Internet, no solution is 100 per cent perfect.
There are people who set this up, yet hackers still strike them online. For me, I just do my best and leave the rest.
- Use a security code on your devices
I have met people who do not have any type of security code on either their phone or computer. They simply are more comfortable using their devices without having to bother about entering codes.
If you fall into that category, then this is advice to change strategy, because you are exposing yourself to more danger than you can imagine.
May I advise you that you should avoid using codes that can be traced to you in any way, for example, do not use your date of birth or your home address or anything that can be trace to you.
- Back up your data
The need to back up your data cannot be overemphasised. A power surge or unexpected system failure or even a total system crash could happen at any time, and if your data is not backed up, you will lose it. The habit of backing up your data is simply a good security habit.
In conclusion, it is your responsibility to stay safe online and these are some of the tips I use personally.
Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world, once stated, “cyber attacks is the BIGGEST threat to mankind — even more of a bigger threat than nuclear weapons.”
Again, we all have a role to play in ensuring that the Internet is as safe as possible. Be vigilant!
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