Using the Internet for business and leisure is essential in today’s digital world. But as the technology that allows us to work more efficiently online increases, it also includes several risks.
Identity theft is a main focus for most cybercriminals. Computers can fall victim to viruses, spyware and other dangerous malware simply by clicking the wrong link or visiting the wrong website.
With a growing amount of malicious and increasingly sophisticated software prowling the Internet, here are 101 cyber security tips to help protect your digital life on your computing devices.
1. Keep software up-to-date.
Installing updates for your browser, applications and operating system is critical. Failing to install these updates could lead to security vulnerabilities in your computing device that an attacker could exploit. Switch on automatic updates for your operating system. Use safe browsers such as Firefox or Google Chrome that receive automatic security updates. Keep your browser plugins up-to-date.
2. Unhide file extensions in Windows.
File extensions are hidden in Windows computers by default, making it more difficult to identify potentially malicious software on your computer. Configuring Windows to show file extensions can help you avoid dangerous files. Hiding file extensions makes it easy for attackers to trick you into running malicious programs because you don’t know what type of file you are opening. That is why it is so important to unhide file extensions so that you can identify potentially dangerous files and attachments on your computing device before you click on them.
3. Be cautious about downloading apps from 3rd party app stores.
The Google Play Store for Android and the Apple App Store for iOS are the two largest distribution platforms for mobile applications. But there are also third party app stores which distribute third party apps, of which there are over 300 worldwide. Each store has its own security vetting processes towards the apps they allow to be listed in their app stores, some of which may not be up to standard. This means there’s a higher chance that some of these third party stores might offer pirated and malicious apps that can infect your mobile device with dangerous malware like ransomware, adware and Trojans.
Keep in mind though, that not all 3rd party stores pose the same level of risk. For example, the app stores created by mobile manufacturers like Samsung, as well as the Amazon App Store for the Kindle Fire are 3rd party app stores.
4. Install anti-spyware programs.
Spyware protection is necessary. Many types of spyware used today can be fairly harmless. But some types are inimical to internet safety and security. These malicious programs secretly record everything you do on your computer and send them to 3rd parties. They can collect all types of information, including passwords, web pages visited, hard drive information, social media and email account logins to sensitive financial and business credentials. This can lead to identity theft, fraud and other types of cybercrimes. Use antimalware programs to scan your computer for spyware, browser hijackers and other malicious applications.
5. Install a premium VPN.
A good VPN is the best way to keep you safe and secure online. It makes you anonymous by spoofing your IP address, making you practically invisible, and your online activities private. The VPN does this by creating a virtual, encrypted tunnel between your device and the VPN server whereby your computing device assumes the IP address of the server. To everyone else, you’ll appear to be browsing from the location of the VPN server rather than your actual location, which should prevent you getting caught out by an opportunist hacker or badly secured network.
6. Use a safe browser.
Surfing the web with a safe browser is absolutely essential to your online safety and security. Safe browsers have a white list of authorized programs, and they prevent certain functions that are not on that list from starting up. Without a safe browser, anything you do on a computing device whilst browsing the internet is at risk of being infiltrated by an unauthorized 3rd party.
Using a browser that isn’t safe puts a lot at risk including your login credentials, banking details, browser history, personal information and other sensitive data. To better protect your identity, use secure browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Brave or Tor along with a VPN.
7. Block Pop-ups with an ad blocker.
An ad blocker is typically a browser extension that blocks block pop-ups from websites and advertisements from showing up as you browse the web. This will reduce the chances of clicking on an ad that could infect your computing device with malware.
8. Find out if your email account has been hacked.
Spammers use various techniques to spam people, but using hacked email accounts to spread spam has been booming for years. Find out if your email address is in the hands of spammers so that you can take the necessary steps to protect your reputation.
9. Use a standard account as your day-to-day account.
There are security risks associated with using your admin account as your main account. If your computing device gets compromised by malware or a hacker, they can do a lot more damage with an admin account than they could with a standard account. This is why you should create a user account that is separate from the default administrator account.
You can protect yourself by only logging in as administrator when you are installing software updates or making other administrator changes to the computer. Click here to learn how to setup user accounts in Windows 10.
10. Always switch off your PC.
Whenever you aren’t actively using your computer, shut it down or disconnect from the Internet. Most Mac computers do this by default. Note that if you are not frequently active on the web, the chance of being infiltrated by a malicious source decreases.
11. Lock your computer whenever you step away.
Taking a break from your computer even for only a few minutes is enough time for your computer to be compromised. When you lock your computer, it password-protects your session until you return and blocks anyone else from physically or remotely getting access to your information. If you’re running Windows 10, you can configure dynamic lock to automatically lock your device when you’re not in the same room as your comuter.
12. Educate your child on cyber security.
Educate your child about how they should behave when using the web. Let them know the dangers and pitfalls of the internet, and explain why it is not a good idea to share private information with people they don’t know.
13. Consider using an Apple computer.
Since Windows personal computers are much more prevalent in the marketplace, they are more susceptible to cyberattacks. Even though Mac computers can get compromised, it is mcuh less likely for a Mac to be infected with malware compared to a Microsoft PC.
14. Download freeware with care.
The ability to download software programs for free is compelling, and there are thousands of freeware including games, software and utility programs on file sharing sites and perfectly reputable sites. Not every free download available on the web is malicious. However, many of these freebies contain malware such as adware and spyware. Download programs only from well-known manufacturers and trusted sites.
15. Consider a security suite.
If your operating system doesn’t contain security features or you want that extra layer of protection online, a security suite will include all the products you require to keep your computer safe. A security suite typically contains antivirus software, antimalware, website authentication, parental controls, password storage and protection against identity theft.
16. Activate your antivirus software.
Simply installing antivirus or antimalware software is not enough to prevent your computer from being attacked. You still need to configure your software to perform automatic scans at a certain time every day. A quick scan will do a pretty good job, but it is recommended to perform a full scan at least once a month.
17. Increase your spyware protection.
Spyware can be hard to detect on your computer, so you may want to install more than one security application to search for spyware. Configure the stronger program to constantly monitor your PC and use the second for occasional scans to verify that nothing was missed by the first program. For example, you can configure Microsoft Defender and Malwarebytes to run simultaneously and without conflict. Both applications are also free.
18. Try disposable email addresses.
A disposable email address involves using a unique email address for a limited number of uses by creating different free e-mail addresses for specific purposes. For example you could use one disposable email address to sign up to services or complete surveys that may lead to more spam to your inbox. If you find that you’re getting too much spam to that address, simply delete the account and setup another. This will ensure that spam is kept away from your standard e-mail account.
You can continue to use your main e-mail address for business or personal communication.
19. Don’t use debit cards when shopping online.
Debit cards are connected directly to your current account. This means that whenever you buy something online, the account is immediately debited. If a cybercriminal gets hold of your card – either the card of just the information from it, and uses your card to buy stuff anywhere, you lose the cash spent. So, when you are shopping on-line, use credit cards rather than debit cards because they offer a level of protection that is not offered by debit cards.
20. Dedicate one credit card to online shopping.
Devoting a single card to online shopping will allow you to quickly detect fraud or identity theft than if you use several cards. Using one card will also reduce the amount of damage you may have to deal with if a fraudster gets hold of your card.
21. Do not save your passwords in your browser.
Saving your passwords in your browser may be convenient, but if your computing device is compromised, any info that you have saved will now become available to the attacker. This is why it is really important for you to totally avoid saving credit card numbers and other sensitive information in your browser.
22. Check for SSL.
You should only enter personal information on websites with the https:// prefix or a padlock icon in your browser window. What this indicates is that the site has been officially secured and any information transmitted between your browser and the site is encrypted and protected from prying eyes.
23. A secure site is not always a reputable one.
The https:// prefix and padlock symbol guarantees that the data that will be transmitted between your computing device and the website is secure, but that does not necessarily mean that you are dealing with a safe or reputable site. Attackers also use SSL and HTTPS to facilitate their attacks. This means you need to be wary about the websites you share your personal details with, and search for reviews to learn about other peoples’ experiences in their dealings with the company.
24. Protect your personal information.
Ignore emails that ask for personal information such as banking details, login credentials, passwords and other confidential information unless you are expecting such an email. Legitimate businesses would never ask for such sensitive information by text or in a cold email.
25. Do not click on deceptive hyperlinks.
Be suspicious of any link in an email shows one address but appears to take you to another. To find out where a link is taking you, hover your cursor over the link. If the address that appears at the bottom of your browser window is different from the one that you intend to visit, then you should definitely avoid clicking on the link as it is likely to be malicious.
26. Be cautious when typing web addresses.
Cybercriminals often setup sites that mimic other sites and use basic misspellings of the legitimate site as the URL. If you’re not careful with your typing, you may find yourself on the fake site which may be designed to download malware to your computing device as soon as you land on the home page.
27. Beware of phishing attacks.
Phishing attacks are one of the oldest scams on the internet, and have become more effective than ever before. With the exponential rise in smartphones over the years, duping users into divulging sensitive information through these devices is still easy low hanging fruit for attackers. If you have any reason to believe that the email you have received is a phishing attempt, forward it to Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) at email@example.com. Forward suspicious text messages to 7726. This allows your provider to look into the origin of the text and take necessary actions.
28. Review your accounts.
Get into the habit of scrutinizing your financial records for unauthorized transactions as they can indicate identity theft. If you spot any irregularities, it is important to make your bank aware as soon as you find out.
29. Use a password manager.
A password manager is an online utility program that stores, generates and manages the passwords for your online accounts in an encrypted database or vault. The best thing about using a password manager is that you can have lots of long and complex passwords but don’t have to remember any of them.
30. Beware of fleeceware.
Fleeceware is a type of mobile app that comes with hidden, exorbitant subscription fees for basic services. The apps often offer users a free trial to “test” the app, prior to starting excessive, automatic payments. Analysis from Avast showed that some of those subscriptions can reach over $3,400 per year. Users are often charged long after they’ve deleted the app.
The apps are not overtly malicious, and include musical instrument apps, palm readers, image editors, camera filters, fortune tellers, QR code and PDF readers, so they often get through the vetting process at the official app stores. Many of these apps are marketed at children. Parents often only figure out the source of the charges weeks or months later.
These apps are able to prolifierate because they are not considered malware and are available on official app stores, with access to official advertisement channels.
31. Create strong, private passwords.
Create a long and complex password that is easy for you to remember but would be really hard for other people to guess. The best type of password to create is a personal passphrase because it would be a lot easier to remember than a random collection of symbols and letters combined together.
32. Use a firewall to protect your computer.
Firewalls are designed to protect your computer and prevent unauthorized access. Windows 10 comes with a rock solid and trustworthy firewall that does a good job of blocking incoming connections as well as other firewalls. Using a firewall can help to prevent theft of any confidential or sensitive information stored on your computing device.
33. Disable file and printer sharing for extra security.
File and printer sharing is a Windows OS feature that allows wireless access to your file and printer over the network you’re connected to. But sharing your resources in this way is a security risk, and leaves your computing device vulnerable to hackers. This is why you ought to disable file sharing on your operating system to mitigate these risks.
If you have installed a file sharing application on your computing device, ensure that it is not configured to run automatically every time you reboot your computer.
Follow these steps to disable File and Printer Sharing in Windows 10:
- Type control panel into the Windows search box and select the app.
- Select Network and Internet and click on View network status and tasks.
- In the left pane, click on Change advanced sharing settings.
- Select Turn off file and printer sharing, and save your changes
34. Create a regular backup of your files.
For peace of mind, make it a habit of backing up the contents of your hard drive to an external USB drive. Losing your data can be detrimental to your personal and professional life. Even if the process of backing up your data does not offer protection against online threats, it insures that nothing will be lost should something catastrophic occurs.
35. Protect your computer from power outages.
Surge protectors are designed to safeguard your computing devices against abrupt and sudden power failures. Whenever you’re in a storm and a power surge is a possibility, shut down your computer and unplug it to prevent any loss of information that may occur.
36. Constantly evaluate your computer’s security.
After you may have installed antivirus, antimalware, a VPN and other security applications on your computing devices, review these programs on your computing systems at least twice annually to be certain that everything is working as it is supposed to. Make sure that your operating systems and applications are updated to the most current versions, and be sure to replace any applications as required. Complete this process for all of your computing devices.
37. Delete software programs that you’re not using.
Unused programs run in the background and take up valuable space in your computer’s memory and hard drive. In addition to slowing down your computing system and wasting resources, these rarely-used applications are often not updated to the current versions which means they are not likely to have essential security patches that could protect your computer from compromise by hackers.
38. Be wary of unsolicited emails with attachments.
Email attachments are one of the oldest and most common tactics that attackers use to infect computers with malware. This is why you should avoid downloading email attachments from unfamiliar individuals, even if your computer is fully protected with antivirus and antimalware.
It is particularly important to delete junk mail you receive that includes an attachment. Note that there are certain attachments that you should avoid opening under any circumstances. These includes any file with an extension that is .exe, .pif, .com or .bat unless you’re expecting to receive those files from someone known to you. These are some of the most harmful files used by attackers. Whenever you receive these types of files, always scan them with Microsoft Defender before opening them.
39. Activate your operating system’s protection features.
Most operating systems come standard with a built-in firewall, spam blocker, antivirus software or other security application. On some operating systems like Windows 10, these tools come enabled by default. On others, you may have to activate them. Your ISP may also provide an email spam filtering software that you should also switch on.
40. Avoid clicking on pop-ups.
As you browse the web, you may come across fake pop-up ads that look like they originated from your operating system, telling you that your computer is at risk. Some of these malicious ads that appear in your browser may have been produced by adware or malware that is already on your computer. The objective here is go entice you to click on the ad; and if you do, more malware will be downloaded on your computer.
When you come across these ads, close them by clicking on the X in the top right corner. Sometimes, these ads may be hard to close. If clicking the close button doesn’t work, try closing the window.
41. Beware of fake anti-spyware programs
If you’re in the market for some anti-spyware software, be wary of what you buy. Some products marketed as free anti-spyware software are fake and disguised as helpful anti-malware utilities or ‘PC tune-up software’. These programs will actually download malware to your computer. Only purchase anti-spyware products from legitimate manufacturers. The best way to avoid downloading a fake anti-malware program is to stick with well-known brands such as Malwarebytes, Microsoft, Kaspersky and others.
42. Read the license agreement.
Before you start to download or install any freeware on your computing device, check out its license agreement. Many of these type of programs come with adware, spyware and other programs that you would not want to have on your device. Carefully reviewing the agreement will often reveal exactly what you’re about to install on your computer.
43. Avoid pornographic web sites.
The majority of malicious adware and spyware programs are actually distributed through pornographic and online gambling sites. These types of sites are some of the biggest sources of dangerous malware, and clicking on pop-up ads on these sites is one of the quickest ways to infect your computing device with malware.
44. Do not use unlicensed software.
Apart from the obvious illegality of using pirated software, sites that distribute it are often laden with malware. Unlicensed software is usually incompatible with security patches, and can be more vulnerable to viruses and other forms of malware. It might even come with virus already installed.
45. Take advantage of free online virus scans.
If you have a Windows computer, you can run a free online virus scan to make sure your computer has not been infected with malware or spyware. These online scanners are safe to use, and can work with any other security software that is already installed on your computer.
46. Visit Windows Update.
If you have a Windows computing device, visit Windows Update regularly and consistently to check for Windows updates. The tool will scan your system for any security patches or updates that are not currently installed. It will then build a list of items that are recommended to keep your computer updated. To keep your device safe and secure, install anything that is marked as a critical update.
47. Encrypt and password-protect sensitive files on your computer.
In addition to installing security software on your computer, you can increase the protection of your computer by encrypting or password-protecting files or folders that contain sensitive information.
48. Visit Apple Security Updates.
If you have a Mac computer, check the Apple Security Site on a regular basis to find and install software updates for macOS, built-in apps and apps that you have previously downloaded from the Apple App Store.
49. Use privacy settings to guard your identity.
All that a cybercriminal needs is your personal information to begin impersonating you. This is why you should protect your address, birth date, national insurance number, bank details and credit card information by restricting how you share information on-line. You can take a strong step towards protecting your personal information by switching on privacy settings and using strong passwords.
50. Use parental controls to protect your child online.
The internet exposes children to a broad range of risks. That’s why it is so important to keep an eye on everything your child does online. Use filters and parental controls as a safety net to shield them from content that they are not old enough to see.
51. Avoid websites that use ActiveX.
- On your browser, go to Tools > Internet Options > Security > Custom level.
- Go to the ‘ActiveX controls and plugins’ section and then select Enable for Automatic prompting for ActiveX controls.
- Click OK > OK.
ISO recommends using Click-to-Play or NoScript. These are browser add-on features that prevent the automatic download of plug-in content (e.g., Java, Flash) and scripts that can harbor malicious code.
52. Be careful with USB flash drives.
USB flash drives are a simple and convenient way to store information, but they are easy to misplace thanks to their size. If you will be storing sensitive data in a portable USB drive, consider encrypting the information to protect your data in case of loss. USB flash drives are also a leading form of malware infection. When a USB drive becomes infected with malware, it is likely to infect any device into which it is plugged. This is why you should never plug random flash drives you found into your computer.
53. Keep a record of websites your child has visited.
Make sure that your child keeps a record of any sites that they visit so you can go through such sites for potential security risks. Find out if they have registered as members of any website, and do not allow them to do so without your knowledge or permission.
54. Use a spam filter.
Spam filters prevent your inbox from being overwhelmed by non-essential emails. If you have an email application that separates junk mail, take advantage of these features by preventing malicious messages from reaching your inbox. Spam filters offer an additional layer of protection.
55. Be wary of suspicious messages.
Cyberattacks can arrive in your inbox in the form of spoofed emails from people that you recognize. This is why you should be on your guard if you receive suspicious emails, even when you recognize the name of the sender, because their email might have been hacked.
Be wary of messages you receive that include attachments with odd file extensions or words that seem incoherent in the message body. Treat these strange messages in the same way as you would treat messages from strangers and delete them as soon as you receive them.
56. Change your passwords regularly.
Changing your passwords on a regular basis restricts the effectiveness of keylogging technology, which can be used to steal passwords. If your password is less than 12 characters long, get into the habit of changing your passwords every 90 days. This will help keep your login credentials safe.
Here are 11 password mistakes to avoid.
57. Beware of spoofed numbers.
Fraudsters use number spoofing to make it appear as if you’ve been contacted by a legitimate organisation via text or a messaging app. They accomplish this by using identity masking technology to alter the name displayed as the sender to try to get you to divulge confidential information.
58. Stay informed.
You can stay informed by subscribing to updates from the National Cyber Security Centre. If you live in Northern America, you can get information about the latest internet security issues, vulnerabilities, and exploits by subscribing to updates from the Cyber Security Alert System. These updates provide timely information about current Internet security issues.
59. Verify an email’s source when you’re not sure.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to determine that a professionally written phishing email is not the official one of the organisation it is meant to come from. It will often have the organisation’s logo and format and look exactly like the organisation’s official email. But always keep in mind that no legitimate organisation would ever ask for personal information, especially in an unsolicited email.
60. Limit the info you provide when registering for a website.
It is really important to be cautious when completing an online registration form. Name and email are often standard requirements, but some sites may ask for more personal details like your date of birth, address and phone number. Be sure to check out the site to which you are providing such details. Generally, you should only fill in the required fields, often denoted with an asterisk.
61. Take care when meeting an online friend.
Take proper precautions when planning to meet someone you just met online. Plan to meet at a public place and be sure to inform your family and friends about your arrangement.
62. Protect the e-mail addresses of your family and friends.
Do not use a website’s ‘recommend to friends’ feature unless you are absolutely sure of the site’s reputation. If you are planning on doing so, perform a background check on the site to ensure that you’re not sharing peoples’ personal details with spyware distributors and spammers.
63. Mark junk email as spam.
Even after using spam filters, some junk mail may still find their way into your inbox. The most effective way to deal with this is to configure your email service to recognize junk email by marking those in your inbox as spam. This will ensure that the email service redirects similar messages to the spam folder in future.
64. Always read the fine print.
It is critically important to always read the terms and conditions for any site you sign up to. Most sites will always give you the option of receiving updates and offers from 3rd parties. Leave this box unchecked to avoid receiving tons of junk mail and spam. Look for the box that promises that the site will not sell or share your e-mail address with other companies.
65. Be cautious about what you share online.
Avoid mentioning anything online that you would not say to someone you never met, especially on social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook. Take care not to divulge your home address or full names of people you know. Sharing too much information online can be particularly dangerous in today’s world.
66. Use caution with Out-Of-Office responses.
It might seem perfectly reasonable to create an automated response explaining that you won’t be able to check your emails whilst on vacation. However, such a message also lets people know that you’re going to be away from your computer and your home. If you’re going away, configure the Out-Of-Office response settings so that your message is only sent to members of your email address book. Be vague about where you are, and leave a simple message that explains why you’re not able to check your email.
67. Be careful where you download from.
If you’re in the market for anti-malware software, be particularly cautious of where you get the program from. Ensure that you download these programs from the manufacturer’s website and not from an unknown source of copies that may very well be fake. Trusted software sites like Cnet’s download.com is a perfectly safe alternative.
68. Be cautious when using public Wi-Fi.
A 2017 Wi-Fi Risk Report by Symantec showed that people are generally addicted to free Wi-Fi. Free, public Wi-Fi hotspots are often unsecure and carry an element of risk. Even though most sites now use encryption to secure the transmission of data, you’re still at risk especially when using apps on a mobile device.
If you’re using the same network as a sophisticated hacker, it won’t be difficult for them to breach your computer’s security and gain access to your personal information. Avoid sending or viewing sensitive information when accessing public wireless connections unless you’re using a premium VPN.
69. Reduce the chances of getting your mobile device stolen.
Don’t show off to the world that you have a laptop by openly using it whilst on the go. Avoid attracting attention by carrying it in a plain and inconspicuous laptop bag. Consider getting a security cable lock for additional security.
70. Always log out of secured sites.
When you have finished using secure websites such as your online banking service, make sure you log out before closing the browser window. This will ensure that the session is completely closed and cannot be viewed or reopened by other users. This is particularly important if the computer you are using is not your own.
71. Clear your cookies often.
Websites store personal information in cookies. Even though not all cookies are malicious, some companies may sell the information in those cookies to 3rd parties for marketing and advertising purposes. That is why it’s a good idea to delete these files now and again. Doing so will also free up hard drive space and speed up your web surfing.
72. Prevent your email account from being hacked.
If you’ve inadvertently downloaded malicious apps on your Windows 10 computer, you can prevent your email account from being hijacked by disabling email access for any apps that are currently installed on your Windows 10 device. This will prevent any fake app from being able to take over your email account.
73. Always use 2-factor authentication.
Always use 2-factor authentication wherever possible for your most important or valuable accounts. When used in combination with a password, 2-factor authentication greatly enhances security.
74. Enhance your security by forwarding your emails
With most email clients, you can forward email from one account to another in the same way as you do for your phone calls. This feature can help to enhance security. If you’re going away for a few days but will not be using your regular computing device, try forwarding your email to a new account that you’ve setup for the trip. This way, you’ll be able to retrieve any email that is sent to your regular account.
75. Beware of keyloggers.
Whenever you are using a public computer, always bear in mind that it can be infected with a specific kind of malicious software called a keylogger, which keeps a log of your every keystroke. This allows a cybercriminal to access whatever you typed in during your session. To be safe, avoid accessing your online banking and credit-card accounts from an insecure computer.
76. Stay away from dodgy sites.
Whenever you’re online, you’re either on safe sites, low risk or dangerous sites. Simply visiting a fake website could result in malware (such as spyware, Cryptoware and banking Trojans) being downloaded to your computer through the use of exploit kits. Using a free program such as Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit will protect your web browser against such threats.
77. Use separate devices for leisure and personal business.
As identity theft becomes more prevalent, it is essential to be super vigilant in keeping confidential information out of the wrong hands. very time you conduct some type of transaction online, be it monetary or an exchange of information, your identity is at risk from cybercriminals. If you can, avoid using the same computer that you use to surf the web to conduct business such as online banking or shopping. This can help to reduce incidents of identity theft.
78. Use native apps whenever possible.
We share a lot of personal information on our phones, including email and social media. Using dedicated apps is an effective way of keeping sensitive information from prying eyes. Instead of logging on to your online accounts via potentially insecure mobile browsers, use apps from your bank, credit card companies, favourite retailers or social media sites for activities like banking, shopping or posting on social media.
79. Take control of your social media privacy settings.
If hackers are able to get hold of your personal information, they can take control of your social media profiles. This is why it is essential to manage your privacy settings on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn to keep your personal details secure. Make confidential information such as your last name, email address and phone number invisible to anyone except for trusted family and friends. Do not automatically accept friend requests. Configure each site to approve each request personally.
80. Keep sensitive information out of chat rooms.
Even if you are talking with someone in a private chat room, chat services often archive conversations on a server. You have no control over what happens to archived conversations. Even if you feel that everything is secure on your end, remember that you don’t know if the person you are chatting with has someone watching his or her interactions with you.
80. Use a unique password on each website.
Using the same password or close variants for different websites is one of the leading causes of security breaches. Make it very difficult for yourself to get hacked by uncrackable and easy to remember passwords for your email social media and online banking.
81. Keep your IP address hidden.
Most websites are able to harvest information from your computing device, such as IP address and the applications that you use, for marketing and advertising purposes. While this information collection may not necessarily be harmful from trustworthy sites, less legitimate web sites can use this information maliciously.
82. Change the default Wi-Fi administrator password.
Most routers come with a generic password to provide easy access to router settings. This is different from the Wi-Fi password, and should be changed once you get in the first time. If you do not do so, then it will be easy for an attacker that gains access to it to change its settings and possibly lock you out.
83. Erase the data from unwanted computing devices.
When you finally decide to get rid of your old smartphone or other computing device and get a new one, make sure you get rid of all of the data on your hard disk. Many people are under the mistaken impression that just deleting files is enough to remove all of their old files, but it doesn’t quite work that way. Deleted files remain on your hard drive, and have to be erased before the machine is handed over to someone else. You can use utility programs such as wipe applications to overwrite data with random patterns to make them unreadable.
84. Change the default SSID name of your router.
Routers use a network name called the SSID (which stands for Service Set Identifier). You’ll see a list of SSIDs when you open the list of Wi-Fi networks on your laptop or phone. Sticking with the generic SSID won’t make your wireless network more susceptible to threats, however, potential attackers can see it as a sign that the network is poorly configured, which makes it more of a target. You can also hide the SSID so that potential attackers will not be able to see it.
85. Use Ultimate Windows Tweaker to avoid Windows 10 from spying on you.
Windows 10 is constantly harvesting your information and sending it off to Microsoft. Fortunately, there are different options available to stop this from happening. The Ultimate Windows Tweaker is a powerful free tool that you can use to change all of Windows 10’s privacy settings and prevent Windows 10 from spying on you.
86. Disable SSID broadcasts.
You can disable the SSID broadcast to prevent other users from detecting your wireless network name when they attempt to view the available wireless networks in your area. Note, however, that this will only hide your network name, and not the network itself. This means your router can still be attacked by hackers.
87. Sign in to Windows 10 with Windows Hello.
Windows Hello is a more secure way to sign in to your Windows 10 device instead of the standard username or password. This feature gives you the ability to sign in using a PIN or facial recognition, which are stored locally on the device. To manage how you sign in to your device, go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Security > Account Protection > Windows Hello > Manage sign-in options > Windows Hello Pin > Add
88. Take precautions when using a used computer.
Do not enter your password in a second-hand computer without installing antivirus. The computer may have been infected with malicious software such as keyloggers that are designed to steal your personal information.
89. Beware of generic posts you like and share on social media.
Avoid clicking on cute, seemingly innocuous photos that you might find on Facebook. Some of these photos are posted by cybercriminals knowing that they are going to get tons of likes and shares. Once the posts have garnered enough likes, the attacker will link the post to a webpage that downloads dangerous malware to the computing device of any user who clicks on the photo in future. Only interact with photos or posts that your friends have posted in their timelines.
90. Beware of prize giveaway scams on Twitter.
If you don’t remember entering a particular sweepstakes contest but receive notification via tweet that you’ve won a prize, take a moment to make sure that the tweet is actually legitimate. Be cautious, because it could be a ruse to lure you into giving up sensitive information.
91. Always sign out of your online accounts.
Make sure that you sign out of your favorite apps and services by logging out of all open sessions except for one that you’re currently using. You’ll be leaving the door open for intruders by not signing out. Your Google and Facebook accounts are the most important, mainly because they can also be used to access other platforms.
92. Be cautious about apps that ask for unnecessary permissions.
Most of the time, an app requests permissions because it needs them in order to work. But if you have an app from an unknown developer that requires a ton of permissions but doesn’t explain why each permission is required at Google Play or on the developer’s website, think twice before installing that app on your phone.
93. Don’t call any number for Facebook tech support.
There are currently no tech support numbers for Facebook. If you come across an advertisement on the internet or on Facebook itself asking you to dial a particular number for Facebook tech support, it is fake. These numbers are being spread by cybercriminals who use the information you provide to break into your Facebook and other online accounts.
94. Secure your Android smartphone with a strong PIN or password.
Securing your Android smartphone with a strong PIN (Personal Identification Number) is absolutely essential for the security of the information contained on your phone. Android phones allow you to have a screen lock enabled to secure your phone, and there are various types you can use including a password, PIN or pattern. Once you have activated your PIN, anyone that gains access to your phone will be unable to view the information on the phone because they won’t have your PIN. For the best security, setup a six-digit pin. If the phone cannot be unlocked, it will be worthless.
95. Prevent your Windows 10 email account from being hijacked.
Cybercriminals have the ability to hijack your email account and send out spam through the use of bots, Trojans, viruses and worms. You can prevent your email account from being hijacked by simply disabling email access for any apps that are currently installed on your Windows 10 device. This will prevent any malicious app that you have inadvertently downloaded from being able to take over your email account.
Configure Microsoft OneDrive to protect your Windows 10 computer from ransomware.
Microsoft OneDrive is a powerful tool that allows you to backup personal files on your computing device. The great thing about OneDrive is that if the system becomes compromised in the event of a ransomware attack, you’ll be able to easily restore your information from OneDrive. Note that Microsoft will store all of your backed up data in the Cloud.
97. Avoid using easy to remember English words in your password.
Passwords with English words, non-English words or any words that can be found in any dictionary are extremely easy for hackers to crack. Furthermore, if your password contains one or more recognizable words with a few of the letters changed to numbers and even with some random characters at the beginning and/or end, be aware that it could get cracked in as little as 3 days.
98. Prevent your computing device from auto-connecting to networks.
Don’t allow your computing device to auto-connect to networks, because you might think you are logging on to a legitimate network, but in fact you might be logging on to a malicious hotspot setup by a cybercriminal for the purpose of stealing information from unsuspecting users.
99. Setup a remote device locator.
One of the easiest ways to find your lost smartphone is by setting up a remote device locator such as Find My on iOS or Find My Device on Android. These tools use GPS to identify exactly where your device is at any point in time, so if you simply misplaced your device, you’ll know exactly where to go and pick it up.
100. Disable Bluetooth when you’re not using it.
As convenient as Bluetooth can be, it is a bad idea to keep it on all the time when you’re not using it. In and of itself, Bluetooth comes with a plethora of security issues and concerns. By leaving Bluetooth enabled on your phone all the time, you’re exposing yourself to this type of security issue. It can be an incredibly convenient tool when you need to use Bluetooth, but once you’re done using it, you should turn it off. And if you don’t use it at all, then you should make sure that it is off.
101. Beware of counterfeit phones.
If you’re in the market for a new smartphone, the phone you’re interested in buying might look like the real thing from the outside, but that’s no guarantee that it is actually the real thing. The marketplace is full of millions of fake Chinese or Korean phones that are hard to discern knockoffs. To avoid getting ripped off, check the IMEI number, serial number and model number. Every genuine smartphone comes with a unique IMEI number that can be verified.
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