10 ways to be more secure online

In the socially and virtually active world of ours, there is no way one could be 100% secure online. With everyone hunting for your data across the wild wild internet, as more users keeps pouring in the huge bowl of internet, internet is to become much wilder. Nevertheless, we can always take some measures to be protected online. Here we pen down the 10 most efficient ways to help you to be more secure online.

1) Use DuckDuckGo if search is a worry

Being listed as one of the top 50 iPhone apps and with only 20 employees, it is an amazing search engine that does no backtracking at all to help you stay completely anonymous. With over 10 million searches in a day it goes by the saying ‘Google tracks you. We don’t ‘. To get a better understanding of what DuckDuckGo, visit donttrack.us.

Another one — Ixquick is also claims to not collect personal information.

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2) Use 2-step authentication

2-step authentication adds an extra layer of security for which many of you are craving for. A code is made available to you via SMS, through a phone call, or through an app. This code needs to be entered along with the password each time you login. Many companies such as Google and Facebook provide this feature. An app called Google authenticator can also be used which works with a large no of services such as Dropbox, Microsoft, Evernote, and many more third party services. An OTP (One Time Password) is generated by this app which we need to enter along with our passwords at the time of login.

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3) Use a Password Manager

blog_10 ways to be more secure online2When it comes to visiting numerous sites each requiring a login, it can become very annoying for us to remember such large number of passwords. Password Managers can come to our rescue in such situations giving a unique password for each and every site we visit. The best thing is we just need to remember one master password of the password manager and it will take care of the rest. Some good Password Managers are LastPass, Keepass and 1Password. Oh and top it off, add a 2-step auth to the Password Manager using Google Authenticator on your phone for added security. For e.g. this is a list of authenticators that work with LastPass — link.

p.s. Having all your passwords in one place creates a risk of it’s own

4) Encrypt cloud storage

Though they may be great invention of this century but it is in our best interests not to store sensitive information over the ‘CLOUD’. Recently a person reported a bug in Facebook which could have enabled anyone with the slightest knowledge of API’s to erase all the images from Facebook. It turns out that hackers can also have access to your cloud storage. No wonder why internet giants are ready to give a hefty amount to persons who report some faulty parameters in their functioning. Encrypting your data before uploading it to the cloud can surely be a good idea. You can use Boxcryptor and Truecrypt to encrypt your data. Some encrypted storage services are also available like SpiderOak and Wuala.

5) Use a VPN

VPN’s or Virtual Private Networks can turn out to be great tools if you use them wisely, the greatest feature being you can stay anonymous while you still surf the web. Its secure and encrypted transmission of data between the two points. It establishes a secure connection and prevents anyone from reading the data transmitted.

Now Google is also coming with its own VPN service called ‘Google VPN’ with the latest Lollipop upgrade even when you are on an open connection.

Here are some VPN’s you could use: NordVPN and Open VPN

6) Create strong passwords

Needless to say password such as ‘password123’ or your name is a joke for any level of hacker to crack. Create long passwords with a combination of upper case and lower case alphabets, numbers and special characters are considered strong. Its a good habit to change your password frequently. Having same passwords for different sites is also the wrong way to go. Password Managers can be put to use here if you are having a tough time to remember so many passwords. Here is a guide to make your password more secure.

Here is a tool to calculate your password strength: Password Checker

7)Temporary credit card numbers

Not all the banks offer this service but it can add a layer of protection to your online experience while you are shopping online. By generating a virtual account number they help you to protect your real account number. You can restrict the amount and also the validity time period for transactions through such virtual account numbers giving you extra security. Here are two offerings: Bank of America and CitiCard

8) Say no to public WiFi

Yeah we know that can be difficult but that is the loophole of which many hackers take advantage of. The free wifi at coffee shops and restaurants can be tempting sometimes but these are the pretty gaping holes which can lead the hackers to you. If you don’t believe us see how this 7 year old breaks into a wi-fi network in just 11 minutes.

What’s the solution? Yes you guessed it — VPNs can be put to use here. Using Incognito mode on various browsers may also suffice but if you got to do something very private and important online (like transactions) it’s better not to use them.

9) Keep your software up to date

This may not seem to be much effective but it’s the least you could do to be safe. Whether its your smartphone’s OS or your antivirus and any mobile application, keeping the software updated is always going to help in your security. A lot money is being spent on security now a days. Whether its Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram or Google, each of the update also brings with it some security features. Installing an Anti-malware such as Malwarebytes can be a good option. Though most antiviruses have this option but why take the risk.

10) Prevent your online stalking

Some other tools available like AdBlock and Tracker Block can help you regulate your privacy online. Available as an extension to Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari and Opera.

And a little bonus point 🙂

11) Keep calm and use Powr of You

You can protect your account number, you can avoid your account from being hacked by creating strong passwords, you may not use public wifi. You may use a proxy site but what about the trade off which occurs when you are just browsing the internet. You may not be tracked but you are still being profiled online. Remember the data brokers we mentioned in our previous posts? Why not take an active role in this new reality to make sure your choices are heard and you benefit along the way.

Here at the heart of Powr of You we work hard to keep your data safe. As an online data marketplace we not only strive for privacy and security of your personal data, we wish to empower YOU with the data YOU create. In the present scenario where even your phone’s power usage can reveal a lot about you, we give you a seat at the data table. After all it’s your data — you should have say.

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