• If 2017 was the year of big data breaches, then 2018 is likely to go down as the year of individual attacks. With so many reports about identity theft these days, you can never be too careful. That’s why it’s important to safeguard your network by following a few foolproof steps.

    Here are four surefire ways to improve your privacy and security.

    1. Always keep your devices updated

    It may be a pain, but one of the easiest ways to safeguard your privacy is to make sure your devices are running the latest software. That’s because most software updates are created to patch known vulnerabilities and prevent your data from being scrapped. Remember the WannaCry ransomware outbreak back in 2017? That vulnerability only affected devices with outdated software.

    Go ahead, check your various Windows, Apple, and Google devices now to see if updates are available. If they are, now may be a good time to install them.

    Remember to check your privacy settings after the update is complete, as sometimes new software will overwrite manual settingsthereby rolling back your system settings to their default settings.

    2. Invest in a password manager

    If you use your pet, family member or significant other as your password, you’re doing it wrong. Studies have shown that nearly one in six people use their pet’s name as their password. With all the readily available data about you floating around online (including your full name, your siblings, children, etc.) it’s extremely easy for a hacker to gain access to one of your various online accounts by simply trying a few common names as your password.

    What’s worse, most people tend to use the same password for multiple sites, which means if one account gets hacked, it could result in a domino effect.

    It can be hard to keep track of all your various passwords, which is why having a password manager is so handy. Services like LastPass manage and store all your various passwords under one MasterPass. Instead of having to keep track of dozens of detailed passwords, you only need to remember one. As an added bonus, most services can also offer their own robust password suggestions, so you won’t have to worry about conjuring your own.

    3. Stay away from public networks

    Not all networks were created equal. Public hotspots, which are usually found in coffee shops and airports, are known for having little-to-no privacy protocols. Unfortunately, when you’re travelling, public networks might be the only option.

    If you’re going to browse in private, you can easily secure your network with a VPN (virtual private network). A VPN encrypts your connection and anonymizes your activity. It basically creates an extra tunnel between your network and the internet. Most reputable VPN companies offer apps for virtually every device, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding one that fits your needs.

    Note that you can also check to see whether the site you’re accessing is secure or not be checking the URL. if you see HTTPS at the beginning of the domain, you can rest easy knowing this site is protected.

    4. Set up 2-factor authentication

    In addition to updating your software and practising safer browsing habits, you can also boost the security of your various accounts by setting up an additional login requirement. 2-factor requires an additional form of user authentication and is a safe and proven method to add an extra wall of security to your various online accounts. By creating an extra step when logging in, you’re able to keep hackers and snoops out of your private accounts.

    Most sites these days offer more privacy protocols than ever before; all you got to do is take advantage. When signing up to a new site or service, check to see if 2-factor is an option (it usually is). Make sure you also allocate a few minutes to go back through all your current various social and email media accounts to set up 2-factor today.

    What simple security methods do you use? Let us know in the comments below!

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