The internet has forever changed modern life. It’s quite amazing how much we rely on it now — with barely a thought — for everything from business and communication to shopping and entertainment.
But this isn’t all great news. Cybersecurity remains a constant challenge, and you only have to scan the latest headlines to catch wind of yet another data breach. Billions of personal records now seem to get exposed each year — sometimes hundreds of millions in in a single incident — and this makes it more important than ever to try to stay secure.
It can be difficult. Everyone is dealing with “password overload,” for example, but new protection solutions are making it easier. So we have hope — if we try to stay ahead of the curve. As an individual, there are a few key internet tips for 2020 that will help you stay ahead of the game and improve the security of your accounts.
1. Use Strong Passwords
By now, you should know that “password” and “123456789” are unacceptable passwords. Step up your game and find a solution — often called a password manager or a vault — to remember more complex constructions. This way you won’t need to remember dozens of complicated login keys or constantly click on “forgot my password” reset links.
You also need to fully prioritize your most secure accounts. Any bank or financial account, for example, must have a unique password. And the same goes for secure email accounts, especially those with sensitive work info. But if you’re really getting worn down and get a bit lazy by duplicating your Netflix and fantasy football logins, it’s probably not the end of the world. Understand what is the most vulnerable and be sure to harden those accounts immediately before moving down the line.
2. Two-Factor Authentication
Whenever possible, you should also opt for two-factor authentication (also known as “multi-factor authentication”). Many sites are starting to force this upon you by default anyway — so it’s something you may as well start getting used to now. The concept is quite simple but that doesn’t stop it from being very secure. Here lies the genius.
Effectively, to log in to an account, you need to first receive a notification through a separate means (usually text or a smartphone app) that requires you to confirm that it is you who is actually logging in. This means that nobody can access your online banking account, for example, through a browser — even if they have you password — unless they also have your phone in hand. This adds a very strong layer of protection to your most sensitive data.
3. Securing WiFi
One final vulnerability for many homes is their WiFi network. People just set up their connection quickly on day one and then don’t ever think about it again. As long as they can binge watch some good series and browse around Facebook, everything is good to go, right?
Wrong. It is very important that you ask yourself a simple question: “Is my WiFi safe?” The answer is often scarier than you think and you need to go through the proper troubleshooting and best practices. The steps are not that difficult — but very important — and you can see a great overview of the process at this internet guide to securing WiFi. It doesn’t take much effort but it will do wonders for your peace of mind.
Cybersecurity in a Dangerous World
It’s a dangerous world out there. You don’t want to be the next cybercrime victim. Constant vigilance and always using your head will be your best line of defense. Fortunately, with so many people spending such little effort on protection, it will be easy to become among the more advanced, savvy internet users in 2020.
You just need to maintain very strong and diverse passwords, implement two-factor authentication on all your most sensitive accounts, and learn more about securing WiFi at home. Getting all this right will go a long way to keeping you safe.
That way, you will be able to enjoy all the things you love about connectivity — constant connectivity, endless entertainment, and the latest, greatest memes — while steering clear of the biggest potential downsides.