Eight Security Tips to Know in 2017

Eight Security Tips to Know in 2017

It is now 2017, and I thought it would be appropriate to run down an almost cliché list of security tips to make sure you stay safe online.

1. Check (and recheck) web addresses.
With website cloning becoming easier than ever, scammers seem to have taken their game to the next level. Most people don’t really pay attention to the website address they visit as long as the site looks familiar. For example, Amaz0n.com might look similar to Amazon.com, but it is not Amazon.com. Watch out.

2. Use ad blockers.
I recommend using an ad blocker because it keeps most people out of trouble more than anything else. Malicious ads are everywhere, and ad blockers help keep them out of sight so you are not tempted to click on “You have won an iPad for FREE!”

3. Use site advisors.
There are plenty of extensions and plugins for Chrome and Firefox that will notify you of the reputation of the site you are visiting. These extensions usually display a green checkmark on websites that are safe and a red X mark if the site is harmful. A couple of popular ones I recommend are McAfee Site Advisor and Web of Trust.

4. Avoid pirating and visiting shady-looking websites.
Websites that host pirated content, torrents, and other warez are hotbeds of malware and phishing scams. In fact, many such sites are run by master deceptors, hackers, and scammers. Avoid them like the plague, even if eleven-year-old Tommy says you can download PS4 games for free.

Extra Tip: Media companies such as Time Warner and Comcast have been known to log the IP addresses of users who download pirated content and then send them a “See you in court” notice. I would guess you don’t want to go down that road.

5. Don’t save credit card information online.
With data breaches at large consumer companies occurring left, right, and center, it might be a good idea to reevaluate who you give your credit card information to. Not every shopping site that has fancy security stickers posted all over it is secure. If Yahoo, Adobe, and Apple can get hacked, danschristmascookies.com (I totally made that up :-D) doesn’t stand a chance.

6. Restrict in-app purchases in app stores for your Android and iOS devices.

If you haven’t enabled App store restrictions on your mobile devices by now, you are either rich or plain ignorant. My cousin blew through eighty dollars’ worth of in-app purchases last Christmas while playing a popular game on my sister’s iPad. Until I told her about asking Apple for a refund and showed her how to restrict purchases in the app store, that kid was grounded.

7. Outsmart phishers.

My rule of thumb to outsmart phishers (hackers trying to get your personal information) is this: If you ever get an email you are unsure of that has a link asking you to change or update your password because of “security reasons,” don’t click the link. Just go to your settings and change your password.

8. Stay in the know.
Keep yourself up to date with all the happenings in tech. In today’s day and age, ignorance is not bliss; it is foolish and expensive. A few good sources that will keep you in the loop are WorldStart, CNET, Tech Crunch, Wired, and Ars Technica.
Wishing you the best for 2017.

~ Aaron
Courtesy of Worldstart.com