Netsafety Week NZ: Best Internet Safety Practices in 2021
With the Netsafety week well underway in New Zealand, now’s a good time as any to re-evaluate your internet browsing habits. In this article, we’ll be discussing the best internet safety practices in 2021 so that you can browse more confidently on the web. Hopefully, the tips we discussed in this article will be helpful in keeping you safer on the internet.
Use a Password Manager
Using strong and hard-to-crack passwords for each online account is important, (and no I don’t mean your dog’s name with the numbers swapped around for each website!).
But it can be hard to keep track of, and nine times out of ten you end up forgetting them and reverting back to your go-to password.
That’s where a password manager comes in handy. It’s the easiest way to keep this under control, as it’s like an online vault that stores and manages all your passwords for all your different online accounts, you only have to remember one password, and it’s the master password for the manager; the manager handles the rest!
My favourite Password manager is Bitwarden, but there are many out there and it’s always best to find one that suits your needs.
As mentioned, a password manager is like an online vault for all your passwords and only you have the key, they:
- Let you store and protect all your passwords. The password manager encrypts your passwords so no-one else can access them
- Allow you to create random, unique strings of characters that you can use as passwords for your online accounts
- Let you store digital records, like your security question answers or two-factor authentication backup codes.
In saying this, password managers aren’t foolproof, they just make it a lot harder for someone to get access to your personal information. Even if the bad guy gets access to your manager, they won’t be able to access your information without your master password.
The manager encrypts your data so only you can access it. If you wanted to go that extra mile you could enable Two Factor Authentication (2FA) to add an extra layer of security to your password manager, this would mean any would-be hacker would not only need your password but your one-time code as well. We’ll talk further about 2FA below.
Find out more about Bitwarden here.
Learn more about internet and crypto safety: Read our guide on crypto security tips.
Turn on Two Factor Authentication (2FA)
Turning on 2FA is like adding an extra layer of security to your logins and accounts. Making it just that little bit more annoying for anyone trying to break into your accounts.
You can turn it on for most of your online accounts and devices. You’ll usually find the option to turn it on in your privacy settings.
2FA makes it so that you have to provide not only your password, but also something else that only you could provide, like a time-based code from an app like google authenticator, or another piece of information only you could provide to meet the 2FA’s requirements.
2FA can also be referred to as “Two-Step Authentication, or Multi-Step Authentication” so keep an eye out for that. You’ve most likely had a run-in with 2FA thanks to cryptocurrency as a lot of crypto exchanges and wallets implement this feature, but you can also add it to your social media accounts, email accounts, online banking accounts, and even online shopping accounts.
It’s a basic step, but an important one for keeping you safe online.
Learn more about 2FA here.
Update your devices
Ok, this one sounds pretty obvious but you’d be surprised at how many people just outright avoid updating their devices, sometimes there is a good reason (maybe they like the current version of something… looking at you Spotify..) but more often than not, it’s out of laziness.
It’s good to get in the habit of updating your devices as not only will it bring you new features to enjoy, but they usually fix bugs and vulnerabilities hackers could exploit to gain access to your device and information.
Remember if you see an update come through for one of your devices, don’t keep putting it off, the more you delay the more it nags and the worse it may get.
More nagging on why it’s important to update your devices here.
Check your privacy settings
If you’re like most people you probably over-share on the internet, your social media platform is probably open, anyone can view your profile and add you as a friend.
In this day and age where your identity can be uplifted and used in all manners of nefarious activities, it’s probably best to reconsider your privacy settings for all of your online accounts, paying special attention to any social media.
It’s best to start with social media as this is the one where most people have really let go in terms of their personal privacy. We share so much information about ourselves these days openly and freely.
While you may think you have “nothing to hide” it’s more about the fact that you don’t know who’s taking notes and keeping tabs on you, your dog, or your crazy aunty.
If your privacy settings aren’t in check once you post something online you essentially lose all control of where the information goes and who can use it.
We’ve all heard of instances where people have lost jobs over posts they’ve made on social media, been ousted from social circles for opinions and the like, so it’s always best to limit your online presence to what is absolutely necessary.
The next consideration that should be made regarding the data you plaster online about yourself is this: your digital imprint of yourself is highly valuable to online marketers and scammers that can use your data to their advantage, often to extort money out of the unsuspecting.
It’s extremely common, you’ve heard the stories, someone meets someone online through social media (a scammer) they start an online relationship and end up getting run through the wringer and losing thousands of dollars.
You can usually access all of your privacy settings through your platforms settings menu, it’s sometimes stored under “security” as well. Take a look through those settings and make sure you’re only sharing what the wider public should be seeing.
Once this is complete you can move onto the rest of your accounts with other places such as shopping websites, email accounts, and the like and make sure they’re all in check, remember the goal here is to minimize the amount of information an attacker can gain to use against you.
Further guides on checking your privacy here.
The Internet is an exciting and innovative space, but with this comes the potential for bad actors to waltz right in and start taking your stuff. Keep your wits about you online and make sure you have all your privacy settings and personal information locked down.
Don’t use the same password for every website and don’t make it something stupid like “Password123”. Remember, as insignificant as you may think your data and information is online, someone out there can monetize that information or use it to extort money out of you given the opportunity.
Our team at Easy Crypto takes security matters very seriously, and we want to pass down these tips so that our readers can benefit from the same level of safety as well.
Take net safety week and really run through your entire online presence to make sure you have everything in check.
With that said, don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly newsletter below to learn more safety tips, and get the latest news, and developments about the crypto space delivered to your inbox!