In this day and age where everything we do is largely based online, and hackers are constantly evolving and staying one step ahead of all security standards, it’s always nice to take a step back and evaluate yourself to see if you are adhering to a security standard yourself. Protecting your online life is a must in this day and age. If someone could get ahold of your email account that you use to log into your social media, all they would need to do is reset your passwords to all those accounts, and click the link in your email then reset your email password and your entire digital life is gone in just a matter of MINUTES. I’m going to go through some security features you may or may not be aware of to help keep your online presence locked down and secure.
The first step in online security is a password manager. There are many different options to choose from such as Dashlane, 1Password, RememBear, and my personal choice, LastPass. According to a survey done in 2017 by the SecureAuth Corp, 81% of people surveyed used the same password on multiple accounts online. Once one of the websites is taken, the hacker then just will try that password on everything else and boom down goes everything that has that same password. A password manager is helpful to keep all of your online content secure with separate passwords, randomly generated to at least 12-16 characters. You need to remember just one password to log into the password manager (don’t skimp out on this one! Make it secure and write it down someplace you will never forget it!!) and then all of your other passwords are there for you to use. I love Lastpass because the main features are free, including my personal favorite multi-device sync. Also with the addition of password filling from third-party apps in iOS 12, once I reach a website (such as Netflix), my keyboard will havemy secure password ready to enter for me in one click.
With the ease of how password managers can auto-fill in your data AND generate secure passwords for you, the benefits for using one and keeping your information safe and secure make this a great first step in your online security.
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Now that you have your passwords unique and secure, there is still one more step to ensure hackers still do not get lucky in somehow cracking your password or it getting leaked online in a data breach. Two-Factor Authentication. With two-factor authentication, you will enter your password, and then you will get a time-sensitive code generated and sent to you via email, text or in a 2FA app (such as Duo Mobile, LastPass Authenticator or Google Authenticator) to enter along side your password. This verifies not only your digital token (username and password) but a physical component as well (access to your phone). Below are some resources for both Apple and Android on links to get the 2FA apps (easier in my opinion and also if you ever switch phone numbers, you can backup the data and not get locked out) and the instructions on how to enable 2FA on various platforms. I hope this was an informative guide on internet security and that it helps you in securing your digital life!
Mobile Two Factor Code Apps
- Duo Mobile – iOS and Android
- Google Authenticator – iOS and Android
- LastPass Authenticator – iOS and Android
Instructions on Enabling 2FA
Social Media Services
- Facebook 2FA Instructions
- Instagram 2FA Instructions
- Snapchat 2FA Instructions
- LinkedIn 2FA Instructions
- Twitter 2FA Instructions
- Reddit 2FA Instructions
- Check with your specific institution. Many of the bigger banks already have a form of multifactor authentication enabled by default to keep your financial accounts safe and secure