Table of contents:
- 1. Use unique passwords for different accounts
- 2. Use a password manager
- 3. Use random passwords
- 4. Turn on 2-Step Verification wherever possible
- 5. Update the software
- 6. Set a PIN on your phone
- 7. Configure Full Disk Encryption
- 8. Back up to an external hard drive
2023 Author: Malcolm Clapton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-22 06:26
From unique passwords to 2-Step Verification and enabling encryption, this is a memo for those who care about their own online security.
1. Use unique passwords for different accounts
Each site should have a unique password that you don't use anywhere else. It may seem that the advice is obvious. But there is bound to be a person who believes that it does not matter. Or that his password cannot be cracked or guessed at.
Sites can be hacked, and the entire password database can be made publicly available. Or you can mistakenly enter your password on a clone of the desired site. If this happens, your damage will be limited to the loss of one account. But if you entered the same password on other services, your other accounts will also be at risk.
If you still do not do this, then …
2. Use a password manager
Programs (free) or ($ 2.99 per month) can store and generate secure passwords, and sync them across multiple devices.
If you know all your passwords by heart, you can confidently say that they are not secure. Many people mistrust password managers: storing all passwords in one place is for them the same as putting all their eggs in one basket. Well, then this is a very secure bucket that the best security experts are working on and constantly updating.
Download a password manager, install it on your computer or smartphone and start using it. It is not necessary to change all passwords at once: when you want to log in to the site, the manager will ask if you want to save the password. This is a signal for you to generate a new one.
3. Use random passwords
Generate a secure random password each time in the program, rather than invent your own.
A brute-force attack on a password using special programs is becoming faster and faster. If you have a method for creating passwords, for example, take the first letter from a line in a poem, someone also probably already thought of this and wrote a program to automatically guess such passwords.
You already have a password manager, right? Even if not, some browsers will be able to do it for you. For example, Safari can generate random passwords when registering new accounts, and then stores them in iCloud Keychain.
4. Turn on 2-Step Verification wherever possible
Many services, including Facebook, VKontakte, Twitter, Gmail, Tumblr, Telegram and others, allow you to enable two-step authentication. When logging into your account, you must specify not only a password, but also confirm access to the second device (usually it is binding to a phone number).
A third party will not be able to take over your account, even if they managed to steal your password. Two-Step Verification is an additional layer of security that makes it much more difficult to hack your account.
Each service has its own instructions for connecting authentication. But you can use the service to connect it at once for all sites that you visit.
5. Update the software
Most programs have an automatic update feature. Be sure to connect it.
Most hacks are attacks on vulnerabilities in programs that have become known for a long time and have already been fixed. Users who have not installed the update become victims. It's as if a vaccine had been invented a long time ago, and you still got smallpox. Pay particular attention to your operating system and browser.
Turn on automatic updates in all programs.
6. Set a PIN on your phone
You can set an unlock PIN on your phone. Take this opportunity. In addition, you can enable the data erase function if the PIN code has been entered incorrectly several times in a row.
If your phone gets stolen and unlocked, there aren't many options left. But if your phone is locked, you prevent a huge amount of personal data from being lost.
On iPhone, go to Settings → Phone → SIM-PIN and check the box next to Erase Data. Each Android phone will have a different procedure, but you can usually find everything in the security settings or in the "Screen lock" menu.
7. Configure Full Disk Encryption
You can make the hard drive on your computer automatically encrypt at shutdown.
It seems that the risk of losing your phone, and with it all your personal data, is terrible. But imagine the consequences of stealing a laptop or computer.
FileVault is available on Mac; on Windows, enable BitLocker.
8. Back up to an external hard drive
Everything on your computer must be stored on a separate physical medium. Everything on your phone should be on your computer, and everything on your computer … you get the idea.
If the worst happens and you lose everything, you should be able to recover your data. This can happen due to an extortion attack or due to a banal power failure.
Cloud storages can help, but they also have their drawbacks: they are vulnerable to hacking and usually "mirror" information from your computer. This means that if something is deleted from local storage, it can also be deleted from the cloud.
Buy an inexpensive hard drive.