Cybersecurity is an important task you should get yourself equipped with; having a password, passcode, and/or a personal identification number (PIN) is your safe bet on how to protect your digital information. But little did you know that your cybersecurity is just one piece of the puzzle in the digital world. Cyberhygiene is also as important as cybersecurity — in other words, if cybersecurity is how you keep your home free from burglars, then cyberhygiene would be, well, keeping your home tidy. Here are six easy tips on how to keep your digital information tidied up.
Related media: Cybersecurity – Crash Course Computer Science
#1. Set Your Boundaries And Limits
First thing first, there are a lot of things you really don’t need or want to share from your devices over the Internet. Setting a boundary or limit is deciding — on your own, and in advance — whatever information you’re willing to share (and not to) with apps and online services. This way, whenever apps and sites ask your permission that might overstep what you’re willing (or not) to share, you’ll very well aware of what to do (or not to). It’s even useful to set boundaries for how much time you’re willing to spend on cybersecurity — which could be an endless task.
#2. Burst Your Filter Bubble
Second, when we talk about “bubbles,” we don’t mean it literally, but bubbles in this context has to do with your newsfeed, newsletters, pages you likes, and all that information you receive over the Internet via your device. You normally get the news primarily (or exclusively) from social networks that subject you to the whims of the algorithms that decide what to display to each user. Because of how these algorithms work, you’re more likely to see articles only from news sources you already like and tend to agree with. Free online tools like AllSides and Purple Feed are some places that show news reports and social network posts from differing perspectives of interest groups.
#3. Manage Your Passwords
Nowadays, the most dangerous threat to password security is no longer the strength of your passwords, but the fact that many people reuse the same passwords for all, or many, of their accounts. Software engineers are at it, designing notifications to tell you whether one of your reused passwords has been leaked online; but its a safer bet to use different passwords, especially most important accounts. There are a few tips that can help you manage your passwords: like using a password manager software, or you can choose to go old fashion — writing your passwords down on paper. Believe it or not, it’s much safer to write them down than reuse the same password everywhere.
#4. Turn On Multi-Factor Authentication
In addition, having an additional step further when logging in to your social network, email, and banking accounts could be much secure. “Multi-Factor Authentication Systems” are now the best known verification process. You’d often have to sign in with a six-digit verification code. Having a multi-factor authentication is much better than none; text messaging can be fairly easier to be intercepted or spied on, but a much secure route is to use a special code generator within an app. If you happen to change phones or swap your Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards often, or opt for advanced protection, you might consider yourself using a physical key that you plug into your device to authorize a login.
#5. Delete Apps You No Longer Use
Last but not least, smartphones are now good at keeping track of whatever, or wherever you are, and sharing your information such as your location with advertising and marketing companies. Having your cellphone in your pocket can give tracking companies clues on whatever and wherever you are, as well as technical details about your cellphone can offer clues to your identity. If you don’t use an app anymore, uninstall it from your device, and if you need it again, you can always reinstall it quickly — but in the meantime, it won’t be tracking you around the world and around the web.
#6. Update Apps You Still Use
Finally, software companies don’t really know what’s really bugging with their programs, and whenever they release an update, you don’t really know also whether they’re fixing a major problem or a minor one. The topmost advice tech experts have, is to constantly update your software on your devices. And also, having your apps updated is as important as the previous tip. This gives you the latest features on the apps, since certain bugs might make you prone to cyberattacks and hacks.
Image Credits: Shutterstock / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Wed, Apr 10, 2019.