I ran across this excellent video by the wonderful folks at Google. Here are their five tips for keeping your files and computers safe and secure on the web.
1. Choose strong, unique passwords and don’t use the same password for everything. I’ve been totally guilty of this one because I found it so hard to remember all the different passwords for all of my different email accounts, forums, blog logins,etc, not to mention passwords and user names I need to remember for my clients. Be sure to use a mixture of case sensitive letters, numbers and characters. The use of characters like @, #, $, and & make it much more difficult for hackers and the software programs they use, to guess your passwords.
Additionally, change up your passwords at least twice a year. I know this is a hard one. It’s hard enough to remember all the username’s and passwords, but then to change them up? I understand this problem all to well, so I came up with two ways to remember and track all my user names and passwords. Have a look at my blog post Keeping Passwords Safe for my best two tips to keep track of your passwords.
2. Use two-step verification whenever possible. With your gmail account you can enable two-step verification, which means that every time you log in to your email account, you’ll enter your user name and password, and a code will be sent to your phone that you also enter. This will really stop hackers in their tracks.
3. Keep software, operating systems and browsers up to date as soon as a new version is available. Updates often have security updates included.
4. Be cautiously suspicious about links sent to you by friends and coworkers, or even services you’ve signed up with and, obviously, do not click on links sent to you from someone you don’t know, or from a company you don’t deal with. And, if your spidy sense is tingling about a link, don’t click it. Retype the link into a browser window and see if it’s the real deal. Keep in mind that Google or companies like you’re bank will NEVER email you asking for your user name and password.
5. Regularly Check computer for virues. My suggestion is to BUY a reputable product and use it. I know you can find free anti-virus software on the web, but I’m always suspicious of those types of things. It kind of seems like the perfect diabolical plan of a hacker to offer me free anti-virus software and then build himself his own little “back door” into my system. But, then, maybe I’m just cynical ☺.
For even more tips on how to stay safe on the web, visit www.Google.com/help/security.