The online world is a dangerous place. As can be seen from the catastrophic Equifax breach in the U.S., we’re only a hack away from having all our personal information stolen. The chances or identity theft are higher than ever, and if you don’t protect yourself, you’re asking for trouble.
Equifax is just one example. Think also of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Jr., and the countless others who have had emails, photos, and online activity stolen and exposed. There is a lot that can go wrong if you leave your web presence unprotected.
As such, there is a surge in popularity of online security tools. Antiviruses have for a long time been par for the course, but here are the 3 types of security measures you need online now.
1. A reliable VPN
A virtual private network (VPN) was until recently pretty niche. Those who knew what they were doing – developers, software designers, your average geek – created or subscribed to a VPN. Now, however, everyone agrees that a VPN is the least you can do for your online security. Using the internet without one is irresponsible. Not only does a VPN hide your location, but it encrypts your data, too.
One reason you might not yet have subscribed to a VPN is because they cost money. FIrstly, the price is worth it. Secondly, if you truly cannot afford one, research the best free VPN services. The downside to even the reliable free VPNs is that they usually cap your bandwidth.
2. A password manager (with a good reputation)
Password managers are important for a number of reasons. They prevent you from using the same password for everything. They give you strong passwords without you having the impossible task of remembering them. And they stop you from typing out your passwords over and over again. This is important, as hackers can get control of your keyboard and record everything you type. Automatically filling fields is actually safer.
You may be wary of using a password manager, for fear that it could be hacked and all your passwords stolen. While there is a chance of that happening (and it’s happened before), find one with a good reputation, as well as procedures in place to protect you even in the case of a breach.
3. Vet every email
This should be a given by now, but unfortunately, many people still fall for email scams. They are not all as transparent as a Nigerian prince asking for money. Phishing scams are what you really have to look out for. Scammers are good at creating a landing page that looks just like a real company’s website. When you enter your login details, they capture them and quickly put them to use. This can be extremely harmful if they get hold of your online banking details. Your social media presence could also suffer in the wake of a successful phishing scam. And you definitely do not want anyone to get control of your Google account – with countless information that could put you at risk.