To use a computer, tablet or smartphone, it is essential to have a secure internet connection. With these safe tips from experts at AV-TEST, users can easily bypass dangers on the Internet and use online offers without having to fear for the security of their devices.
Adopt a strong password policy
This is one of the easiest things to do, and yet many overlook it: with every new website registration, you need to adopt strong password management.
To do this, here are some good practices to keep in mind:
- Use a different password for each access: this is the first thing to do to limit the possible damage in the event of a hack.
- Use a password that is long and complex enough: 8 to 12 characters containing lowercase, uppercase, numbers and special characters.
- As part of your personal navigation, change your passwords at the slightest doubt of fraudulent use.
- In a professional setting, do not wait to suspect fraud and change your passwords regularly and systematically.
- Use a word no one can guess: no one should be able to put it back together, not even your loved ones. Therefore, avoid any easily accessible information such as your date of birth or the name of your dog.
- Never communicate your password to a third party: No serious company or organization will ever ask you to communicate your password to them. If you are asked for your password after clicking in an email, consider that you are facing a hack or scam attempt.
- Use a password manager: download a tool like KeePass which will remember all your passwords and allow you to generate sufficiently long and complex random passwords.
- Choose a particularly strong password for your mailbox: the email address is often required to register on a website. At this address, you can receive the links to reset the passwords for the online accounts you are registered with. If a cybercriminal managed to hack your email, he could take control of all your online accounts (social networks, bank account, administrative sites, etc.).
Back up your data regularly
Regularly backing up your personal and professional data protects you in the event of breakdown, loss, theft, destruction of your equipment or computer hacking. And yet, the majority of Internet users only set up a regular backup routine after experiencing a first data loss … Why wait until you fall victim to it when you can set it up today?
Here are the different options available to you for backing up your digital data:
Case no.1: Back up a small amount of data
If you want to store a limited amount of data, a USB stick or even a recordable DVD should suffice.
You can also opt for an online storage service (cloud). There are free or paid solutions depending on the desired storage capacity.
Case 2: Back up a large amount of data
For performing larger backups, the external hard drive is the best option.
If you’re still running out of space and are comfortable with computing, you may also want to consider network attached storage. Create your own FTP server or buy a Network Attached Storage (NAS): you can then share files on a server hosting different hard drives.
Digital security: update it regularly
An outdated device or software is vulnerable and more susceptible to computer attacks.
Here are some tips to avoid exposing yourself to this risk:
Identify all of your devices and software used.
When offered an update, do so immediately.
Download updates only from official publisher sites.
On your devices, enable the option to automatically download and install updates if it exists.
Anticipate your downtime by scheduling your updates.
Beware of bogus updates offered to you on the Internet. Our tip: always check the URL of the site you are on.
Protect yourself against viruses and other malware
On the Internet, malicious files are many and varied.
Viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and spyware are just some of the techniques commonly used by hackers. To protect yourself from these intrusions, it is essential to have these two tools,
A well-configured firewall that will block unwanted connections from your computer
Perform analyzes (or scans) of your computer, your mobile phone, your tablet regularly to identify the presence of malicious programs. When your antivirus asks for its virus databases to be updated, do so immediately. Likewise, when it alerts you to a suspicious file and offers to delete or quarantine it, do so as soon as possible.
In addition, some best practices are in order when using external storage devices, such as USB keys or external hard drives:
Never use unknown or abandoned service or equipment.
Assign a specific use to each USB drive to reduce the effects of possible contamination.
Encrypt the contents of your storage devices to prevent hackers.
Avoid public or unknown WiFi networks
While they can be very useful, public WiFi networks are a boon to hackers. Very easy to access, these networks can be controlled by cybercriminals to intercept your personal information.
Here are some tips to avoid connecting to these networks or, if you do, use them securely:
To prevent your devices from automatically connecting to these networks, turn off wireless connections (Wifi, Bluetooth, NFC, etc.) when you are not using them.
When you can, choose a private 3G or 4G connection associated with your mobile subscription. And don’t forget to secure the tethering of your devices with a password: this will prevent anyone from having direct access to your shared data!
If you have no other choice than to use public WiFi, make sure you never carry out any sensitive transactions (payment by bank card, tax declaration, requesting confidential information, etc.) and if possible use a virtual private network (VPN).