Security Tips For The New Year

onlinesecurity2015 has brought attention to the fact that internet and computer security is more important than ever.  There are so many new threats out there that you have to stay on top of.  Thankfully there are some new technologies out there that can help you in the fight to protect your personal information.  Here are some tips on staying safe in 2016 when it comes to your electronics and the internet:

1.) Ensure that you allow updates and enable automatic updates.  Software companies are constantly patching their software in response to new threats.  Even the best of us, however, can get behind or lazy when it comes to downloading and installing the updates.  This is why we highly recommend allowing automatic updates.  Most of the time these updates are in regards to security and fixing security holes.  This is why it’s essential to update.  Hackers and cyber-thieves will often have ways to sniff out who is still using old versions of software so that they can attack.

2.) Enable an anti-spyware software program.  Sometimes spyware can sneak its way onto your computer and avoid detection from antivirus software.  Spyware is not quite the same as a virus – it’s actually a program that can sometimes be discreetly installed – with or without your knowledge.  Sometimes spyware piggybacks with other software, and other times it can install itself from a website.  There are many good programs out there that can help you to detect and remove spyware, such as Spyhunter and Malwarebytes.  We Hate Malware has a great writeup of Spyhunter, including its pros and cons.  You don’t want to leave spyware on your computer for very long as it could have the potential to sniff out your personal information.

3.) Enable a password manager.  Many people are skeptical of password managers such as Lastpass because they think that the password manager will get hacked.  While this is a distant possibility, LastPass uses a very sophisticated method of encryption that should be very effective against any sort of hacking.  While too difficult to explain here, the small risk of using a password manager such as LastPass is much less than the other method that many people use — using the same password for many sites.  Let’s face it, we can’t keep track of different passwords for all the sites we use so most people just use the same one.  However, LastPass will enable you to use a unique, difficult to crack password for all of the sites that you visit.  In other words, if a cyber criminal manages to get one of your passwords he won’t be able to log into ALL of your accounts.  It’s something to think about.

4.) Stop visiting bad internet neighborhoods.  It’s time to stop downloading files from file sharing sites and using torrent sites.  It’s time to stop the online gambling and the adult sites.  Most malware and viruses come from these bad internet neighborhoods and it can be almost impossible to stop them sometimes.  They can come directly from the website itself, and you might not have control over it at all, especially if it’s an infected pop up window.