If you hadn’t already guessed this, I spend a lot of time on the internet. Whether I’m at work, tweeting every thought I have, writing blog posts, searching for holidays I can’t afford or watching cat videos… I’m pretty much always on the internet.
Ironically my internet has crashed and I’m having to write this in word before publishing to WordPress, but that’s just Sod’s Law isn’t it?
Anyway, spending so much time on the internet means I must be savvy when it comes to security, right?
Well, that’s not always been the case…
When I was in my second year of University I had a horrible experience where all of my personal, social and student accounts ended up getting hacked.
At the time I was convinced that someone I knew had done it, as they knew a few of my usual passwords and we’d fallen out, but looking back now I know it could have been anything – even a virus on my computer.
I was out with my American friends who were visiting and all of a sudden my Facebook logged me out. I tried over and over to enter my password in and reset it but all of my emails, including my back ones were blocked too. When we got back to my flat I realised the extent of what had happened.
I was locked out of everything.
This included my University account, which I needed to submit an essay on later the next morning. Cue major panic mode.
After a couple of days I managed to recover my University accounts by going to the reception on campus and proving who I was, but everything else I had to start again.
Since then I have been so cautious when it comes to internet safety, especially when I started blogging. I couldn’t imagine losing it all because of a careless mistake, so I make damn sure it’s extremely difficult to hack my accounts.
Tips for keeping your accounts safe
If you want to know how you can make your accounts safer, here’s a few tips:
- Use different passwords for everything and DO NOT store them on your computer. Write them down in a notebook and keep them somewhere safe.
- Use passwords that are not easy to guess – 90% of my passwords are jumbled up letters, symbols and numbers.
- Don’t click a link that looks suspicious or one that you did not expect to receive.
- Think about the information you tweet, people have given away their passwords or address without even thinking.
- Use an accredited antivirus software and run regular checks.
- Only enter valuable information (such as passwords or you bank details) on secure sites – these will start with https, rather than just http.
- Be wary of public WiFi. Although it may be tempting to try and connect to whatever you can find, some WiFi hotspots can hack into your phone once connected.
- AVOID ALL POP UPS
There are so many more things you can do to help increase the security of your accounts, however, these are the ones I ensure I do without fail.
What happens when security is overlooked?
HP have started a short six-minute campaign that shows people what can happen when you use an unsecured printer in an office environment.
Personally, I wouldn’t have thought twice about security when using a printer until I watched the short film, so I’d recommend it to anyone that uses one on a regular basis.
You can watch the trailer here: