By Komando Staff
In the age of drive-by downloads, ransomware, data breaches, rampant identity theft and millions of other digital threats, good online security is critical. Unfortunately, with attacks coming at you from every direction, it can sometimes feel like it's impossible to keep up.
However, it is possible to reduce the number of threats to a manageable level. It just takes developing some good security habits. None of these tasks is particularly difficult, but you need to do them regularly or they won't become a true habit. So keep reading to find out what you can start doing now to make your online life safer.
1. USE THE BEST SECURITY SOFTWARE
The most important habit for good online security is to use strong security software. Good security software stops most attacks before they can even start, but great security software goes beyond that with other features that keep you safe.
For great security software, we recommend Kaspersky Total Security from Kaspersky Lab. Not only does it scan your computer and incoming files for threats, it warns you away from phishing sites, filters your spam email, blocks malicious programs from running, has a two-way firewall that keeps viruses from phoning home, helps you bank online safely and so much more.
More than 400 million people and 270,000 businesses worldwide trust Kaspersky Lab software, and for good reason. In 2015, Kaspersky Lab software took part in 94 tests of security software and took first place 60 times.
Get your copy of Kaspersky Total Security today and instantly make your computer safer. If you order now you save 50%. Even better, a single license covers up to five gadgets, whether it's Windows, Apple or Android.
Protect your gadgets today with Kaspersky Total Security and save 50%.
Of course, while great security software will protect you against most threats, there are still some things you can do to help out.
2. PAUSE BEFORE YOU CLICK
One of the biggest threats out there is phishing scams. These are deceptive emails and text messages that trick you into clicking on a link to a malicious site or downloading malicious attachments.
There are a number of phishing scam tactics, but they all rely on you clicking before you have a chance to really think things through. A phishing scam might say there's a problem with your Amazon account and you need to click fast to clear it up. Or maybe it says you can win a free iPad if you sign up immediately.
Taking a second to think is usually enough time to unravel the scam. You might notice a fishy email address or horrible spelling and grammar, or just remember our advice to never click on links in unsolicited emails.
That's why you should make a habit of waiting a second or two before clicking any link. Use that second to confirm that nothing is out of the ordinary. And if you click the link and are presented with something else to click, take another second to really look at that as well.
While this will add a few seconds to each email, it's worth it when you easily avoid the next phishing email to roll around. Learn more about spotting and avoiding phishing email.
And remember, if you have Kaspersky Total Security, it will warn you about potential phishing scams before you click for another layer of security.
3. USE THE SAFEST ACCOUNT
Pausing before clicking isn't just for phishing emails either. If you're using a standard account in Windows, it will ask for permission before installing any program. You might get in the habit of just clicking "OK" to get rid of the message, but pause and make sure you know what it's trying to install. Otherwise you might agree to install a virus or other malicious download, without realizing it.
That's with a standard account, though. Many people have the habit of using whatever account their computer has set up when they get it. Often this is an administrator account. While using an administrator account is convenient (i.e. fewer popups asking for permission to do things), it's also much less safe.
With an administrator account, malicious programs can install or change settings without your permission. In fact, studies show that switching to a standard account can cut your risk from online threats by 86%. Find out how to switch over to a Standard account and make sure you always use one in the future.
Don't forget that Kaspersky Total Security has application blocking, so it can stop malicious apps from running before they do any damage.
4. CREATE STRONG PASSWORDS AND SECURITY QUESTIONS
Securing your online accounts is just as important as securing your Windows account. The first step is to have a strong password and security question.
When you're creating an online account, you might be in the habit of rushing to get through the process so you can start using the site. That's why many people use weak passwords like "password" or "123456," or reuse passwords from other accounts.
Both of these make you unsafe. Hackers can get through an easy password in minutes. If you reuse passwords and they get your password in a data breach then they can get into all your accounts without problem. Even using variations on old passwords makes it much easier for hackers to guess them.
That's why you need to get into the habit of creating unique, complex passwords. These take more time to create, but they keep your information safe. Of course, you also need a good way to remember them.
We recommend using a password manager. This can store all your passwords behind a single master password. That way you can have dozens of complex passwords and only have to remember one. Most password managers can also help you create strong passwords.
KeePass is a good free password manager to look at. Kaspersky Total Security has a powerful built-in password manager as well. It can even share your passwords between your gadgets so they're always up to date.
When you're setting up your online accounts, you also shouldn't rush past the security questions. Most security questions ask for common information that a hacker or snoop can guess if they do a bit of research or know you. That's why you need to create answers that no one can guess. Learn how.
5. TURN ON TWO-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION
Whenever you create an account on a new website, or every few months when you visit an old website, you should get in the habit of taking a few minutes to look through the account settings. You can often find additional security features to turn on, such as two-factor authentication, that will make you safer.
Two-factor authentication means that if a hacker gets your password, they still won't be able to log in to your account without access to your phone. Learn how two-factor authentication works and how to turn it on for sites you use regularly.