Your user names, e-mail addresses and passwords are crucial for your internet security, so keep that in mind when you’re setting up an account on whatever site, forum or social media site you choose. The dangers out there in the online world are many: someone could try to trick you into revealing your personal data or downright steal it and use it to get into your bank account. And how about those pesky spam messages that clog up your inbox and waste your time?
Here are a few internet security tips we’d like to share with you that will help you protect your online accounts from internet security threats such as hacking, phishing and identity theft:
1. Use multiple addresses and make each one of them unique
Use both numbers and letters when you create your e-mail address. This way you’ll save your address from spammers who use "dictionary attacks" to e-mail thousands of possible name combinations at large Internet Service Providers or e-mail services (ex: Hotmail, Yahoo), hoping to find valid addresses.
You should also have more than one e-mail address and use your second or “sacrifice” address to register to unknown websites, forums, and blogs or just to make online purchases.
2. Create a user name that’s different from your e-mail address
Create a unique user name that is not associated with your e-mail address when you join websites like social networks or public forums. User names are accessible to anyone, so don't make it easy for internet crooks to guess your e-mail address.
3. Mask your e-mail address when posting it online
If you need or want to share your address on a public website, you can mask it: just add a phrase or a character that people will know right away is not a part of your e-mail address. For example, if your address is “email@example.com”, you could mask it as “firstname.lastname@example.org”. This way spammers won’t pick up your address with their special software.
4. Use strong passwords on all your accounts
A strong password will never be guessed by someone else and that’s vital for your internet security, especially when you bank or shop online. Here are some hints:
- Include letters, numbers and keyboard symbols (some of the symbols may be difficult to enter on foreign keyboards, so choose wisely)
- Use at least 7 characters
- Don’t use your username, your real name or your company’s name
What makes a weak password? Any of the following, so think twice before resorting to them:
- No password at all
- A common dictionary word
- Some piece of information about yourself that’s easy to guess from your online profile (your favorite sports team, your birthday, your spouse’s name)
- The word “password”
- One that you haven’t changed in the last few months
5. Look after your passwords:
- Never share your passwords with anyone. You never know how and where an internet security breach may appear from.
- Don’t enter your password when others can see what you type in.
- Have a unique password for banking sites, but don’t use the same one for different services.
- Change your passwords every couple of months.
- Don’t recycle your password for different accounts (for example password1, password2).
- Don’t write passwords down, use memory tricks to remember them.
- Never send your password by e-mail, as no serious company will ask you to do this.
- Change your password immediately if you suspect someone else has figured it out.