It seems that almost anything can get its own day. For example, on February 11th, it was ‘Safer Internet Day’. To be fair, this is only a good thing considering the fact that internet security is definitely something we all need to be aware of. Almost every day there is a story about a major security breach somewhere in the world. Like Germany or the USA and in the UK. And these are just within the last month or so.

On a more personal level, it’s staggering to think that we are still living in the 1990s when it comes to online security. In 2013 it was announced that the Top 5 most commonly used passwords were as follows:

1. 123456

2. password

3. 12345678

4. qwerty

5. abc123

It’s a disturbing trend that many people and businesses still take such a casual attitude to online data. It’s like giving a person a power drill and telling them to put up a shelf when they have never used one before. Disaster is only a short distance away.

–Security tips

The most amazing thing it that it’s often quite simple to implement a stronger form of data security. Often, all it takes is a few minutes of your time.

For example…

-Set up an alternate e-mail address

It’s so easy to do and can really help protect you from the undesirables of the internet. Create an e-mail address that you use for all personal information and use only for sites that you implicitly trust.

For anything else, create an alternate address that you use for anything public: forums, competitions, comments sections. These can be picked up by spammers and when it gets too spammed, you can simply get rid without having to sacrifice your original email address.

–Encryption, Encryption, Encryption

If you really want to protect your data, then you need to make it unreadable except to yourself and the people you want to read it. By utilising an encryption program, you make your information much more difficult to crack by spammers and hackers.

If you weren’t aware, then know that there is an abundance of easy-use encryption software available for your use. They will integrate with most e-mail and software systems and the best thing is that they are almost impossible to decipher externally. Again, a process that won’t take too long and can pay off in the long run if you tend to send large amounts of data online.

-Blacklisted Sites

Many internet security problems arise because of the browser that you are using. Some browsers have additional security features, however, that will prevent you from visiting unsecured sites. If your browser has this option, make sure that it is activated.

-Password-Protected Router 

If you use a wireless router, make sure that it is password protected. When you do not have a password protecting your router, it is open for anyone in range to access. A hacker then has the ability to access any computer that is connected to the network, allowing password and credit card numbers to be stolen.

–The Xtra Factor

Two-factor authentication is a newer security feature which is becoming a valuable method of data protection. It doesn’t replace the standard passwords but rather builds on it. Two-factor involves two forms of identification.

Traditionally, this comprises of the standard passcode. What is unique is that you will also have to provide something (usually physical) in addition. This could be a bank card for example. It combines information you know with something you have.

It stands to reduce online fraud and identify theft because the combination of personal details and items mean thieves could potentially have one but not the other. The future is bright for this form of security, with plans to implement three-factor authentication eventually. This would involve the above, along with biometric data, such as a fingerprint scan.

About the authorThis post was written by Jake Messer on behalf of HANDD, providing Data Security and Managed File Transfer solutions.