Don’t use lazy passphrases
Never use a password that anyone could guess or work out – a middle name, pet’s name, or favourite football team. Include capital letters, numbers, and punctuation for extra security. Ideally, the best password is one that has so many characters that it could not be guessed by a computer program in a reasonable amount of time, this is a passphrase. Automated guessing in this fashion, known as a “brute force attack”, is one of the most common methods used by individuals that steal information with malicious intent.
If your preferred password is your pet’s name: “fido”, make a memorable phrase instead: “fido_likes_internet_security”
- Make your password at least 12 characters in length.
- Never use the same password for different accounts. If it is compromised, all of your accounts are at risk.
- Read this article for further information: Password Security: Complexity vs. Length
Be careful what you post online
- Everything you write on a social network is public information, so don’t give out any personal details, such as your address, bank details, date of birth, or social security number. That would be the equivalent of shouting the details out of the window. Don’t write that you are going on holiday, as that leaves you vulnerable to burglars.
- Many employers perform a simple Google search on prospective employees before hiring, so don’t post anything that could damage your chances of getting a job.
Important Concepts For A Safer Internet Experience
- Never open email attachments or click on links from strangers
- If you do any online banking, follow all security recommendations made by the institution
- Watch out for email scams
- Spoof emails are very common, ranging from Nigerian princes asking for a short-term loan to proper-looking companies asking you for personal information; a process called phishing.
- If you get an official looking email saying there is a problem with your account, forward it to the company in question to get confirmation it’s from them.
- Most companies will never ask you to tell them your password.
- Use a firewall, anti-virus program, and anti-spyware program
- A firewall will stop unauthorized people hacking on to your computer.
- Anti-virus programs will guard your computer against viruses which could destroy your computer.
- Anti-spyware will look out for programs such as keyloggers and trojans which spy on your machine use in an attempt to learn passwords or account details.