Let’s celebrate Safer Internet Day by… staying safe on the Internet! Here’s how you can protect yourself and your data in today’s digital times.
1. Keep your device up to date. Don’t delay updates, install them as soon as possible. Your device is only secured once an update is installed and, if required, the device is restarted. The same for software that you have installed on your device: check regularly if you still need it and if not, remove it; also, it is important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t use software which is no longer updated.
2. Before you buy a device check for how long you will still receive updates. Older devices might not get any new security updates or a low budget provider might not even provide updates at all.
Your device doesn’t support the new version of Windows or Android or iOS? You can still use your old PC by installing Linux which requires less resources than Windows. For example, use Linux Mint on your old laptop and consider exchanging your old hard drive to a SSD.
As for mobile devices, you can install the LineageOS Android Distribution operating system (https://lineageos.org/) on older Android devices to still receive updates.
3. Use strong passwords. Many online users still use easy to guess passwords like “123456“,or „password“ and this could seriously put their data at risk. For references and a laugh, see the following link: (https://www.pcmag.com/news/2020s-most-common-passwords-are-laughably-insecure)
Use a password manager like KeePass (https://keepass.info) for Windows or KeePass for Linux (https://www.keepassx.org/) so you can create a strong, unguessable password with a single click. Also, remember not to use a password twice.
4. Use two-factor authentication. You can enable on most services two-factor authentication. For example, with the help of a yubikey (a hardware authentication device manufactured by Yubico to protect access to computers, networks, and online services) or by using any software based tool like OTP for Android or SAASPASS for Iphone.
5. Check if one of the websites you are using got hacked and your data got leaked online on https://haveibeenpwned.com/
6. Backups. Imagine now, in this moment, that your hard drive breaks. Do you have a backup? Windows, Linux and also Mac have build in backup software to backup your device. You can also use a FlokiNET VPS or dedicated server to install Nextcloud and backup your data in your own secure cloud.
7. Safe browsing. You can use UBlock Origin to block ads in Firefox (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/ublock-origin/) and Chrome based browser (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ublock-origin/cjpalhdlnbpafiamejdnhcphjbkeiagm?hl=en).
You like Chrome but don’t want to use Google Chrome for privacy reasons? Then move to Brave (https://brave.com) with built in Adblocker (downside: not as strong as Ublock Origin) and Tor browser. For real privacy we suggest to use the Tor browser (https://www.torproject.org/download/).
You can also block ads in your whole network by using Pi-Hole, a Linux advertisement and Internet tracker blocking application (https://pi-hole.net/).
8. Hide your identity and IP. Anonymity can protect you and your family from online threats. The Tor browser is a good way to stay anonymous (https://www.torproject.org/download/) or using a VPN like https://vpn.ac which can be easily installed on your router to tunnel all traffic through a VPN. This includes the option to filter ads and malware by DNS blocking (https://vpn.ac/announcements/60/Introducing-new-feature-DNS-filtering.html).
Stay safe on the Internet!