As the year draws to a close, it’s time to take stock of what you did well in 2016 and what you want to do better in 2017. While everyone’s list is going to be different, one area that most people can improve upon is how they interact with technology. With the internet dominating just about ever corner of life these days, it can be easy to lose track of useful trends or important best practices.
So, what can you do to improve your cyber life in 2017?
Change your passwords
One of the biggest security issues facing modern Americans is the passwords they use for online accounts. A hacker who knows what he’s doing can utilize programs to guess simple passwords, giving him complete access to your entire digital life. What’s more, a study from security firm TeleSign found that just under half of all people surveyed were still relying on passwords that were created at least five years ago. The worst part of this all is that people very regularly use the same password across multiple sites.
All of this combined creates the perfect scenario for a hacker to steal your personal information. But there is a simple solution to this: Make new passwords! The end of the year is a perfect time to change the login credentials on all of your online accounts, and it can serve as a reminder for you to do so on a yearly basis.
“What goes into a solid password?”
To that end, what goes into a solid password?
Other than using unique ones for each site, you’ll want to have capital and lowercase letters, a number and some sort of symbol. While coming up with gibberish will keep hackers at bay, you might find that you won’t be able to remember what you created.
A good workaround for this is to condense a short sentence into letters and numbers. For instance, you might say “I have two daughters and one son who are in college.” The password for this could be “Ih2d&1swaic.” The first “I” is capitalized, there are two numbers and an ampersand instead of an “and,” making this a great passphrase.
Develop good security habits
Outside of passwords, it’s also a good idea to work on your overall security habits going in to the new year. While creating mindfulness surrounding security is something that just takes time and experience navigating the online world, there are some specific things you can do to better prepare yourself for the threats you may face.
To begin, take a second to check whether the sites you visit utilize HTTPS encryption. We’ve written an entire article on the importance of this tool, but it basically allows you to exchange data with a website without worrying about a hacker snatching your information while it’s in transit. A green lock in the far left of the URL bar means a site uses HTTPS encryption. Phishing scams are another topic we’ve discussed, which is where a hacker acts as though he is a reputable source and sends you an email asking you to click on a malicious link or write in personal data. The linked article can direct you as to how you can avoid falling victim to these schemes.
Finally, you’ll want to stay on top of news stories concerning data breaches of company websites that you use. If your social media platform of choice becomes the victim of a massive hack, you should assume that your information has been stolen and change all of your login credentials. Although it’s not completely perfect, Have I been pwned? allows you to quickly check if a particular email address has been compromised.
Learn some tricks for your smartphone
Smartphones are some of the most widely used technological tools on the planet, and yet some people don’t know about basic features that could make their lives easier. Let’s take a gander at some of the more important functions associated with iPhones and Android devices.
Quickly switch between open apps
- iPhone: Double press the home button, flick left or right to scroll between open applications, and tap the one you want to open.
- Android: Select Recent Apps button on the bottom right of the device, swipe up or down to move between apps and tap your selection.
Save battery/speed up charging with airplane mode
- iPhone: Swipe up from the bottom and tap on the airplane icon.
- Android: Swipe down from the top, click the airplane mode icon if it’s there. Some devices will require you to go to Settings > More… > Airplane mode/ Flight mode.
Check on your data usage
- iPhone: Select Settings > Cellular. You can view the amount of data you’ve used under Cellular Data Usage.
- Android: Go to Settings > Data Usage.
Check out what the best satellite internet can do for you
If you live in a more rural area, you may come to find that your current internet provider simply can’t give you the speed and reliability that you’re looking for. This is why so many people have decided to move to satellite internet. This service can reach places that traditional internet vendors can’t, giving you a high-quality online experience at a reasonable price.
If that sounds like something you need in the new year, you should contact an Exede representative today. We pride ourselves in having the best satellite internet service around, and we work daily to ensure our customers receive a reliable and consistent product.