I don’t want to become an Internet casualty. As a Lionlock ambassador, I take password and online security very seriously. Safety online is not just needed it is imperative in my line of work. As a blogger, I am in the business of sharing my life out loud on the Internet. Even as someone who has been doing this for years now and as an adult, I still have security slips. I sometimes forget that the Internet is forever and I get caught with my metaphorical pants down.
You know that saying, “A moment on the lips, and forever on the hips”? Well, the Internet is JUST.LIKE.THAT! We are so trusting of the Internet that we often forget that a moment on the Internet truly is FOREVER in the world. You can delete and undo all sorts of things but you are always just a screen grab away for being immortalized in Internet infamy. Those private sexts you sent to your ex? There is no such thing. You say Snap Chat? I say screen grab. That nasty comment you left and then deleted? Already sitting in someone’s inbox. That petty FB update about your soon to be ex? Yep, his lawyers already have a copy in their file. The cute naked photo of your toddler in the bathtub that you uploaded and promptly second-guessed and took down 5 minutes later? Some pedo is already getting his rocks off to it. There is no privacy online.
We’ve all put something on the Internet that we wish we hadn’t. It’s embarrassing and we get over it. It’s like going to a party, drinking too much and wanting to crawl under a rock and die the next day when you see the proof on Facebook. It might not ruin us, but it might. None the less, we’d prefer those moments stayed private because we are left feeling compromised and vulnerable. Unfortunately, there are no second chances on the Internet so you have to know going in that everything you put on the Internet is set in stone for eternity. No matter how badly it may differ from reality. The Internet knows you from glimpses, social media shares and sound bites. There is no emotion, connotation, context or empathy. There is only what you say, what you share and what it sees. The Internet is a cold-hearted bitch and she doesn’t get innuendo or anecdotes. So what you put out there is who she thinks you are. So be safe and think before you go online.
While LionLock automatically audits any interaction that takes place with your passwords in the vault, it is still important to use common sense when sharing any important private information.
1. Keep a Clean Machine
Keep all Internet connected devices free from infection and malware by keeping all critical software—security software, web browsers, apps and operating systems—up to date so that you can counter any new viruses lurking.
Have your security software set to monitor your computer continually, not just a weekly scan.
2. Protect Your Personal Information
Secure your accounts by making passwords long, strong and unique.
3. Own Your Online Presence
This is my favorite. I am very transparent; probably more so than I should be, but I know when I put it out there that it is out there. I consider this every single time I post anything. Set security and privacy settings to your comfort level of sharing.
4. When in Doubt, Throw it Out
If an email, social network post or text looks suspicious, even if you know the source, delete it.
5. Be Web Wise
Be wary of communications that implore you to act immediately, offer something that sounds too good to be true, or ask for personal information.
6. Be a Good Online Citizen or Don’t be a Web Douche canoe
Post only about others what you would have them post about you.
7. Beware of public Wi-Fi ( hint: There is no such thing as FREE wi-fi)
Anytime you use public Wi-Fi, keep in mind that everything you do can be visible to a 3rd party/stranger that is also connected to the network. Criminals can see everything the users do and capture any information that is sent over the network. Find a staff member at the coffee shop or hotel that can verify the name of the proper network. Also disable auto-connection features when Wi-Fi is not in use.
8. Save money matters for your trusted networks
Even if you’re not on a compromised Wi-Fi hotspot, it’s really best to wait until you’re back on a secure network you trust before shopping or banking. If it’s an emergency and you need to move funds from one account to another, use your cellular data connection rather than public Wi-Fi.
9. Use Secure Sites (Https://)
Secure SSL connections are connections that encrypt any data you send through a website, adding a layer of protection for your private information. There are a couple different ways that you can check to verify that a site is secure. The first is that you’ll notice the https:// turns into https://, with the s indicating it is a secure network. Additionally, there should be a padlock displayed in the URL bar.
10. Secure your mobile devices
In addition to installing security software on computers, it is equally important to have a mobile security app, for your mobile devices. These apps will help your mobile devices stay secure by detecting security flaws in your apps and preventing you from clicking on malicious links.
The Internet is a wonderful place to live and play but it really is what you make it. Just like your home, you wouldn’t go on vacation and leave all the doors and windows open nor would you announce to the neighborhood gossip that you have syphilis. So use your common sense and take precautions to protect yourself online just like you would in your real life.
Photo Credit: Ellen von Unwerth
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Lionlock but all opinions are my own. Don’t be an Internet Casualty!