Good tech habits take a few extra seconds but they’re worth your time. It’s also a good idea to start talking to your kids about smart and sensible tech habits. After all, it’ll be a big part of their lives.
Lock Your Phone
Your phone isn’t just a phone. It’s a gateway to your bank accounts, identity, and email addresses. Oh, and your email addresses are connected to all kinds of other accounts, right?
So lock your phone. Remember, you can always put contact information on your phone lock screen.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication (On Important Accounts)
On major accounts like your email address and bank login, make sure you setup some kind of two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication is a second layer of security that makes it harder for hackers and other criminals to access your accounts. In gmail, for example, you’ll get a PIN texted to your phone after you type in your password; that’s the second factor.
Keep in mind, if you use a credit card in Canada, you’re already using two-factor authentication. Prior to chip and PIN, you could just swipe your card and get charged. In that transaction, the card is one factor authentication, which isn’t enough, since someone else could easily have your card. By adding a PIN, credit card companies put another factor into the transaction. After all, it’s not so likely that a thief could have both your card and PIN.
So make sure you enable two-factor authentication on every account with security you consider as important as a credit card.
Be Cautious With Free Wi-Fi
Pubic Wi-Fi is great. We like reading the news and checking out YouTube at the coffee shop as much as the next person. However, avoid using anything that requires you type in your password—like your bank account, your Amazon profile, your Facebook profile, that kind of thing. Why? Well, when you’re at home, you’re trusting your security to the person who set up your Wi-Fi. You. Or possibly your tech-savvy teenager. But when you’re in public, you’re trusting that security to total strangers. Be cautious when you use free Wi-Fi.
Even if you aren’t set to automatic updates (maybe you’d like to make sure you back up prior to an update?), make sure you update regularly on all your devices. Every device needs regular software patches, and these can include critical security updates. Keep in mind, besides the usual suspects like your computer, phone, and tablet, you may need to think about updating other things like your car GPS system and appliances that make use of the Internet of Things.
Be Sceptical of Emails
It’s easy to go into mental auto-pilot when clearing emails. Don’t do that though. Prior to opening attachments, check that they’re coming from real contacts. Same for your bank—before clicking or entering information, double check that it’s actually your banks email. And beware of sharing information. Remember, if you’re not sure of an email from a person or organisation, it’s pretty easy to pick up the phone can call.
The Bottom Line
There’s a lot that can go wrong online, but much of this can be prevented with good tech habits. Take a few extra seconds of precaution; they’re worth it.