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5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Digital Security

Surf the web safely by following these simple tips

Newsweek AMPLIFY 5 Ways for Digital Security

Do you feel safe online? It's not surprising if you don't as a lot of Internet users' online activities are constantly observed, tracked, and recorded for business (or more nefarious) reasons.

While newbies may find the vast array of specialty software and tools quite daunting, getting started on cybersecurity is easier than it sounds. Begin with these five steps towards improving online security and privacy.

Update Software Regularly

The first step to cyber security is keeping the operating system and other software programs in your personal or business computer up to date. Software developers constantly release updates to fix bugs, make the software more compatible with other programs, and even add new features. However, the best reason to get updates regularly is to keep your computer systems secure.

Hackers are continuously working to spot vulnerabilities in software programs, which would allow them to sneak into computers and potentially steal sensitive data. On their end, software developers are also working to get to these vulnerabilities before cybercriminals. Upon finding one, a company will typically release a software update to keep their users protected from cyberattacks.

When you skip updates, you leave your machine defenseless against hackers. Most major operating systems and web browsers offer automatic updates that users can activate to never miss a new patch. However, it's always best to check (and double-check) for system updates periodically.

Secure Your Passwords

Passwords are an important security feature guarding your digital security, but it's one that a lot of people tend to neglect. With so many different applications and websites to keep track of, many pick a single password and use it everywhere. The downside of this is if this password winds up in a data breach or cyberattack on one account, all of your other accounts are compromised as well. Avoid this by getting a password manager, which generates a unique password for each of your accounts that you can access with a master password.

Multi-factor authentication is also a must, instead of relying solely on a password to keep your data secure. Most major websites like banks and social networks offer a second layer of identification, most commonly by sending a code to your registered mobile number. It's also a good idea to keep passwords at least 12 to 15 characters long, making it tougher for hackers to crack.

Newsweek AMPLIFY 5 Ways for Digital Security

Install a VPN Service

A virtual private network (VPN) service allows you to browse the web with greater privacy and anonymity. Using a VPN, you can create a secure connection between your computer and another VPN server in a different location. When you connect through a VPN, your online activity and data get encrypted on the VPN server, essentially allowing you to browse the Internet under the anonymity of that particular server.

It not only makes browsing more secure and private for you, but it also reduces the risk of your IP address getting tracked. If you are using a VPN provider from another country, it will even make it seem as if you are browsing from that country, letting you access websites and media that aren't regularly available in your country.

A VPN free download may be convenient in the beginning, but most limit users to a data allowance. Support and server range can also be lacking. If you're a heavy user, invest in a trusted provider like NordVPN, which is among the best in the industry.

Make Sure You Have an Antivirus Software

No matter how long you've been using a platform, remember that viruses are always possible. It can wreak havoc on your digital life, causing anything from annoying pop-ups to performance glitches to stealing personal and sensitive information for cybercriminals.

Viruses can get to the computer in sneaky ways, such as clicking seemingly innocuous links or downloading a corrupted file. Without an antivirus software in place, these malicious programs are invisible, moving through your system virtually undetected. Getting an antivirus software installed on your computer is worth the investment as it offers protection from viruses, spyware, malware, Trojans, phishing, and other forms of cybercrime online.

Use a Hardware Security Key

Some people are more comfortable relying on a physical tool for their cybersecurity needs, such as using a hardware security key.

Many websites beef up password entry with the additional security of a two-factor authentication system, which typically sends a code via SMS or email for further user identification. The problem with this method is if an attacker gets a hold of your SIM card or mobile phone, they may be able to get this code and gain access to your other accounts. A good alternative is a security key, which uses a physical USB "key" plugged into your computer for identity verification.

Start making your online activities untraceable. Sign up for a plan with NordVPN and enjoy the service on six different devices.

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