The internet has opened up a new world for shopping and learning online. Think of how easy it is to log on – even during the work day – and find that perfect gift or research an item you are dying to purchase!

Unfortunately, browsing the internet can also be a dangerous place, even for the most mindful users. Enter a website that is not secure, and you could open up malicious software that will steal your data or scramble it, demanding a ransom for its return. You could also click a fraudulent link that leads you to a bogus form, and find yourself giving away personal data to cyber thieves. Avoid these scenarios and other potential cyber threats by following these 5 smart online habits.

# 1 Think Twice Before Clicking

Before you open an attachment, click on a link, or download software/apps, think twice. Sometimes all it takes is a few extra seconds to realize that the site is not secure or is a trick. Look for signs of an encrypted website, including sites beginning with https as well as a padlock icon in your browser status bar. Hover over links in emails and on social networks, and look at your browser’s status bar to see where they actually go.

# 2 Don’t Provide Personal Info

Never give out your personal information on forms or sites that you don’t trust. That means no phone number, mother’s maiden name, or social security number. Always confirm that the site is what it claims to be, even if you have to call the company/service.

# 3 Secure Your Passwords

Don’t make the mistake of using the same password for all of your accounts. Vary your username and password from site to site. That way, if a hacker gets their hands on your password for one site, they don’t have free reign over the entirety of your online presence. If you have too many passwords, try a password manager such as LastPass or 1Password to keep things organized and secure

# 4 Download the Updates

Stop ignoring those notices that tell you it is time to update your software. There is a reason manufacturers want you to do this. The latest security measures and patches fix problems, and can help keep your devices secure while you surf the internet.

# 5 Back Up your Computer

In the chance that you download a virus, ransomware, or other malicious content, always have a recent backup. This allows you the ability to recover quickly after clicking the wrong link or trusting an unsecured site.

Online browsing is an amazing tool that can help at home and at work. Just be careful how you use it so you do not fall prey to cybercriminals. Need help getting your company secure? Call  Spectra Networks at 978.219.9752 or visit our website.