Is Your Information Safe Online?

Is Your Information Safe Online?

Over the past 15 years our lives have shifted so that more and more of our interactions take place online.  Social media is how we communicate and stay current, we shop, we bank and we even get out education all online.  We store valuable information on all of our devices, bank details, tax information, account numbers and passwords.  This begs the question, is your information safe online?  Is it safe to store any kind of personal information on a device that is capable of connecting to the internet.

Are your concerns are valid?

In fact most people are concerned with online security, every time we read about another breach in security and personal information once again being stolen.  In fact according to one survey more Americans worry about being hacked that any other crime. That means that 62% of people worry that some piece of personal data will be hacked while they are online.  The real question though is that fear justified or not?

Basic internet safety

There are a few measures you can take to reduce the chances of your information falling into the wrong hands and make your devices a little more secure.  The first and most obvious thing you want to do is avoid viruses, be very careful about downloading anything from an unknown source. Antivirus software is always recommended but remember it is not infallible and virus can get past it, so you need to be conscientious about where you download from.

Phishing scams are probably the second most common way information falls into the wrong hands.  Phishing scams are when you get an email from what appears to be a legitimate source informing you that your security has been compromised.  There is usually a link for you to follow to correct the “problem”, the website you arrive at looks very much like your bank or paypal and this is where you end up giving information to hackers.  Banks, the IRS don’t send these types of emails.  Always look closely at the web address, if it looks remotely suspicious close it right away and never click links from emails.

Avoid storing passwords

Browsers like Google Chrome will offer to store passwords for you, don’t allow them to.  If your device is ever stolen thieves not only have your device but they have your personal information too.  Do not share any personal information via email or messages services that data never disappears even if you delete it.  Adjust your privacy settings on all social networks and stay up to date with policy changes. 

Is Your Information Safe Online?

The only way to remain completely safe from potential hackers is to completely remove your activities from the internet, but that simply isn’t realistic in this day and age.  What you can do, is make sure that your information is the safest it can possibly be.

Connect Your House

Connect Your House and Make it a ‘Smart Home’

It’s summer time and the next heat wave is just around the corner, wouldn’t it be nice to come home to a house at the perfect temperature.  Or when you walk into a room the light comes on automatically, you never have to sit at work wondering if you locked the door you can just check using your phone.  Smart homes may seem like they would be expensive or it’s some kind of futuristic technology but that’s not the case.  It’s easier than you think to connect your house.

The technology is here now and it’s not as difficult to use or install.  Adding smart features to your existing home isn’t that hard you can probably make it a weekend project.  There are all kinds of small appliances, light bulbs and thermostats that are smart that you can use and install yourself.  Most are even more energy efficient than what you have now so not only is your home cool you’re saving money too.  Here are some fairly easy ways to convert your home with smart features.  Here are a handful of upgrades you can add to the wish list.

Light Bulbs

Change out those old energy sucking incandescent light bulb for wifi connected LEDs.  They will cost you a bit more than the average light bulb, but they will last longer and they can be connected to your PC, laptop or Smartphone.  Changing the whole house all at once might a little pricey but you can start by going one room at a time.

The Front Door

If you have ever left the house without locking the door, or spent ten minutes running around looking for your keys, you’re not alone EVERYBODY does it.  Smart locks can change all that, you can lock remotely and your house can alert you when someone comes in or out.  They are not that expensive and it’s a convenient update to make sure your home stays secure.

Fire Alarms

Fire alarms should be checked annually so instead of just replacing the battery opt for a smart alarm.  Connected directly to your cell phone in case of a fire, you can contact the fire department immediately.

The Garage Door

A smart garage door opener is one of the fastest and easiest ways to connect your home and you can do it in an afternoon.  The only tool you will really need besides an internet connection is a screwdriver and you won’t be sharing the frequency anymore with the neighbors.

The Microwave

Smart microwaves come with sensors that can monitor your food, so no more burnt popcorn.  They can even scan the meal you’re heating up and email you recipes to go along with it….how cool is that?