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Posted on: August 28, 2015 at 10:33 AM
Categorized in: Security

Make Sure Internet Eavesdroppers Can’t Hack It—Part 2

MIDFLORIDA’s Network Security Engineer has some more advice for staying safe online.

In last week’s blog, we discussed the importance of verifying the identity of a public Wi-Fi connection before you use it. But, don’t stop there—there’s more you can do to protect yourself online.

Browse wisely

  • Use only secure sites. See if the URL you’re visiting begins with https (the “S” stands for “secure”). These sites use encryption to protect your information from eavesdroppers. Otherwise, all of your usernames, passwords, and other private information are transmitted in clear text.
  • Consider using your cell data. Your carrier’s data service is generally more secure than public Wi-Fi—but should still be used cautiously.

Stop data thieves in their tracks

  • Log out when you’re done. A cookie is a unique value that identifies you while you’re using a web service. If someone steals that session cookie, they could potentially use your account. Logging out of the web service when you’re done invalidates this identifier, and can help prevent theft.
  • Use unique, complex passwords. Passwords with a combination of numbers, symbols and upper and lower case letters are generally harder to hack. Likewise, using different passwords for all of your logins, and changing them regularly, will make it harder for a hacker to follow you.

Defend yourself

  • Beware of farcing. If you get a social media friend or connection request from an unknown source, do NOT accept it. Read more about farcing.
  • Phishing scams are still around. Any email that requests your personal or account information should raise suspicion. MIDFLORIDA will never request your account information outside of our usual, secured channels of communication.
  • Get software on your side. Ensure that all of your devices are protected by rigorous anti-malware and security solutions, and update them regularly. Keep all apps and operating systems up-to-date with the latest updates, which may include security measures.

The bottom line is that not all hackers can be circumvented, no matter how careful you are. If you find that your account information has been compromised, be sure to report it to MIDFLORIDA right away.

Article by Bobby Hiers, MIDFLORIDA’s Network Security Engineer. With more than 20 years of experience in Information Technology, Bobby works in our Management Information Systems department maintaining the security of the network and computer systems.