Thoughts on Exploring internet security

A few things going on in my life and those of my clients – and no doubt others….. I’m not an expert but here’s what I’ve learned thus far

  • how to protect oneself on the internet….
  • how to remember all those passwords…..
  • how to recover from one’s digital life being compromised….
  • and for those of us in Canada, how to do business online without worrying about the USA’s legislation about data held there…

A – How to protect oneself on the internet:

  • only fill in forms with websites that you are sure you want to do business with.
  • only give information that you absolutely have to.
  • where possible, use a prepaid visa or mastercard for purchases rather than the credit card that is attached to your credit rating
  • have a primary email account that you use for your bona-fide transactions and a second email account that you use for your various info/exploring/newsletter signups
  • use an anti-virus/security software – something is better than nothing!!!!
  • use REALLY HARD passwords – combinations of capital letters, numbers and symbols
  • IF you own/run a website, please, please start using an SSL certificate on your website if you are collecting people’s contact information.  An online store MUST have an SSL certificate.  A website with and SSL shows as “https://” instead of “http://”

B- How to remember all those passwords:

  • do some research about the various options – there are desktop software options, cloud options, external usb drive options, combination options. here’s a list on wikipedia which may or may not be up-to-date.
  • use post-it notes ???? (you should see my home office wall!!!! – kidding)
  • keep a small notebook ????
  • use an excel spreadsheet that has a password and then keep it on an encrypted usb drive ???
  • sorry – i’m not so good at this one…I’ll update it when i learn some more 🙂

C – How to recover from one’s digital life being compromised:

  • This is a hard one and there’s lots written on it so you can quickly find lots of advice on the internet
  • Let your financial institutions know that your accounts may have been compromised
  • Change your passwords at all of your financial institutions
  • Change your passwords for all of your email accounts
  • Start using 2 factor authentication for any service that offers it
  • Start using a strong password manager system so you can use hard passwords that you may not be able to remember but the password manager system will help you.
  • Every social media software has its own steps – yep you have to follow thru on each separately
  • Do a search for yourself using all of the search engines – ok, yes time consuming, and yes if you are a highly visible person this would be time consuming.
  • Hardware should also be addressed – you might even want to back up your data to a secure storage and then reset to factory settings and start fresh.
  • Look into and apply good anti-virus programs – or even use 2-3 online scans from reputable companies to see if one picks up something the other doesn’t

D – How to do business online in Canada without worrying about USA’s legislation about data held there

  • Thus far, I have found one service for secure cloud data storage in Canada – Sync.com – I’m trialing it now and so far so good (trial started December 2016).  I really like that they encrypt my data so they can’t read it.  By the way, I’m not being paid to write this and they don’t know that I have.
  • Ask your service providers if their servers are in Canada. There are alot of great companies in Canada that recognize that people want their data kept in Canada. Many are starting to use this as a selling point.
  • I’ll write more on this as I go along.  This is an area of particular interest for me.

**Update – I now highly recommend Sync.com – Secure cloud storage (This is now an affiliate link because I believe in their service and am comfortable doing business with them)

I know I am not an expert on these areas, and there is lots written out there.  I’m working on increasing my knowledge in this area though because I want to make sure that I do what I can to help my clients setup their websites in ways that meet their security needs.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy New Year!