Ah, summer. For many of us, that means school is out, family trips are on the horizon, and wedding season is here. June is also Internet Safety Month, so as you switch gears and kick off the summer it’s also a great time to revisit your online security habits. Just like you wouldn’t head to the beach without sunscreen to protect your skin, be sure to add extra protection to your online activities this summer, too.
Here are some simple, actionable steps you can take this month to up your security game.
1. Take Your Email Security to the Next Level
It’s no surprise that your email account is the key to the rest of your online life. Because your email address is the username for most of your online accounts, it’s crucial to protect your email account like your identity depends on it – because it many ways, it does. If someone were to gain access to your account, they could start password resets to other websites to gain access to even more important accounts like your bank or PayPal.
To keep your email safe, be sure to change your password to a new one that is long (over 15 characters), strong (a mix of different characters), and unique (never reused anywhere else).
Bonus tip: If your email service offers it, be sure to turn on two-factor authentication, so that an extra code or text message is required whenever you’re logging in from a new location. That way, even a compromised password won’t allow access to your email account.
2. Lock Up Your Devices
As of 2014, only 36% of people surveyed were found to use a 4-digit PIN on their smartphone. Setting up a PIN or passcode for your phone is a quick, simple way to instantly increase your security. If you’re traveling a lot this summer, it’s also good insurance against someone immediately having access to all of your private information on your phone, like photos, email, and your social accounts. So head to the settings on your smartphone to set one up today, before you hit the road.
Bonus tip: If you’re traveling with your laptop, too, be sure to require a password for unlocking it as well.
3. Sign Up for a Password Manager, and Use It
The best passwords are the ones you won’t be able to remember – because they’ll be long, strong, and different for every website. That’s why a password manager is so crucial to online security. It remembers passwords for you in one central, safe place, and helps you generate new ones as-needed. That way, you know you’re doing password security right, but with a whole lot less work on your part.
You can sign up for a password manager like LastPass in the time it takes to buy a coffee, and immediately start boosting your online security with stronger passwords.
Bonus tip: Use the LastPass Security Challenge, available in your vault, to help you identify weak passwords that need fixing.
Online security doesn’t have to be hard. With the right tools, you can be safer online while also saving yourself time and effort. This Internet Safety Month, take a few steps to better protect your private information,