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Safe Surfing: We all hear it, but when we're browsing the internet, do we actually practice it?

We have been preaching about safe surfing for years but somehow the message doesn't seem to get through and for the most part I think it comes down to a couple of factors. The first factor would be convenience verse security. We all talk about security and we spend a lot of money on it, until it becomes inconvenient. Then the first thing we want to do is loosen the security up to make it easier. We don’t want any delays that might imped that next all important email, text message or instant message coming in at the speed of sound. Second I think it has to do with technology comfort, which is generational. Younger people are comfortable with the technology, especially the use of social media and mobility devices, that security is not something that they really think about. Millennials, from their perspective, feel someone else is looking out for them such as software companies, telecom carriers, or even in some cases Microsoft, Google and Apple.

A 2017 Tech Republic study had some interesting statistics on Safe Surfing. According their study, tech savvy people are 18% more likely to fall victim to cybercrime such as identity theft. Tech Republic also found that less than 4% or let’s call it 96% of respondents do not follow “all the basic security recommendations”. The report went on to show that more than 40% of respondents admit that they are simply too lazy, don’t care, or don’t want to be bothered with what it takes to be safe online.

Admit they're too lazy, don’t care, or don’t want to be bothered with what it takes to be safe online.

What are some of the things that you can do to protect yourself while surfing online?

Don’t share the love. With the growth of social media we have become a society that loves to share. We are proud of our kids, dogs, friends and our hobbies. However, with all that sharing comes the love and statistically buried in all that love and sharing are your passwords. All I need is time to gain access to your social media accounts and sooner or later your password could be compromised. Reduce the amount of stuff you share online, don’t share dates, names, places or other things that might reveal more than you want.

Be security minded, most public WIFI’s are not secure which leaves you open for hacking. Make sure that when working from home you use a router that is password protected and encrypted. Use a VPN connection, including a personal VPN, when working off your corporate network. These are things that you should consider doing all the time and making them habit forming so that you automatically do them to keep your personal security at a higher level.

Complex passwords are always important; however, we have become almost numb to what complex means. Then comes the problem of remembering them all. One thing that I have started telling people is stop using words, instead use a phrase you can remember. Phrases are longer, have capital letters, sometimes numbers and multiple spaces. A simple phrase such as “Who is going to win the football game tonight?”, now becomes a very difficult password to crack and is easy to remember.

By Scott M. Lewis, President / CEO Winning Technologies, Inc.

About the Author: Scott Lewis is the President and CEO of Winning Technologies Group of Companies. Scott has more than 30 years of experience in the technology industry and is a nationally recognized speaker and author on technology subjects. Scott has worked with large and small business to empower them to use technology to improve work processes, increase productivity, and reduce costs. Scott has designed thousands of systems for large, medium and small companies and Winning Technologies goal is to work with companies on the selection, implementation, management and support of technology resources.