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Watching the news would lead you to believe that it is absolutely impossible to stay safe these days while browsing the internet. While there are no guarantees, it is definitely possible to design a workflow that involves best practices.

We have a variety of tactics we deploy to help keep organizations and individuals safe while allowing full flexibility to be productive. While this list isn’t a complete guide, it’s a good step in the right direction:

Know who you are dealing with

When you receive an email or text from someone you know, and it’s out of character, reach out to them! Ask them if they actually sent you the email, before opening the link. We’ve been seeing a major increase in emails from compromised address books. When the recipient gets the email, they assume it’s safe because the sender is someone they routinely receive email from.

The majority of these types of attacks are phishing attempts. They take you to a page where you are prompted to login to Google, Facebook, or a similar service. Most people don’t think twice about it and just try to login. This is how logins are stolen. We strongly recommend two steps in combating this type of attack: Two factor authentication, and checking the browser address bar to make sure you are actually on the proper website. If you are being prompted to enter your Twitter credentials, but you are on a site that ends in .ru, it’s probably not legit.

Browse safely while away from your business network

Many users will take laptops, tablets, or phones and work while sitting at a coffee shop, airport lounge, or even a colleagues’ house. The problem is, the vast majority of public networks are very easy to infiltrate by even semi-professional bad actors. We use a variety of tools to keep our clients safe.

The one tool everyone should be using is a good VPN (Virtual Private Network) tool to encrypt traffic between your device and a server, where your traffic exits onto the internet and reaches it’s destination securely. Many people ask why these are needed if websites you frequent have an SSL certificate, and the reason is simple: While most websites do offer a secure connection, not all your traffic is secure. In addition, the meta data that is easily obtainable can speak volumes about what you are doing on the internet.

Using a good VPN service can protect bad actors from knowing certain information about your browsing habits, such as websites you frequent, volume of email sent, and potentially: What information you are actually sending across the internet.

In addition, we very often see situations where our clients are on a network that blocks what they are trying to do. Instead of spending time and frustration on figuring out why you can’t start a Remote Desktop session, or why a Zoom meeting won’t connect, just sign up for a VPN service and it will work every time. In addition, you’ll be safe.

We recommend Private Internet Access as a multi-platform and highly affordable VPN solution. For just a few dollars per month, you’ll be safe from prying eyes and roadblocks to your workflow.

Keep your systems updated

Our final bit of advice, and a rather easy one to follow, is to keep your systems updated. Most software updates are actually not to introduce new features, but rather to plug security holes. The best way to make sure your systems are updated is to turn on automatic updates. Just follow these guides:

iOS (iPhones)

Android

Windows

macOS

We are here to help

While this guide is a great first step to being more secure, it’s just the basics. If you operate a business, whether it’s just you or you have a staff of several hundred, you need professionals on your side. Contact us today to schedule a meeting.