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5 Simple Cyber Security Tips That Will Prevent Future Headaches

5 Simple Cyber Security Tips That Will Prevent Future Headaches

How often do you think about your online privacy? Do you enter your personal information and credit cards on every site that asks? Have you ever had a security incident? If not, you’re lucky — 38 people are victims of identity theft every hour, and as we integrate our real lives even further with our online lives more risks are beginning to crop up. Though it’s not possible to protect yourself from every threat online, there are some easy steps you can take to help prevent identity theft and other cyber security breaches. Here are five simple cyber security tips that can help you prevent a future headache.

1. Be Realistic About Online Privacy

First, you need to be realistic about what strangers can see about you online. True, in an ideal world, everything we put online would be kept private at all times unless we chose to share it publicly. Unfortunately, if you post or share online, particularly with a company, it’s safe to assume it’s public. There is a surprising lack of awareness surrounding this issue, especially among the younger generation, who grew up with advanced technology. 44% of Millennials believe that their personal information online is kept private at most times, a huge disconnect from the realities of cyber security. This leads to greater vulnerabilities to cyber threats and identity theft. Be aware of, and be careful about, what and where you post online — you never know who may see it.

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2. Create Unique Passwords

Let’s be honest: you’ve reused your passwords. You’ve used simple passwords. Most people reuse the same passwords over and over again. Most people know it’s better to create unique passwords for different sites and platforms, and yet only a tiny percentage of internet users actually follow through with this tip. This is a huge problem, because cybercrime affects 3,000 businesses each year, potentially exposing their customers’ and employees’ passwords. This can be devastating if you use the same password on every site. To prevent this, the best bet is to create a unique, difficult to hack password for each site. To make this a little easier, you might consider adding a cue word within the password that is related to the site, to help you remember. This tip isn’t always easy to implement, but it’s vitally important to your security.

3. Cover Your Webcam

Why does Mark Zuckerberg cover the webcam and microphone on his laptop? To prevent people from looking in or listening. Skilled hackers have the ability to gain remote access to these devices by using remote access trojans, which could potentially lead to them spying or gaining information that could be used for fraud or theft. While Zuckerberg is a bigger target than most people, it’s still not a bad idea to consider covering your webcam and microphone — just in case.

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4. Smart Syncing

It’s very convenient to sync your apps to different platforms, but if you choose to sync everything you can, you’re sending out a lot of information that could ultimately be accessed in a cyberattack. Worse, if your phone is used as a verification method, it could become vulnerable to hacking as well. Be cautious about syncing, and consider whether you really need to update your data at all times before proceeding.

5. Triple Check Site Authenticity

Cyber criminals are very good at making websites and emails look legitimate, even when they aren’t. Double and triple check site authenticity before you proceed—there are several signs to look for when trying to spot a possible hack, including:

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  • The domain name is spelled incorrectly (hackers often create fake websites that appear extremely similar)
  • A payment site without a padlock symbol displayed by your browser
  • A site that is full of ads that don’t match the site
  • A redirect that asks you to provide login information before entering (these sites often front as social media sites)
  • A link within an email that has a phony or suspicious signature

Go with your gut, and back off if anything looks suspicious!

Do Your Best

Implementing these steps can really help to reduce your chances of a cyberattack. It’s important to remember, however, that no system is perfect, and even if you follow these guidelines, you might still get hacked one day. You can do everything on this list to help prevent future headaches, but unfortunately, you may still run into problems. What’s important is doing your best and taking proactive steps for preventing fraud and identity theft. Don’t just resign yourself to potential threats, fight against them! It’s much easier to prevent problems than it is to fix them. Set yourself up for success by practicing safe cyber activity and taking these precautions — if you don’t, you could find yourself dealing with the consequences in the near future.

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Featured photo credit: Blue Coat Photos (CC BY-SA 2.0 License) via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 14, 2019

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

  1. Zoho Notebook
    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
  2. Evernote
    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
  3. Net Notes
    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
  4. i-Lighter
    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
  5. Clipmarks
    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
  6. UberNote
    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
  7. iLeonardo
    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
  8. Zotero
    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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