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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 February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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