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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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Published on September 20, 2018

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

Minimizing Tabs

Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

Incognito Mode

Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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  1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
  2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
  3. Download extension New Incognito Window

This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

Save Webpages as PDF Files

Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

Open Recently-closed Tabs

Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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Solve Mathematical Problems

Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

Play Media Files

Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

Stay Focus(e)d

Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

Grammarly for Editing

Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

Loom

There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

Chrome Calendar Extension

No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

Final Thoughts

Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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