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How to Secure Yourself Online

How to Secure Yourself Online

Cyber crime is now one of the top four economic crimes, costing about $114 billion annually. Every day, one million computers are successfully hacked for personal or confidential information. For this reason, many businesses and individuals have taken steps to protect their computers from getting hacked. But with the major shift toward reliance on mobile devices, attacks on portable devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops are increasing. With the power to hold more information and the ability to link data between all of these devices, they are becoming all the more enticing to hackers.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to secure your information on these devices to defend against being robbed in cyberspace. Many of the same measures can be applied to each, which makes it easier to form good habits in becoming more secure. Take this digital security quiz to grade your current online security level so you can decide where to start, then you can check out the tips below for ultimate digital security.

Use Solid Passwords

Despite the widely known advice to employ strong passwords, keeping track of complicated codes is often viewed as a hassle and ignored. An analysis from a phishing scheme that leaked the accounts and passwords of 10,000 Hotmail users showed that 42% used passwords consisting only of letters, 19% used only numbers and 22% used the minimum character count of six, making them very weak. Patterns of common passwords were found, which makes it extremely easy for hackers to infiltrate many accounts.

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The reward of being protected is worth the extra effort involved in using different passwords for different accounts and devices. Come up with passwords that consist of combinations of letters, numbers and special characters adding up to at least eight characters. To help you remember, you can use combinations of acronyms and dates that hold meaning to you. If you find yourself running out of ideas for good character combinations, programs like RoboForm can help you generate and store them.

Implement Two-Step Verification

To further strengthen the sign-in process to your accounts, add another layer of security with two-step verification. This requires you to both know something (a password) and have something (a physical object) in order to access your information. For example, a debit card holder needs to possess the physical card, as well as know the PIN number to use it. In the same way, an online entity might ask for a password, and once it is verified, will send a second unique code to your phone. If your password is discovered, hackers aren’t able to access your data with just that knowledge.

Beware of Public Wireless Networks

The most secure way to use a wireless network is to use your own personal, encrypted system. However, it’s likely that you’ll need to do work or access accounts while outside your home at some point or another. Some public Wi-Fi networks, such as in hotels, coffee shops and airports, are secure, but you can’t count on it. If a network requires a code in order to gain internet access, it’s probably secure, but a lot of public places have open access. If you do decide to use public networks and aren’t sure whether they’re encrypted, keep these tips in mind to remain secure while using them.

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Look for “https”
If you’re inputting any kind of personal information or password to log in to a website, only use sites with URLs that begin with “https” (as opposed to “http”). This means that the secure website encrypts – or scrambles up – the combination of characters you send off, so that potential hackers can’t read what you’re actually inputting.

Change up your usernames and passwords
Don’t use the same sign-in information for several sites, especially if you’re accessing them on a public network. This way, if you are hacked, the attacker can’t easily get into all your accounts.

Tip: Always log out of each of your accounts to minimize potential hacking time.

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Avoid online banking
To be safe, you should save your banking and bill paying for your private home or network: other users on a public network can snatch your financial information.

Watch Your Apps

The number of free apps abounds, but be careful when deciding to download. Not all developer guidelines are strict, so apps can be unreliable and unsecure, transmitting your data to third parties. Make sure that you are familiar with the app developer before you download, and look through other users’ comments and reviews.

Lookout is a convenient mobile app that can protect your phone from malicious apps and fraudulent links, as well as carry out routine backups in case of data loss.

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Install Antivirus Software

It’s become common practice to install antivirus software on computers, but not many mobile users equip their devices with it, though much of the same information is carried on them. Hackers commonly install viruses on devices in order to gain private information from them. Here are some great mobile security apps to install on your phone.

It’s important to keep all of your software updated, as old versions can lose their effectiveness and keep you from getting all the available benefits and features from upgrades.

Not Enough?

If you’ve taken these security precautions and your device gets physically stolen, it’s a good idea to employ a remote swipe, in which you erase all of your sensitive data, including contacts, email, music, photos, etc., from wherever you are.

The key to remaining secure in cyberspace is to be diligent and consistent in your safety measures, which is easy to do with all the available software and apps to aid you. It’s as simple as taking the first steps, managing your information and staying updated.

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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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