10 Tips for Digital Safety

Continuing 2019's theme of technology, we're focusing this quarter on how to be safe online. There are a LOT of resources on this topic online (ironically) and elsewhere. As technology becomes more ubiquitous - we find ourselves on cell phones, in front of the computer or another screen all the time! Today we discuss both your health in relation to the technology as well as safety online - including personal identity protection for things like interviews as well as managing your privacy.

Doing everything "right" online can be daunting. We've distilled the noise into these top 10 suggestions - based on a review of several resources. We chose the highest impact, shortest time ideas.

1. Use secure and unique passwords - one way to do this efficiently and still remember them (!) is to create a sentence in your head and use the first letter of each word - using @ for a or ! for i, etc. This makes it easier to remember while also hard to break.

Pro-tip: Consider if you want your browser to remember this password? While it is inconvenient to type it in each time, it is likely more convenient than the damage control of a potential compromise. Also consider two-factor authentication. This is an extra step - where the website you are logging onto sends you a second code, either via e-mail or through SMS - that you enter to validate that it is truly you. This ensures that it is not someone with only some of your information trying to log into your account.

2. Password protect your devices. Make sure you use a PIN for your phone and a password for tablets, computers, laptops, and e-readers. If you can protect your smartgear (watches/fitness) with the same, do so! Voice, facial, and fingerprint recognition are publicly available and therefore you do not have to provide consent (in the U.S.) to unlock your device for search. Since you store significant amounts of personal and identifiable data on your devices - you want to limit access to devices in the same as you would for information regarding your bank accounts or anything else that is sensitive.

Pro-tip: If you are able to - use a virtual private network (VPN). Some folks use this to access data with a foreign IP address - but it's also a viable method to encrypt your connection to the web - especially for unsecured wifi, this helps to minimize the ability for a hacker to swim up to your system. VPNs can be installed on devices or on your router. For thoughts on which makes sense for you - check out these reviews. Also, be wary of any apps that are free. If it's free, the commodity i