Stay safe on the internet

I stumbled on to this great resource yesterday that Google have put up. It’s called google.com/goodtoknow and covers off a huge raft of topics about how you can stay safe on the internet and manage your data accordingly. It’s very good, very simple and very easy to understand.

Good to Know – Google

This video, especially, is very good to watch and follow. It’s called 5 tips to staying safe on the web. Well worth it.

A few things that I’ve tried to do in the past 6 months or so to improve my web usage are:

1) Use Dropbox

Ok, so Dropbox is possibly not the safest place on the internet for my files but it’s pretty good. More importantly, it’s MUCH safer than my approach to file management, which is lazy at best. With Dropbox, all my files are saved immediately and synced to the cloud. If I lose my computer, or break something, they’re there. If I’m stuck somewhere, I can access them on my iPhone.

If you’ve ever worried about losing a file or not having something ‘backed up’ then I can’t recommend this more. If Dropbox isn’t your thing, try Box.com, which is what we use at Yammer and what I use for all my work files. They’re both really good.

2. Created stronger passwords

Right around the time the whole lulzsec thing was going on, I decided that I needed to change all my passwords. It’s actually not such a simple thing. You probably use the same password for most of your social services and different places to log in. This is not ideal. You might also use very simple passwords, which are easier to hack.

To create a strong password, I followed some advice and created a sentence that I could remember. Then I took the first letters of each word in the sentence and threw in some random numbers and punctuation. Here’s an example.

Step 1. A sentence: This is an example sentence I may use
Step 2. Take the first letters of each word: tiaesimu
Step 3. Capitalise each letter that’s between A-K: tIAEsImu
Step 4. Add a random number or two: tIAE26sImu
Step 5. Add some punctuation: #tIAE26sImu&

Done! You’d be surprised how easy it is to remember your password that looks like a crazy mix of letters and symbols. The next challenge is to change all your passwords on all the sites you access. You can also add two-step verification to many services now, which is explained in the video above.

Step 3: Don’t collect shamehat’s

We’ve all seen them. Someone that’s a friend on facebook is suddenly moving overseas or has had someone post an embarrassing message on their account. This is a shamehat. It’s one of the most obvious security flaws you’re likely to have. If you’ve got everything saved in the cloud, and have great passwords, it’s still not going to stop people who can walk past and get access to everything on your computer because you’ve walked away and left it open.

When you walk away from your computer, lock it. If you don’t know how to do this, ask someone. On Mac’s, it’s normally as simple as moving your cursor to the bottom left of the screen. On Windows, it’s normally just simply hitting the Windows Key + L. If you have an iPhone, or any smartphone, turn on the screenlock function which requires you to log in with a password every time the screen goes blank. No excuses. Don’t get shamehatted!