5 simple tips to stay safe online from @Mikko Hypponen

Tips & Tricks

Our Chief Research Officer Mikko Hypponen spoke to Softonic‘s Wolfgang Harbauer about why it’s so hard to avoid Google, what he misses by avoiding Facebook and why your data is more valuable than money. It’s a great read.

@Mikko also offered some basic online security tips relevant for anyone who goes online. Here they are:

1. Change how you think about passwords.
“Bad passwords or recycling passwords doesn’t only invite surveillance, but all kinds of problems,” he said, responding to a question about the Heartbleed bug.

The crucial thing is to use strong, unique passwords for all of your important accounts. To make this easy, he recommends using a password manager like F-Secure KEY, which you can use on one device for Free.

2. Always have a backup.
“Accidents happen to everybody,” Mikko said. Make sure any important file, document or image exists on more than more hard drive.

3. Go undercover.
“When going online, I’d recommend using the Tor network for browsing,” he said. “And not just when you’re doing something you want to hide; do it at all times.”

4.  Use a VPN.
“Tor will hide who you are, while VPN will encrypt your data,” he said. “And I must stress: encryption works. That’s a quote from Snowden. Use encryption. Encrypt your email. If you store your data in the cloud, encrypt it first. Encryption works.”

Get six months free of our Freedome VPN for iOS and Android devices until May 16 with the code “david”.

5. Be careful what you install.
“Android users right now will not be hit by online attacks unless they install the malware themselves,” Mikko explained.

“The risk is when you take your Android phone to Google Play or third-party app stores, and you install Angry Birds or Boom Beach or whatever. And it looks like the real game or real app, but it’s not the original. There’s no way for you to tell until you get your next phone bill and you realize that the app has been making expensive phone calls while you were using it. That’s the problem on Android.”

And here’s bonus tip from our Security Advisor Sean Sullivan who borrows it from Brian Krebs’s classic “3 Basic Rules for Online Safety“:

“If you no longer need it, remove it.”


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