Also called two-step verification is a security feature that asks you to verify your identity using at least two different forms of authentication.
This can be something you are, something you have, or something that only you know.
As of September 2019, there were 52 million internet subscriptions in Kenya. Out of the total data subscriptions, 99.3% were mobile data subscriptions.
A report by the National Kenya Computer Incident Response Team Coordination Centre revealed that 25.2 million cyber threats were detected in the period between July to September 2019. So how does one ensure their safety online?
Clear your cache, cookies and browsing history.
The browsing history is basically saved copies of all the web pages you visit.
When you browse, your browsing history is stored in a local folder in your computer called a browser cache. Browser caches make it easier for you to view web pages because it is faster to retrieve data from a device's local storage rather than over the internet.
Have you tried signing in to a website, and the browser asks you to save your password? Well, when you click the save option, the browser cookies store this information. That means you don't have to repeat the whole process, thereby making your browsing experience faster.
So why is it essential to clear your cache, cookies, and browsing history? It makes it harder for hackers to access vital information. "If I maliciously access your computer, all this information will be readily available to me," says James King' ara, an IT expert. "So, the security of your accounts will always be threatened as long as they are held in your browser."
Get a virtual private network (VPN)
Most people are excited about free Wi-Fi. Shopping malls, hospitals, bus stations, and urban eateries are some of the places one can enjoy browsing for free on an open network. Always be cautious of such networks as they can be hunting grounds for hackers.
However, when you need to use a public internet connection, a virtual private network will give you anonymity. A VPN allows you to create a secure connection to another network on the internet and hides your internet protocol (IP) address and location.
The VPN also ensures that your online interactions (browsing history) are virtually untraceable and protects your devices from potential cybercriminals who might be on the same public network as you.
Use two-factor authentication (2FA)
Also called two-step verification is a security feature that asks you to verify your identity using at least two different forms of authentication. This can be something you are, something you have, or something that only you know.
As opposed to single-factor authentication (SFA), in which the user provides only one factor -- typically, a password or passcode, in 2FA, an additional layer of security is added to the authentication process.
This means that even if someone knows your password, it will be impossible for them to access your account until they pass through the second authentication check.
Two-step authentication methods include the use of an additional email to verify an attempted login, sending login codes to a mobile number, or a set of questions that only the user could potentially know the answers.
Beware of click baits and phishing sites
According to Wikipedia, a clickbait is a form of advertisement that uses a hyperlink intending to attract attention and entice users to follow that link. Click baits are usually sensationalized, deceptive, and misleading.
A phishing site is a website that masquerades as a legitimate website. Once an unsuspecting internet user enters a phishing site, it obtains (phishes) sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details.
Phishing sites are identity thieves, and they are commonly found in emails. Sometimes it may not be easy to distinguish between a phishing site and an authentic one, but James King' ara gives a few tips.
"The first thing you look at is the URL (address of the webpage)," he says. "The sites may have similar content, but the URLs will be different." For example, if the real site's web address is example.com, a phishing site maybe exampel.com. Most phishing sites misspell the legitimate website's address.
Most trusted websites' URL starts with "https://..." but phishing sites begin with "http://..." The first one is secure; the second one is not. Notice the difference: https://example.com (s stands for secure) and http://exampel.com
If you receive an email requiring you to log in, take note of the address sending the email and verify its legitimacy. Also, be cautious of websites that have pop-up windows asking for your login information.
Use passcodes even when they are optional
This especially applies to smartphone users. Usually, most smartphones offer four-digit pins or unlock patterns as default security measures. Some advanced devices also have biometric authentication mechanisms.
While some people would prefer to unlock patterns or pin numbers, security analysts advise that passcodes are more efficient as they are "harder to break." Johnson Samande, a System Administrator at Standard Group PLC, says that it is easier to guess four-digit pins than passcodes, which are generally longer.
Furthermore, you can still use passcodes to authenticate biometric methods like Touch ID.
Use unique passwords for every login
Do you have a common password (s) for all your accounts? Well, you might have to consider changing that. This is because hackers usually steal information by trying different combinations of usernames and passwords.
Having one password for all your online accounts means that if a hacker knows the password to one account, they are highly likely to access all your accounts. It is, therefore, safer to have unique passwords for all your online accounts.
Additional tip: Change your passwords regularly (at least once every month) and always remember to log out of your accounts, especially when you visit a cyber café.
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