Let’s get one thing straight: it’s no longer possible to deny that your life in the physical world and your digital life are one and the same. Meaning, while you are present here on the ground, you also exist online, whether you know it or like it or not. Coming to terms with this reality will help you make better decisions in many aspects of your life.
Get device savvy – Whether you’re using a laptop, desktop, Mac, tablet, or smartphone, learn about it. No excuses! No more, “My kids know more than I do,” or, “All I know how to do is push that button-thingy.” Take the time to learn enough about your devices to wear them out or outgrow them.
Get social – One of the best ways to get savvy is to get social. By using your devices to communicate with the people in your life, you inevitably learn the hardware and software. Keep in mind that “getting social” doesn’t entail exposing all your deepest, darkest secrets, or even telling the world you just ate a tuna sandwich. You should think about what you post on social networks—don’t put anything on there that you wouldn’t want anyone you see. A good rule of thumb to follow is to be aware of all the information you have available online, and consider everything you post as public, even if you are using the strongest privacy settings available.
Manage your online reputation – Whether you are socially active or not, or whether you have a website or not, there are plenty of websites that know who you are, and either mention you or are listing your information in some fashion. Google yourself and see what’s being said. Developing your online persona through social media and blogging will help you establish and maintain a strong online presence in your voice. And don’t let others use your name on a site—go ahead and secure your identity on a site, even if you don’t actively use it so someone else can’t take your identity and pose as you.
Get secure – There are more ways to scam people online than ever before. Your security intelligence is constantly being challenged, and your hardware and software are constant targets. Make sure you invest in software to protect all your devices—not just your PCs. With the power of smartphones, tablets and notebooks, it is critical to protect all these devices, not just your home computer. Software like McAfee All Access can provide a complete solution for protecting all your devices including PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets as well as providing protection for your kids online.
Digital devices are a reality for most of us and while they provide a myriad of conveniences, they could also open us up to potential risks. By taking just a few simple precautions you can keep yourself safe online.
Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Evangelist to McAfee. Watch him discussing information he found on used electronic devices YouTube. (Disclosures)