10 Online Security Tips From Google

Google I/O 2013

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Everyone knows having your personal information hacked is a nightmare to be avoided. But with the myriad of advice out there, which advice is the best to follow? Thankfully, after attending a security panel with Google's Director of Security for Google Apps, Eran Feigenbaum, and Head of Chrome Security, Parisa Tabriz, I came away with a better understanding of practicing safe and secure habits online...

As end users, there's often a push and pull in our online behaviors dictated by the need to balance security while retaining an ease of use. Often what makes us more secure, is also a bit of a pain to use (2-step identification by mobile device, for example). Google is constantly thinking about this see-saw between security and simplicity, whether it be sandboxing, fuzzing, contests like Hardcode, or any of the other array of things that Google does to be as secure as possible. 

So while Google works to provide the safest experience it can online, what can we users do? Here are 10 tips from Google I/O:

  1. Use a long, unique password made up of numbers, letters, spaces, and symbols for each of your important accounts like email and online banking.
  2. Don't send your password via email, and don't share it with others.
  3. Set your password recovery options and keep them up-to-date.
  4. Avoid scams - don't reply if you see a suspicious email, instant message, or webpage asking you for your personal or financial information.
  5. Report and flag content that is abusive or illegal.
  6. Frequently check your privacy and security settings, and customize how you want to share your content.
  7. Be mindful of your digital reputation - think twice before you post something embarrassing, harmful, or inappropriate.
  8. Keep your device's browser and operating system up-to-date. When you do install software, make sure you're getting the software from a trusted source.
  9. Pay close attention when asked to sign-in online. Check to see if the web address begins with https:// - which signals that your connection to the website is encrypted and more resistant to snooping or tampering.
  10. Always lock your screen when you're finished using your computer, tablet or phone, and for added security, set it to lock automatically when it goes to sleep. 
Are these 10 reminders a bit too much to remember? Eran and Parisa filtered it down to these 3 essentials when it comes to security:
  1. Turn on 2-Step authentication whenever it's available.
  2. Browsers are complex and do have security vulnerabilities so make sure to use a browser that is up-to-date, whether Chrome or not (Chrome updates automatically).
  3. Make sure your password recovery options are set and are accurate.
Want to learn more about ways to stay safe online? Google has just the site for you.

(Image: Joelle Alcaidinho)



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