Protect yourself online

Updated: Jul 05, 2020, 09:00 IST | Jaison Lewis | Mumbai

The prevalence of the Internet in our lives has increased significantly. But this comes with certain risks and it is necessary to shield ourselves from it

Update your software
Operating systems and browsers are constantly updated to close any exploits or vulnerabilities that are found. So, it is necessary to always keep all your software up to date. If you don't want to update it while working, you can also schedule it for the night.

Secure your browser
You may want to also secure your browser by checking its security details in the settings. The balanced profile is usually good enough, but if you want to be extra safe, you may want to up the security. This will prevent the most harmful trackers from tracking your personal information. Also, make sure Adobe Flash is always blocked. If you want to be hyper safe try browsing from Tor Browser, Vivaldi or SRWare Iron instead.

Don't trust anyone
This one goes without saying, but needs to be said. Don't trust anyone. On the internet, people may not be who they seem and this is a golden rule. Besides, don't download from any site you don't know or install the software you are not sure of. Emails may also contain hazards so don't open any emails or attachments from people you don't know, or people you know mailing you from email addresses you don't recognise.

Don't store your credit card info on shopping sites
A lot of us store crucial credit card information and other details on our favourite shopping sites. This is dangerous, in case you lose your account to a hacker, that information is now in their hands. I would go as far as to say that don't keep money on shopping wallets as well, until needed. The wallets are soft targets and they can be used to buy things without much intervention.

Enable two-step verification for everything
Two-step verification while not flawless, is a great way to keep you safe from losing all your data. So, either share your phone number for SMS verification or install Google Authenticator for instant, algorithm-based verifications. It may get annoying, but at least your data is safer.

Back up
Always back up your data. You can either do it on a pen drive or an external hard drive. This is just in case your computer is infected with ransomware. There are particularly nasty ones out there and in this case, prevention is better than cure, unless you want to fork out a significant cash tip to hackers. Try to back up at least once a day and use an external device or something like Google drive to save your precious files.

Cover your webcam
Covering your webcam with a piece of dark tape is a great way to prevent hackers from using it against you. Yes, your laptop webcam has a little light to tell you it's on, but a skilled hacker can turn that notification off. There are several instances where hackers record videos of their victims and then use it to blackmail them. If you have an external webcam disconnect it when not in use.

Encryption is your friend
Encryption is a brilliant way to prevent sensitive data from being exposed in case your computer gets hacked into. Bitlocker Drive for Windows (only available in Windows Pro version) and FileVault by Apple are a great way to do this. In case you don't have Windows Pro get AxCrypt instead. You will have to enter a password every time you try to access those files, but it is worth the security that's offered.

Get a VPN
Getting a VPN or a Virtual private network is a great way to protect yourself from prying eyes. A VPN bounces your data off a distant server making it appear to online trackers like you are in another location. VPNs are great at protecting your identity online and a worthy investment.

Get a password manager
Ideally, each site you visit must have its own unique password, but remembering so many passwords can become a superhuman feat. So instead it may be a good idea to install a password manager like Last Pass or KeePass. The app does all the remembering for you and all you have to do is remember one password to your password keeper.

Use Windows defender or some firewall
If you are on Windows you might want to turn on and update Windows Defender. It is a cost-effective way to keep the most dangerous things out of your computer. Over the years Windows Defender has become very good at keeping everything safe. If you are on another operating system consider installing a firewall.

Links:

Encryption
Bitlocker Drive: https://bit.ly/smdbitlocker
FileVault: https://bit.ly/smdfilevault
Axcrypt: https://bit.ly/smdaxcrypt

VPN
Nord: https://bit.ly/smdnord
Private Internet Access: https://bit.ly/smdpiaa

Password manager
Last Pass: https://bit.ly/smdlastpass
Keepass: https://bit.ly/smdkeepass

Review: One Plus 8 Pro

OnePlus 8 Pro Glacial Green
OnePlus 8 Pro Glacial Green

The One Plus 8 Pro is expensive—there is no question about that. However, it offers a lot to its users than most other phones priced higher than it.

It's a 6.7-inch beautifully smooth screen with a 120Hz refresh rate. Everything looks great on it even at the default Full HD resolution. The screen has a maximum resolution of 1440X3168 pixels, which offers a lot more details. The in-screen fingerprint scanner has also improved significantly from previous generations, it still isn't as good as a back-panel scanner, but it's getting there.

I also like the curved edged on either side of the screen. But, the included screen guard had to be thrown out because it kept coming off at the edges.

This time, One Plus has also sprung for the dust and water certifications, IP68, which means it should survive regular trysts with dust and maybe an accidental swim or two.

The camera on this phone is also phenomenal, I managed to snap up some pretty good pictures in a variety of lighting conditions and the macro mode does a particularly good job of taking up-close pictures.

The 8 Pro is running a top-of-line 865 Qualcomm processor, the phone I tested was the 8GB 128GB version (R54,999). There is a 12GB 256GB (R59,999) available as well. Gaming is a lot of fun on this device, the 120hz and processor make a difference.

If you are in the market for a great phone at a higher budget, the One Plus 8 Pro is the way to go.

Camera image samples: https://bit.ly/2NIE0Jh

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