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It’s unavoidable. Every day, we’re reminded of the dangers of surfing the Web, including fraud, identity theft, viruses, and so on. For the past two years, we’ve been bombarded with news of an increase in online scams related to COVID-19. More recently, Russia’s threats of cyberattacks against the West have received lots of attention. We must therefore remain vigilant and adopt sound online habits and safe practices to minimize the risks.

Here are five tips to help you browse the Web safely.

Activate multifactor authentication

Are you familiar with multifactor authentication, also known as two-factor authentication? Like when you’re asked to enter your password, but also your mother’s maiden name, your digital fingerprint, or a verification code sent by text message? Many websites, social media platforms, and apps now use this additional barrier to confirm that you are who you say you are.

Enabling multifactor authentication to access your online accounts reduces the likelihood of being hacked by 99%! So review your Internet account security settings and secure them by activating multifactor authentication. Pro tip: Choose security questions that only you know the answers to and never share this information on your social networks.

Make sure to update

Computer systems all have vulnerabilities that hackers try to exploit to scam you and access your personal information. Fortunately, IT security experts work tirelessly to close these gaps and develop patches to enhance the security of your mobile devices and computers.

A great way to protect yourself from cyber threats is to update your software, web browsers, operating systems, and mobile applications, and apply the proposed security patches. Your devices will be more efficient, your system will be faster, and your applications will work better. You’ll also be better protected against computer threats! Remember, turn on automatic updates when available.

Learn how to spot phishing messages

Phishing takes the form of seemingly legitimate messages. A friend sends you a fun video, your bank notifies you of a refund, your courier notifies you of a package delivery. Then you are asked to click on a link or open a file. That click will run malicious software or redirect you to an illegitimate website identical to the actual website, where you will be asked for your personal information, which will then be used by malicious individuals to illegally access your accounts.

This ruse is widespread: More than 90% of successful cyberattacks begin with a phishing message. So be wary of suspicious messages and think before you click. Pro tip: To verify the authenticity of a message, visit the sender’s official website by typing its URL in your web browser. 

Create strong passwords

A password is the key to accessing your personal information. Just as you have a different key for your car, home, and cabin, you should have a different password for each of your devices and accounts. Just as you never leave the key in the door lock, never use easy-to-guess passwords like “Julie123” or “Granby1965.” Choose complex passwords that will effectively block access to your accounts by malicious individuals.

A strong password is long, unique, complex, and . . . secret! Follow this link for tips on creating strong passwords. And use a password manager (some are free) to generate and save unique passwords. It will save you from having to memorize them all and protect you from hacker attacks.

Focus on prevention

Another great way to protect yourself from computer threats is to install antivirus software on your computers and mobile devices, such as Videotron Security Services, an antivirus available free of charge to Videotron’s Internet customers and Helix customers. To further secure their Wi-Fi network, Helix customers can also activate the Helix Fi Advanced Security feature, which will protect them from five different types of IT threats.

Finally, make regular backup copies of your data. If you get a glitch despite all your precautions, you can still retrieve your valuable data.