In 2022, the time spent online per person was 399.5 minutes daily. That's over six hours daily. It's almost an 8-hour workday. Considering just how much time you spend on a screen, it's imperative to incorporate mindfulness into your online practice. It's effortless to sit down after a day of work and do mindless scrolling on our devices, not paying attention to anything else, and not being mindful of what we are looking at or clicking on. Social media platforms are a prime target for Cyber attackers. The innocent quizzes that people do online are not always that innocent, and they are a gateway for bad actors to access your information.
What does mindfulness look like in the Digital World?
Mindfulness is being aware at all times. When you receive an email telling you your password has expired and to click the link to reset it, DO NOT click it. Instead, use mindfulness to go directly to the website and log in to update your password.
Passwords and Password Security:
I advocate using a password manager and multifactor authentication if you have seen my social media posts or blogs about passwords. Now, you can go a step further and implement passkeys instead of passwords. Use an authenticator app if Passkeys are unavailable for an app or website. There are many to choose from, but Google is a popular one. Passkeys and biometrics such as Face ID or Touch ID are more secure than passwords. We will see more and more. Companies will enforce passkeys over passwords in the coming year.
I will say something you will not want to hear: STOP recycling your passwords. So far this year, over 223.9 million people have been affected by data breaches. I know this is a pain point of having many passwords for different websites, but I strongly urge you to have different passwords for every site and social network you are on.
Have multiple Email accounts.
We all like getting a discount when we shop, and the minute you click on an ad for clothing or household items, you get a pop-up to sign up to receive an additional 20% off. I have a dedicated email account for just this purpose.
I also have an email account for all of my subscriptions. This way, I can easily find out when something is due. I also have an Excel spreadsheet with this information on how much each subscription costs and if I want to keep it.
I have an email account for bills such as electricity, credit cards, etc. This method allows me to stay better organized, and figuring out if an email seems suspicious is easier.
Virtual Credit Cards
One of my favorite features about my credit card is being able to create a virtual card for online shopping. One of the most stressful and frustrating things to deal with is having your card become the victim of cyber theft.
I like virtual cards because you can turn them off and create new ones whenever you want, and they don't comprise your physical card.
I have all of my financial apps set up with multifactor authentication and passkeys using facial ID for an extra layer of protection.
Public Wi-Fi if you dare:
This past year, I have started to do more traveling; some traveling has entailed me working from hotel rooms. Hotels, coffee shops, and fast-food joints have made it easy to work from anywhere with Free Public Wi-Fi. I do not connect to free public Wi-Fi because anyone can connect to it, which opens you up to being hacked. If you use public Wi-Fi, please set up a VPN on all your devices and turn off your Bluetooth.
My Partner and I both work remotely, so we recently took a two-and-a-half-week trip across the country and ran into some truck troubles. We were stuck working out of our hotel room for three days. I had been researching hotspots before this trip, and after doing some research, I decided to test out the homefi router specifically for this trip, and it worked perfectly for both of us in the hotel room. My partner also used it while driving to and from our trip. It worked flawlessly, and I used it when I had no cell phone reception to send my Partner text messages while she shopped in Derwood, SD, and I hung out with our pups.
The hotspot is password protected, just like your home Wi-Fi would be.
How do I protect my computer?
I will repeat: USE a password manager and DO NOT save your passwords in your web browser. A password manager requires a master password to access your passwords, making it much harder for a bad actor to get in. Go further and set up your multifactor authentication for your password manager.
As I mentioned above, start setting up Passkeys whenever possible.
I suggest setting up encryption on your computer's hard drive. BitLocker is popular and built into Windows computers running a Pro version of the OS.
Purchase a good Virus Protection plan. Look for something that offers real-time scanning and has malware detection.
Keep your web browsing private. Use something like Duck Duck Go.
My cell phone automatically uses the private browsing mode.
Keep your devices updated with security patches and ensure your apps are up to date. Be mindful when downloading and installing apps. Make sure you are downloading the correct app.
You will always be your first line of defense regarding staying safe and protected in today's digital world.