Hardening online security to protect your privacy and information really isn’t as difficult as most would have you believe.

I’ve been working online since 1999, I also do most of my shopping, banking and investing online. I’ve never had a virus, I’ve never been hacked, I’ve never been scammed online! (I was a victim of the Marshalls/TJMaxx hack, but even then I suffered no personal or business loss.)

Follow the steps below to harden your online security.

1. Use a VPN or Virtual Private Network

Whenever you are connected to the Internet, you should be connecting through a VPN.


A VPN protects you and your data from third-party trackers, cyber-criminals, hackers, the government and your ISP!

There are really only two choices for VPN provider, OverPlay & IPVanish.

OverPlay offers a SmartDNS + VPN service that works on all your devices, offers military-grade encrypted connection and anonymous browsing.

IPVanish is the only true Top Tier VPN service in the world. IPVanish provides a secure environment for everyday web use. Once you establish a VPN connection all of your online data (emails, instant messages, data transfers, online banking) pass-through their encrypted tunnel.

Best of all, both allow you to:
Browse Privately
Stop ISPs from spying and throttling your speed based on usage
Prevent getting hacked while on public Wi-Fi
Keep your online presence and information private
Access websites and media without restrictions
Stop geo-targeting in its tracks
Bypass censorship
Protect your online freedom

2. Use Antivirus/Firewall Software

Most ISPs in the United States provide their users with either McAfee or Norton Antivirus free of charge. USE IT!

3. Use Strong, Unique Password for Every Website

Get rid of the ‘Tennisnut61’ password and use one that won’t crack like ‘8&4Yiw^2pVqx#’. A password manager like LastPass makes it easy to generate, store, manage and regularly change all of your passwords. It’s also accessible from all your devices. And make your passwords a minimum of 8 characters, I usually use 12 to 16.

4. Use Multi-factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a method of access control. A user is only granted access after successfully presenting several separate pieces of evidence to an authentication mechanism. You should be using MFA with your email accounts, bank accounts, investment accounts and your website access point. If your bank and investment accounts do not offer MFA – find another!

5. Use DuckDuckGo.com to Search Online

Unlike Google, Yahoo, and Bing, DuckDuckGo.com does not track your movements around the web.

6. Add a Javascript management Extension to Browser

Most people advise to just turn javascript off in the browser. That was fine 5 years ago, but today javascript is an integral part of developing user experiences on websites. Disabling javascript will essentially lock you out of many sites. A javascript manager will allow you to just load the scripts originating from domains that you trust.

Taking the steps outlined above along with common sense ie: keeping software updated, verifying privacy preferences on mobile devices and social media. Will keep you relatively free of issues when online. However, if you don’t have the brains to realize that no African prince is emailing you, you’ll still be open to scams!

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