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New Year's Resolutions to help you stay secure

Man in office deep in thought
(Image credit: fizkes / Shutterstock)

We’re all hoping that 2022 is a much better year than the last few, and one way you can do that it is to make some New Year resolutions about your security when online.

These days online threats and scams are becoming more sophisticated, but the good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to help ensure you’re protected against them. Security software, such as Bitdefender Total Security has also become more powerful and comprehensive, so you can use your devices online without worrying.

However, if you want to make 2022 the year you browse the web in complete security, try these New Year resolutions that will keep you and your devices safe and secure online.

1. Watch what you click on

This is probably the most effective way you can help keep yourself protected. Sadly, there are still lots of scammers and malicious users out there, and one of their most successful tactics is to encourage unsuspecting people to click on links or download files that can contain viruses.

It’s not just about getting you to download harmful software, either. Phishing attacks are now all-too and pretending to be a legitimate organisation, such as a well-known brand like eBay or a bank. By using what appears to be authentic looking websites and emails, they can trick people into handing over passwords and other sensitive information.

So, one of the best ways to protect yourself against threats like this is to make a new year’s resolution that you’ll be careful what you click on.

This means checking before clicking on a link to a website, and only downloading files from genuine and trustworthy websites.

When it comes to emails, you should never open up an attachment from an address you don’t know, and if you get an official-looking email, make sure you check its authenticity. Clues that it may be a scam include poor or unprofessional spelling, or links to websites that aren’t official. Also remember that your bank will never email you to ask you to log in and share your password.

If you do end on clicking something that downloads to your PC, don’t open it – at least until you’ve scanned it using a tool such as Bitdefender Total Security, which offers unbeatable threat detection for even the most sophisticated malware. You’ll be able to locate and remove any dodgy downloads with ease.

Laptop installing system update.

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2. Keep updated

Another important resolution to keep is to make sure that all the devices you rely on, as well as the software, is kept up to date. Device makers and software developers often release important security updates - sometimes known as 'patches' - that address security issues, and by regularly checking to make sure you're fully updated, you can be sure that you're doing all you can to protect yourself against the latest emerging threats.

The most important thing to keep updated is your operating system. If you're using Windows, Microsoft does a good job of automatically updating its software, but it's a good idea to make sure you're updated anyway. Sometimes an important update may have been released that doesn't automatically download.

To check for updates in Windows 10 and Windows 11, open the Start menu, type in 'Windows Update' then press Return.

In the nest window, you'll be told if your system is up to date. If it isn't, and there are updates to be downloaded and installed, you'll be notified here as well, and you can quickly and easily apply the updates.

In this increasingly-connected world, there are a huge range of smart devices that may also need to be updated. To make things easier, Bitdefender Total Security can protect your devices, no matter what platforms they use, including Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. With automatic updates, and support for up to 15 devices per household, you can be secure in the knowledge that your family's devices are protected.

3. Make sure your passwords are secure

Another wise resolution to make is to make sure your passwords are as secure as possible. Far too many people use easily-guessable passwords, including 123456 and even ‘PASSWORD’! Worse, if the same password is used across numerous services, it means anyone who cracks the password will have access to a whole host of logins.

If you have the same easy to guess password for a variety of accounts, then make it your new year’s resolution to change it.

The most secure passwords are seemingly random combinations of letters (lower and upper case), numbers and symbols, and are ideally six to eight characters long. For maximum security, you should have a unique password for every account.

Having many complex passwords may seem like a lot to remember, and a sure-fire way to get locked out of an account, but password manager tools can make your life easier.

These tools can hold all of your passwords behind a single password, so you can access them if you forget. Many will also generate random secure passwords for you.

Bitdefender Total Security makes life even easier by including its own secure password manager, allowing you to add an extra layer of security to your important online accounts.