New Year’s resolutions for a secure 2023

Six simple steps for personal digital security in 2023.

Amid the many dramatic events of 2022, you could be forgiven for not noticing that numerous unwanted records were set during the year in terms of the number of information leaks, serious computer security incidents, and other problems of the digital world. We here at Kaspersky all really hope that 2023 will be calmer, better — and want to do our bit to make that happen. You can too! Just adopt the following six simple resolutions to dramatically increase your personal security online and make the web a less scary place.

1. Kiss passwords goodbye

Last year did bring one major improvement in network security: the giants Apple, Google, and Microsoft simultaneously introduced passwordless sign-ins. Instead of a password, your device stores a unique cryptographic key for each site. There’s no need to type it in, and it’s extremely difficult to steal. You can read more about this interesting technology in our article, but here we’ll limit ourselves to a recently published GIF illustrating the login process:

To date, not many sites support passwordless authentication, but you should still try to make the switch wherever it’s offered. After all, it will slash the risk of your account being hijacked! It’s also convenient — because you don’t need to think up a password, memorize it (or, god forbid, write it down somewhere!), and later enter it.

Chrome, Edge, and Safari already support the technology on both desktop and mobile platforms.

2. Go disposable

Information leakage remains one of the biggest digital risks for all of us. User data gets stolen from ISPs, insurance companies, delivery services, social networks, and even school databases. The stolen data is then used to perpetrate various scams.

Unfortunately, there’s little we users can do to prevent leaks. But we can ensure there’s less information out there about us, and make it harder to match: that is, comparing the names and phone numbers in two stolen databases wouldn’t give an attacker any more info on us. To achieve this, we recommend giving minimal information to non-critical services (primarily online stores and commercial digital services) by not specifying your last name or social media accounts, and generally skipping optional fields. And use disposable e-mail addresses and phone numbers as your contact information. Numerous services provide temporary phone numbers for receiving confirmation texts, as well as one-time e-mail addresses — just google “disposable phone number/e-mail address”. Some paid services of this kind even offer disposable credit card numbers, which makes online shopping even safer.

3. Get away from toxic social media

Last year contained way too many negative events, plus the waves of hate on social media reached new heights. Some social networks, such as Twitter, were thrown into disarray due to technical reasons. If social media gave you the jitters in 2022, this year it’s time to part company for good. Incidentally, we’ve compiled a list of tips on how to walk away without losing valuable data.

That said, some prefer not to quit, but to migrate, for example, to Telegram or Mastodon.

4. Stop doomscrolling

Social networks and news sites can consume hours of our time and lots of nervous energy. To avoid endless checking of news and posts, set a time limit on your phone for social networks and news apps. Start with an hour a day, and try to stick to it. Many vendors offer this feature: Apple’s name for it is Screen Time, Google’s is Digital Wellbeing, and Huawei’s is Digital Balance. And if your children are spending too much time on social networks, Kaspersky Safe Kids can help.

Those prone to deceive themselves by making up for the missing time on their devices should enable additional self-control tools in the settings of the social network itself. YouTube also has a such feature, called Take a Break.

5. Keep work and private life separate

Separating work and private life is good for many reasons. It aids both physical and mental health since work doesn’t interfere with family-and-friends time, and domestic matters don’t distract you during working hours. And your employer gets improved cybersecurity because you don’t mix personal and work information, apps, and so on. Ideally, the separation should be physical, which means different phones and computers for work and private life. It remains only to remember not to use personal sites, e-mail, and social networks on your work device, and vice versa.

6. Observe digital hygiene

Use security software on all computers and phones. For each site that still requires a password, make it unique. Regularly update all apps and the operating system. These tips are nothing new, yet millions of people continue to ignore them, some out of ignorance, others out of laziness. You can avoid all the hassle by entrusting the whole routine to a comprehensive solution from Kaspersky. Among its many features are automatic updates for outdated apps, fixes for insecure Windows settings, a password manager for all platforms, and, of course, the best anti-spam, anti-phishing, and anti-malware protection in the business  —  all packed into a sleek interface that’s simply a pleasure to use. More details available on our website.