We love the Internet. A lot of us use it for everything from shopping to studying to watching television. This is no shock to anyone. After all, a comScore survey released in March 2013 revealed that we spend the second-longest amount of time online in comparison to all other nations across the world - more than 41 hours per month.
When we're browsing, not many of us think of the dangers that lurk in the many corners of the Internet, from viruses to hackers. However, we do know that they're there, even if it's not a conscious thought - this is why we have things like firewalls, popup blockers and antivirus software installed on our devices.
However, there's another, simple security tool that we need to pay attention to: passwords. Many of us have them attached to our email clients, wireless routers, online banking accounts and other things we sign on to regularly, but how many of us reuse the same code or rely on something that could be easily guessed?
So what are some tips and tricks we should follow to make our Internet experiences more secure, whether we're looking at our inboxes or simply signing onto our computers?
1. Skip personal sentiments
There are likely many people who use the name of their pet or a spouse's nickname as passwords, among many other things. However, especially with the advent of social media, these are phrases that can likely be guessed.
CBC News recommended that Canadians use unusual, perhaps even random, letters, numbers and symbols in their codes. This way, they can't be figured out easily - just remember what they are.
The same sentiment goes for the questions that you can chose to answer to reclaim your password - if the answers are obvious, that's just as dangerous. For example, to be shown your pass code for your bank account, don't pick options like "What's your birthday?" or "Where did you go to high school?"
2. Be careful about storage
Some people create a Word document and save their login information on their computers - this is something that could be infiltrated if hackers step in. Others still write down their passwords and leave them by their computers.
After you come up with a code, commit it to memory or save it somewhere that cannot be breached. CBC News also suggested that Canadians not click on the "remember password for this site" option - it's too convenient and can lead to trouble.
3. Be somewhat distrustful with this information
Guard your password information, even when you're simply browsing the Internet. Legitimate third-party websites won't ask you for codes that go with different web pages. For example, Facebook won't ask you for the password linked to your bank account. If something of this nature does present itself, it could be a hacker or a faked website that appears real on the surface.
If Canadians are ever unsure about this scenario, it's best to err on the side of caution and consult with the proper authorities. The Canadian Internet Registration Authority, local law enforcement agents or your Internet service provider (ISP) might be invaluable in determining whether or not this is a front for a hacking ring or simply a necessity to gain access to a website or its features.