6 tips to help you to stay safe on the internet

Clipboard and phone with items on a list checked

Today is Safer Internet Day, and we’re taking the opportunity to promote responsible use of online technology. Everyone can do their part to make the internet a safer place. To help, we’ve put together this list of the most important steps you can take to safeguard your data in the cloud:

  1. Use unique passwords. Unauthorized account access due to reused passwords is the #1 security threat that we see. Choose strong and unique passwords for each service you use, and guard them closely. A great way to do this is by using a password vault like 1Password to help manage login information across multiple sites.
  2. Enable two-factor authentication. This extra verification step adds a highly effective layer of protection against attackers. Once activated on an account, you’ll then need two things to access your accounts: your password and your mobile device or security key. You can easily set up two-step verification on your Dropbox account. We also support the use of hardware-based two-factor authentication (U2F) for even stronger protection.
  3. Check your security settings—especially if you lose your device. Check security settings on your online accounts regularly and adjust them as needed. If one of your devices is lost or stolen, take these steps to make sure your data isn’t lost or stolen with it:
    • Change any associated account and app passwords right away.
    • If your device is a work device, alert your company’s IT team immediately.
    • Certain services—like Dropbox—let you unlink lost devices from your account, which stops your data from syncing. With Dropbox and others, you can also unlink any connected third-party apps that may be compromised or no longer in use.
    • Dropbox Pro and Business users can take advantage of remote wipe to delete files from devices the next time they connect to the internet.
  4. Keep your system and applications up to date. Hardware and software makers continuously deploy patches to fix bugs as they’re detected. It’s important to apply these updates as soon as they become available and replace any products that aren’t supported anymore. If an attacker can get their code running on your system because of an unpatched bug, their ability to cause harm is limited only by their creativity.
  5. Don’t get tricked by phishing. Phishing attacks usually occur when an attacker sends a forged email that appears to be from a service you already use or a person you trust. Avoid these attacks by enabling security and privacy settings in your browser, and pay close attention to what you click, download, or install. Don’t respond to requests for personal information from websites or emails that seem suspicious.
  6. Safeguard your data in public places. Getting work done at a coffee shop? If your company offers a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service, use it. VPN creates a private tunnel that mimics the functionality, security, and policies of your work network when using a public internet connection. With a VPN, you can confidently connect to work tools on the go. Want to be even safer in public? Be sure to set passwords and PIN codes on your devices, and use a privacy screen on your laptop.

Protecting yourself on the internet isn’t just good practice—it also helps makes the internet a safer place for everyone. We’re also doing our part, too, partnering with the National Cyber Security Alliance to improve online security. To learn more about what people around the world are doing to use technology responsibly, visit the Safer Internet Day website.