By Andin Bicknell – A Data Science Student,
The Internet is a fundamental part of many people’s day-to-day lives. It’s entertaining, valuable, and informative, but can also be unsafe, irrespective of how safe and comfortable you may feel while surfing. By adopting sound Internet safety routines, you can safeguard your personal details as well as your identity. This guide will take you through 6 actionable tips for staying safe online.
1. Don’t Access Sensitive Information Using Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi is difficult to ignore – it’s always available right when you want it. What’s more, it provides fast, free access to the Internet. But that convenience doesn’t come without a fairly big cost – your personal and financial information. Statistics show that about 24% of Wi-Fi hotspots across the globe don’t utilize any steadfast encryption at all. Although the percentage may not look that bad, it is projected that by 2020 there will be about 432 million hotspots across the globe. This translates to about 100 million unsecured hotspots. But does this mean you should stop using public Wi-Fi all together? Well, that’s not the point. You just need to restrict the use of public Wi-Fi to just regular online browsing.
2. Secure Your Device(s) and Browsers
Securing your devices and browsers with a robust antivirus/antimalware program is undoubtedly one of the excellent strategies for staying safe online. It keeps off online threats such as malicious cookies, spyware, malware, viruses, and adware. In addition to antivirus/antimalware programs, ensure your operating system is up-to-date. Remember serious security updates can be launched even within the smallest possible system updates. So it is important to keep your firewall always on. Install extensions like script blockers on your browsers to stop unauthorized scripts from running when you access a dangerous website.
3. Install a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A VPN is an online service that you can leverage to conceal your actual IP address and protect your online connections by coding them. In simple terms, if you use a VPN, It will:
• Make sure no one (not cybercriminals or government surveillance entities) can monitor your activities on the Internet. It will full encrypt your online communications and make them surveillance-proof.
• Block any potential cybercrook from discovering critical information about you, including your zip code, your ISP, or area of residence, from your IP address.
• Ensure you can express yourself freely online and give your digital footprints some level of anonymity.
4. Choose Unique Passwords
Many people tend to use the initials of their names and birthdays as their passwords because they are easy to remember. This makes it easier for even novice hackers to crack and access their sensitive information. IT security professionals recommend setting up a password that is a mixture of both capital letters, small letters, numbers, common punctuation marks, and even ASCII symbols if possible. But you should avoid simple patterns like “A2B34C5D.” Instead, focus on the long, complex, words-digit-character mixture to come up with a unique, difficult to guess password.
5. Get Your Apps from Reputable Stores Only
It easy for your phone to get infected by all sorts of viruses and malware through app downloads. “Reputable stores such as the Google Play Store and Apple app store can be categorized as a safe place to purchase apps. Don’t forget to go through the app’s terms and conditions before installing it.” suggests Day Translations.
6. Embrace Safe Social Media Use Practices
?Keep your profiles private: When you make your social media profiles private, it becomes difficult for strangers to access your information or contact you online. Select an option that sets your profile to just you or a few of your trusted friends.
?Evaluate the kind of details that are public on your profiles: Sensitive information on your social media platform can easily become public, particularly if you recently updated or edited your profile. Visit the Privacy section to view what persons who aren’t your friends can see.
?Don’t reveal your personal information to people you met online: Despite how well you may feel you know a person you met online, it is difficult to know with confidence their true identity and intentions. Keep details such as your phone number, addresses, workplace, or school private.
Online safety is paramount these days more than ever due to the numerous security threats on the Internet. Luckily, by taking a few security measures, you can significantly minimize your vulnerability to all these threats. The 6 tips discussed in this guide will help you stay safe online.