There is no denying the fact that the internet is exciting; it’s entertaining, it’s informative, it’s communicative, it’s the building blocks of many other distant and closely related technologies, and it’s a knowledge bank unlike any other. But is it safe?
Despite all its brilliance, there is a certain layer of maliciousness that has evolved and spread along with the internet itself. This has led to the internet becoming a playground for hackers and surveillance agencies, through which they monitor or hack anyone, and we mean ANYONE!
However, these threats can be neutralized to a certain extent with the help of proper awareness. The following online security tips will help to keep you safe while you're surfing online:
1. Keep Personal Information Professional and Limited
Not all people need to know about your personal relationship status or your home address. Don’t inform strangers about where or who you hang out with or the movies you saw the previous week. Similarly, potential employers only need to know your expertise and professional background and how they can get in touch with you.
It is important that you share your personal information with only the people who are close to you. Sharing it with strangers can get you in serious trouble. It's not hard for hackers to deduce someone's passwords only by knowing a tidbit about the person they are trying to hack.
2. Keep Your Privacy Settings On
Marketers love to know everything about you, and so do hackers. Both can learn a lot from your browsing and social media usage. But you can take charge of your information and keep it personal. You can easily tweak the settings of your web browser and mobile operating system to protect your online privacy.
Major social networking websites like Facebook also have privacy-enhancing settings available. These settings are sometimes hard to find because companies love to have your personal information for their marketing efforts. But it is necessary that you find them and enable these privacy safeguards, and make sure they remain enabled.
3. Practice Safe Browsing
You wouldn't choose to walk through a dangerous neighborhood — then why visit a dangerous neighborhood online? Surfing through unknown territories on the internet is dangerous. You never know when some website, which is being managed by a hacker, starts tracking you.
Cybercriminals use lurid content as bait to attract people. They know that people are sometimes tempted by dubious content and may let their guard down while searching for it. The internet's demimonde is filled with hard-to-see pitfalls, where one careless click could expose personal data or infect your device with malware. Resisting this urge and don't give the hackers a chance.
4. Make Sure Your Internet Connection is Secure
When you go online in a public place, for example by using a public Wi-Fi connection, but you have no direct control over its security. Be very careful while using public Wi-Fi hotspots. You never know when that network starts monitoring your activities. Try avoiding it completely, unless there is no other alternative. In this scenario, always use a VPN service to keep the network from monitoring your online communications.
5. Be Careful What You Download
A top goal of cybercriminals is to trick you into downloading malware — programs or apps that carry malware or try to steal information. This malware can be disguised as an app: anything from a popular game to something that checks traffic or the weather. As PCWorld advises, don't download apps that look suspicious or come from a site you don't trust.
6. Choose Strong Passwords
A strong password can save you from countless threats. A complicated password is based on a combination of numbers and letters to make it difficult for cybercriminals to hack your account. Also, don’t forget to change your passwords every few months to ensure complete data security. Plus, make sure to utilize 2-Factor Authentication for your online accounts.
7. Deal with Reputable Vendors Alone
When shopping online, it is necessary for you to deal with reputable vendors only. There is a reason why reputable vendors come highly recommended, and it has more to do with the fact that they will do whatever it takes to keep their customers satisfied, which obviously means protecting them and their data. This should explain why such vendors have highly secure sites.
8. Be Careful What You Post
The internet does not have a delete key, as that young candidate in New Hampshire found out. Any comment or image you post online stays online forever because removing the original (say, from Twitter) does not remove any copies that other people made. There is no way for you to "take back" a remark you wish you hadn't made, or get rid of that embarrassing selfie you took at a party. Don't put anything online that you wouldn't want your mom or a prospective employer to see.
9. Use A VPN
Virtual Private Network is a service that encrypts your online communications and provides online security against data snoopers. A VPN also gives you complete online freedom by changing your IP address. So, while a VPN keeps your online data safe, it also lets you surf without any restraints.
10. Keep Your Antivirus Program Up To Date
Internet security software cannot protect against every threat, but it will detect and remove most malware — though you should make sure it's up-to-date. Be sure to stay current with your Operating System's updates and the applications you use. They provide a vital layer of security.
Learn to secure data on smart devices.
It is always better to be safe than sorry. There is no reason whatsoever to take risks when it comes to your digital security and privacy. It is important for you to ensure that your devices are protected at all times, which may seem to be a hassle, but remember that they will save you from a lot of misery later on.