Each day, people access the internet and perform all sorts of operations, from communicating with each other, shopping, making contacts, and entertaining themselves to job hunting, working, banking, studying, and many more. The online world is an amazing space, with over 4.57 billion active internet users.
With the digital population steadily increasing, new opportunities are being created every day. However, while the internet is full of amazing content, it’s not entirely risk-free. Anyone can fall victim to online threats and dangers if they’re not careful enough. That’s why we prepared a short list of useful tips that can help you maintain safety on the internet.
Here are 6 internet safety tips everyone should know:
Choose Strong Passwords
According to the experts from Bulletproof.co.uk, one of the most common ways that hackers access any online system they want is by guessing passwords. Once they get in, they can get you in serious trouble. Most often, they’re looking for personal information to steal and sell them, but they can also gain access to your bank account and milk it dry, or use your identity to break the law and put you in legal trouble.
And yet, many people create simple passwords and use them on multiple devices and accounts. If you’re one of them, it’s high time to change that. Create a password that’s at least 10 characters long, contains upper-case and lower-case letters, numbers, and some special characters like commas or exclamation marks. What’s more, use only one password for a particular website or device. If you’re afraid you won’t remember all your passwords, write them down and keep them in a secure location. It’s much better than using the same password for all your important accounts.
Don’t Share Your Personal Information
The internet is a wonderful place that allows you to connect with almost anyone, anywhere, and anytime. While you can easily keep in touch with friends and family, some people you meet online don’t have good intentions. You can encounter scammers, hackers, catfish, and online predators easier than you think. Sometimes they’ll even reach out to you themselves.
If you’ve never met someone in real life, don’t trust them fully. Keep your home address undisclosed and don’t reveal your real name if someone makes you feel uncomfortable. Also, don’t give your email address, phone number, or credit card number to strangers. Keep your guard up to maintain internet safety at all times.
Careful with Social Media
Nowadays, almost everyone has an account on at least one social media platform. You may have heard jokes that people who are not on Facebook don’t exist. Of course, you should take that statement with a grain of salt. However, it’s true that people tend to overshare and put compromising information for everyone to see.
Consider making your account as private as possible, banning strangers from checking sensitive information and learning more about you than they’re supposed to. Don’t put your home address on display and avoid making posts about your amazing holiday trips – any potential thieves may jump on the chance, and when you get back, you’ll find your home has been broken into. Keep in touch with family and close friends, and avoid accepting invitations from people you don’t know. Use social media platforms responsibly at all times!
Don’t Download Files from Suspicious Sources
Hackers and cybercriminals have their ways to make you download malware and infect your device with viruses. Their goal is to steal your information and use them for other criminal activities, from fraudulent payments to identity theft. That’s why you should always download files and programs from reputable sites only and never click on suspicious links. It’s one of the most important internet safety rules.
Use a VPN
A Virtual Private Network is a useful tool that helps you protect your online privacy. It masks your real IP address, encrypts your data, provides you with a safe connection, and helps you bypass those annoying geographic restrictions. Make sure you choose a reliable VPN provider and a service that suits your needs, be it sending emails, making secure payments, or watching movies and videos from anywhere in the world.
Keep Your Software Up to Date
Many security breaches online happen due to outdated software. If you want to be safe online, make sure you install the latest version with all the security patches. Don’t forget about updating your browser, apps, and anti-virus while you’re at it. If you turn on automatic updates, you won’t even have to remember about doing it every now and then. While your security software runs safety scans in the background, you can browse the internet in peace!
Today’s world makes it almost impossible to be completely off the grid. For many people, the internet is an essential part of their lives, and they simply don’t want to give it up, which is easy to understand. The environment online opens up the world and provides them with opportunities unknown to older generations. However, you should remember some simple online rules that can make your virtual experience much more secure. Be reasonable, and stay safe!