The internet is a wondrous magic portal through which you can have access to anything in the world. It can, however, get scary sometimes; you can’t always predict the things that can take place on the web.
Anybody can do anything anonymously and get away with it; take Rocco Magnotta, for example, who uploaded videos of himself murdering helpless kittens in 2010 then butchering a man two years later. Don’t freak out though! If you follow these simple, yet effective tips on how to stay safe online, you can protect yourself- even from an internet serial killer! And we also recommend you click the following link for a legit reference about internet privacy protection guide.
What is a Cybercrime
Cybercrime is a criminal activity that either targets a computer or employs it to carry out an unlawful act. Cybercriminals can exploit a device to gain unauthorized access to an individual’s private data, sensitive corporate data, or government data or to disable a device. Additionally, offering or obtaining the aforementioned information online is considered a cybercrime.
Here are some of the types of cybercrime you should be aware of:
- Identity theft- This form of online criminal activity occurs when an individual acquires a person’s personal information to commit theft, obtain sensitive information, or engage in fraudulent activities related to taxes or health insurance.
- Online scams- Typically, online scams take the form of advertisements or unsolicited emails that make enticing promises of rewards or unrealistic amounts of money. These fraudulent offers are designed to lure unsuspecting victims with offers that appear “too good to be true.” Clicking on them may trigger malware that can interfere with and compromise sensitive information.
- Phishing- Cyber attackers use harmful email attachments or website links to infiltrate individuals’ computers or accounts in this type of assault.
- DDoS attacks aim to render online services inaccessible and crash the network by flooding the site with traffic from multiple origins. After successfully causing a network outage, the hacker can exploit the system by hacking into it.
- Cyberstalking- This online criminal activity involves harassing someone through various online messages and emails. Cyberstalkers use social media, websites, and search engines to frighten and intimidate their targets.
Protect Your Devices, Web Browsers, and Accounts
There are a variety of steps you can take to make sure your devices are well protected from malicious malware. First and foremost, enable automatic updates in your devices so that any bugs or dangerous threats to your browsers or security software would be fixed. Secondly, your password is your iron sword; don’t make it a string of recognizable numbers like your birthday. Instead, make it a short phrase that includes a variety of numbers, symbols, and capitalized letters. Also, you can use a password manager to store your passwords, and don’t forget to update them every once in a while. Thirdly, enable two-factor authentication for all accounts supporting this feature to add an extra step of security verification- this will keep your account’s username and password safe from hackers.
Protect Your Finances
Your bank account and credit card details are sacred. So, make sure that you take the utmost precautions when dealing with financial matters. For example, when using online banking, some people like to use aggregation software, yet it is unsafe as it collects your account information. Instead, you can go for other budgeting tools; these tools allow you to import your transaction history and track your budget without asking for account details. Also, do not save any bank account or credit card information when you do online shopping, especially if it is not a reputable and well-trusted platform.
Another useful hack to protect yourself as you purchase things online is to double-check if the website has Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certification. This process is much easier than you think; all you need to do is check if the site’s URL starts with “https://” or “http://”. If it starts with the first one, then this website is secure and safe to add data on. If it’s the latter, then your connection is not encrypted on this website and it is better to use it for browsing purposes only.
Raise the Shield
Fight the Scammers
After you have taken all precautionary measures to protect yourself from cyber attacks, you must remain aware of scams. Don’t open any suspicious-looking emails or links; they are most likely to be a set-up to hack your device, account, or catfish you for money. Another hack to stay safe from criminals online is to avoid some practices we usually deem harmless.
Such practices manifest in using public computers at your school library or the internet cafe nearby or using public Wi-Fi on the bus or a co-working space. If you cannot refrain from such things, then make sure you’re using a Virtual Private Network AKA VPN at all times, so that your connection remains encrypted as long as you’re online. It is also important to remember backing up your data on a regular basis, for it’s a crucial step to fight off hackers. Supposing that a hacker managed to breach your security and hacked your data, you wouldn’t need to give in to his demands in order for him to unencrypt such data. This is because you’d already have a backup!
What to Do If You’re Scammed Online
If you have fallen victim to a scam, take these steps to take action: Firstly, refrain from sending any more money and block all communication from the scammer.
Next, contact your bank or financial institution immediately and request them to stop any transactions. Inform your family and friends about the scam so that they can be cautious about potential follow-up scams.
If you have already made a payment to the scammer using any of the following methods, here’s what to do:
- If you used a credit/debit card, report the scam to your bank or card provider and request them to stop any transactions.
- If you paid with cash and sent it via mail or delivery service, contact the delivery service used to see if they can intercept the package.
- If you used a gift card, report it to the company that issued the card.
- For a wire transfer, report it to the wire transfer company or bank you used.
- If the scammer transferred money without your approval, report it to your bank immediately and request them to freeze your accounts and transactions.
- If you used a money transfer app, report it to the app provider, i.e., the seller or developer, and not the app store.
- For crypto payments, report it to the platform or company you used, but remember that cryptocurrency may not be recoverable.
Moreover, if the scammer has access to your personal information, like your name, phone, email, address, identity documents, etc., due to a data breach, report it to your financial institutions and let them know. Contact them and make a plan to limit the damage.
You should also create a new password and ensure it is stronger. This time, look out for suspicious contact and don’t click on any links. Monitor your bank account and credit report and request a temporary ban on your credit report to ensure that no unauthorized loans or credit applications can be made.
If a scammer has accessed your computer or phone, update your security software and run a virus scan. Delete anything that may be a problem and reset your passwords. If they accessed your phone or phone account, report it to your phone provider. Consider changing your phone number and block scam calls. Getting help from an IT expert is also a good idea.
Win the War
Keep a Low Profile
We know it is hard to stay incognito on the internet in this day and age, but the best way to protect yourself from online gimmicks and cyber-attacks is to share less. Simply put- the less you share online, chances are less to breach or steal your data! Your privacy is holy; make sure your profiles are private on social media- unless you make a living off it, in which case you can do the following: Steer clear of sharing personal information like your home address, personal email and phone number, and pictures or links of family members or close friends on your work profile.
Despite how overwhelming it may seem to stay safe online, it is- in fact- achievable once you get used to taking the necessary precautionary measures. Consider it a habit that you need to improve; read more about security tools and how to activate them. Finally, keep yourself up-to-date with new technologies whether it is a strong and well-secured Operating System or good antivirus and VPN applications. In simple words, don’t spare any effort in keeping all your devices and data protected.