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!
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!
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.