There is no limit to what you can do with the help of the internet. But, the risk is also involved in the form of viruses, malware, spam, and phishing while using it. So, adopt online safety measures to avoid risk.
Involvement of risks does not mean you should stop using the internet. Prepare yourself to take measures to minimize the occurrence of these risks. In this article, we will discuss six main risks and how to avoid them.
Create Strong Passwords
You might think, what is the need for a strong password? Though most of the sites are secure these days, there is a chance that your information might get stolen. It is known as hacking. A strong password protects your account’s private information from hackers as it is difficult to guess.
Let us discuss a few tips to create a strong password:
- Do not use your info, such as your name, spouse or kid’s name, date of birth, e-mail, etc.
- Create long passwords that are at least eight characters long.
- Always include uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols in your password.
- Have different passwords for each account. If one account gets hacked, your other accounts will be safe.
- Avoid using common words as a part of your password. Create random passwords.
Browser Security Features
Whenever you browse the internet, your computer is vulnerable to viruses and malware. But there is good news for you. The browser supports many in-built security features that protect your computer.
Here are a few tips for you to stay safe online:
- Check the domain name of the site you are visiting. People use a similar web address to fool users.
- Look for the security symbol HTTPS at the beginning of the URL. Most of the banking and e-commerce sites use HTTPS connection instead of HTTP. It is not required for every website. But, do not enter your info on the sites without this extra security layer.
- Keep your browser updated.
- Use secure online payment services like Paypal or Google wallet if you do not want to enter your credit card details on different retailer websites.
- Always keep a record of your online transactions. Save emails you send or receive from a seller.
Make use of Spam Filter Feature of Email
Many times unwanted emails clutter your inbox. It becomes hard to find emails that you want to open. Spam emails sometimes contain malware that can cause harm to your computer.
These days most of the email providers, such as Gmail have spam filters that place unwanted emails in a separate spam folder. This prevents you from opening them accidentally.
But, sometimes legit emails also end up in the spam folder.
So, check your spam folder carefully and mark your important emails as primary, so that they show up in your primary folder only.
You can also mark emails you do not want to receive in your primary folder as spam.
There are other types of email scams also. You may receive an email stating that you have won a prize, and to claim it, you have to deposit upfront in the sender’s account. Do not fall prey to these scammers and never send your hard-earned money to them.
Phishing messages mostly appear to come from a trusted source like bank. They prompt you to enter your personal information like verifying your date of birth, re-entering your password, confirm your credit or debit card details.
Develop safe browsing habits to protect yourself from malware and viruses when browsing online.
Here are a few tips for developing safe browsing habits to secure your computer:
- Install antivirus software on your PC and run regular full system scans to detect any virus or malware. If you discover any threat, follow the action recommended by the software. If you find any difficulty, you can contact their team or any local professional to solve the problem. But do not ignore it.
- Keep your browser updated. It has security patches that protect your computer from many threats.
- Create a backup of your data as malware can corrupt data on drives. You can use an online backup service or copy the files to an external source, such as a pen drive.
- Avoid clicking suspicious links that prompt you to download something and install. These are ads that sometimes pop up while browsing. They can also contain messages that you have won a prize. When you click it, it might redirect you to a suspicious site.
- All activities that you do over the internet, using a home Wi-Fi network, can also be hacked. So, secure your wireless network.
- Put a limit on the strength of the signal to avoid getting it detected beyond your home boundary.
- Disable SSID (service set identifier) broadcasting to make your network invisible to other users within the signal range.
Social Media Privacy
Sharing information on social media sites has become extremely easy. But, sharing information on these platforms makes it public and is therefore seen by lots of people.
Here are a few tips to enhance your social media privacy:
- Always think before sharing any information on these platforms. These sites have built privacy tools to restrict whom you do not want to see your posts. But, then also they are more open than traditional communication platforms. What you share also affects your public image. So, think before you share anything on social media sites.
- All social media sites give you the liberty to select with whom you want to share your content. You can choose to share your stuff with everyone or with your friends only. So, adjust your account privacy settings accordingly.
Internet is our present and future. You cannot imagine your life without it. So, learn how to use it effectively. Follow the tips mentioned in the article, and if you are a non-technical person, take proper guidance from an expert to avoid falling prey to cybercrimes.
So, what measures do you take to protect your online presence?
Please share any other safety tips that you have implemented in the comments below.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Preeti Shah