The Internet is an integral part of everyday living. We use the Internet for numerous reasons, including staying in touch with friends and family, checking news and weather, paying bills, shopping, surfing, gathering research and furthering our education. However, it is essential to remain safe while online, to avoid having personal information compromised, or being exposed to unsavory characters. Below are the best online safety tips to follow.
Keep Your Device Clean
As the safest defense against malware, viruses, worms and other serious online threats, make sure all the devices you use to connect to the Internet have the most up-to-date security software. This means any web-enabled device including computers, gaming systems, smart phones and tablets will need security protection. Turn any automated software update preference on if available to ensure that the machine is fully protected against the latest online security threats.
Protect Personal Information
Secure all of your online accounts with complex passwords. If possible, use additional ways to verify your identity including a finger scanner, retina scan or other type of secondary authentication. In addition, make sure every password you generate is strong and long. You can combine lowercase and uppercase letters, along with symbols and numbers to generate a very secure password. Each account needs a separate password to thwart online predators, in the event that one of your accounts is compromised, the others will remain safe.
It is essential to protect your online presence to ensure you are limiting which online individuals can have access to your personal information. Never post any personal data such as last name, birth dates, mother’s maiden name and address or Social Security numbers online, or in text messages and emails. In addition, never post information about friends because it puts them at risk.
Hackers and cyber-criminals use complex methods to lure individuals into giving away personal information. Many types of phishing scams urge others through an email, online site, or post to “act quickly” to perform some task, such as filling in a form or inputting personal data on a sign-on screen or login page.
Be Cautious When Connecting
It is essential to be aware your computer is only minimally secured when connecting to the Internet at a public Wi-Fi spot, such as a coffee shop, restaurant, hotel, school or other location. This is because much of your information can be exposed to others connected to the system. Because of that, increase your security settings, limiting which individuals can access your device. In addition, limit the activity you conduct through public connectivity.
All suspicious links and downloads in emails, online posts, tweets, and Internet adverts should be avoided at all costs. This is because cyber-criminals often links use to compromise computers by directing the user to a site to gather personal information, or offer free downloads as a way to infect a computer with a virus or worm. If the link appears suspicious in any way, even if it is from a reliable source, it is always best to mark it as spam or junk email, or delete it altogether.
Protect your financial accounts when shopping or banking online by checking the site’s address bar to ensure it is security enabled. Secured web addresses begin with “shttp://” or “https://”.
Befriending Others Online
It is important for both children and adults to never befriend any online individual they do not know. This is because individuals on the Internet are not always who they say they are. Children should never meet anyone they have met online, and never give anyone else their password.
If you see, hear or discuss anything online that in any way makes you feel worried, unsafe or uncomfortable, it is essential to leave the site immediately, turn off the computer, and tell a trusted adult about it immediately.
Online threats are serious. Hackers and cyber-criminals often take advantage of unsuspecting online users by stealing personal information, damaging computer systems and making contact with unsuspecting victims. By following the above safety tips, you can remain safer when connected to the Internet.