From managing your finances to chatting with friends, the internet offers a world full of excitement and fun to those who know how to navigate it. Yet to the non-cautious, it can also be a dangerous place.
Cybercriminals and hackers can steal your passwords, identity, and just about everything in between. Such risks mean that you need to always take internet safety seriously.
So what can you do to stay safe?
Keep reading for an online safety tip guide that will help teach you how to make online safety a priority.
Don’t Share Personal Information
Not sharing any personal information may seem like an easy enough thing to remember, but far too many people continue to do it each year.
Nobody in your professional life needs to know about your personal information. This includes everything from your address and phone number to sensitive information such as your social security number. All of it can lead to problems if the wrong hands get ahold of it.
As a general rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t feel comfortable giving someone on the street a piece of information about yourself, you shouldn’t offer it out to millions of people online.
Get a Solid Antivirus Program
Whenever you browse the internet, even if you’re on a site that feels safe, you should always have an antivirus program running in the background.
As technology continues to evolve, hackers continue to transform the way that malware looks and works, as well. One wrong click can now lead to a host of problems, making a solid antivirus program more important than ever.
If you have a Mac, you might think that your computer can’t get viruses. That’s a dangerous misconception to have, as Macs can get viruses. In fact, in recent years, the number of threats that hackers wrote for Macs surpassed those for PCs.
Consider Using a VPN
If you’re unfamiliar with the acronym, VPN stands for virtual private network, and it’s one of the best ways to ensure that you have near-total protection while surfing the web.
A VPN gives you a private and secure network to use that’s separate from a public internet connection. The VPN then masks your IP address, meaning that your internet company, other people, and even governments have a much harder time monitoring what you do.
This extra layer of security helps keep you protected against threats. Although you don’t have to worry about using a VPN all of the time, using one when you’re using public WiFi at places such as restaurants and airports might be a smart idea.
Use Smart Passwords
Take a moment to think about the passwords you use to log into everything from your bank account to Facebook. Are they strong and secure, or are they different variations of the same noun with your birth year added at the end?
If the latter, spend some time thinking of new and more complex passwords. Weak passwords are one of the primary forms of entry open to hackers and cybercriminals. Once in, they can then wreak havoc on your life.
Browsers such as Safari and Google come with built-in password managers to keep track of everything. For example, Safari allows you to use iCloud Keychain. This app creates and stores complex passwords for you so that you don’t have to worry about remembering them.
Aside from choosing lengthy passwords with special characters and capitalized letters, you should also remember to change your passwords from time to time. Most experts recommend doing so every few months.
Think About What You’re Posting
Although the apps and websites you use may have a delete key, the internet does not. Once you post something, it’s out there forever, so make sure that you’re okay with that fact each time you post.
For example, if you tweet on Twitter and then delete it, other people may have retweeted it, screenshotted it, or saved it in any other number of different ways.
It might sound boring, but you should ask yourself two questions before you post anything: how would your employer feel about it, and what would your mother think of it? If the answers aren’t good, then it might not be a good idea to post.
Be Skeptical of People You Meet Online
While trying to see the good in everyone is admirable, there’s a time and place for that, and the internet is not the place.
Other internet users may pose as people you know or friendly strangers in an effort to get close to you. Once they worm their way into your life, they might then use the benefits of their relationship with you to pick your cyber pockets.
There are also groups of people that seek to take advantage of minors, often sexually. If you’re under the age of 18 or have kids who are, keep a watchful eye out for anyone who seems to be trying to do this kind of online solicitation.
Make a point to always have your guard up with anyone you meet online. You might come across as “unfriendly” or “cold”, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Remember This Online Safety Tip Guide When Browsing the Web
This internet is a vast and wonderful place, but if you’re not careful, it’s also an easy place to fall into trouble. By following this online safety tip guide and the points laid out, you can be certain that your experience will be safe and stress-free.
Do you now have a better understanding of how to stay safe online? If you do, make sure to browse through some of our other posts for more tech-safety guides and tips.