Are you safe when surfing the web? You’d think so, right? What can go wrong? Well, a lot of things. Keep reading below to find out the risks you’re exposed to and how to prevent them!
Everybody is talking about online security these days. The web today is a space filled with malicious links, Trojans, viruses, and hackers that are constantly searching for their next victims. Data breaches have become more frequent than ever, and unsuspecting users more vulnerable than ever before as they share much more personal information. So, it’s only natural that Internet users are starting to pay more attention to how safe they are online.
You don’t have to be a cybersecurity specialist to protect your data online. There are a few easy steps that you can take to improve your online security. Here are eight easy things you can do to be safer online.
- Inform yourself
The more informed you are on the cybersecurity risks that surround you, the better you can protect yourself from them.
You can learn about the most common cybersecurity threats, such as computer viruses, spyware threats, hackers, phishing, or malware. You can also learn more about how to set up antivirus software on all your devices. Or you can read about the way hackers get to your personal data.
Look for a comprehensive guide to Internet security and learn as much as you can on how to make the job of hackers more difficult.
- Don’t click on suspicious links
If you want to be sure that you don’t invite cybersecurity risks in on your own, don’t click on any suspicious links you receive.
Data shows that 92% of malware is sent by hackers using email. What’s more, 37% of malicious email attachments are .doc and .dot files. So, if you receive an email with such attachments from a source that you don’t know or trust, do not open it.
Emails can contain malicious links that, if you click on them, can wreak havoc on your device security. They can give hackers access to your personal data and device files.
In phishing attacks via email, hackers would pose as someone that you may be familiar with to convince you to open the malicious link that they have sent to you.
- Use strong passwords
Strong, complex passwords are the best way to protect your accounts. Weak passwords, particularly those that contain personal information about you, such as your date of birth or your pet’s name, are really easy to compromise, giving access to hackers to your accounts.
How to create strong passwords? Use both small and capital letters, numbers, and special characters in your passwords. The harder it is for you to remember your passwords, the harder it is for hackers to compromise them.
- Use two-factor authentication
Apart from having strong passwords, it is also imperative to have two-factor authentication. As the name suggests, this method provides two layers of security measures when it comes to log into your accounts. So, suppose a hacker guesses your password, there’s still an additional security measure in place to protect your account.
- Be a selective sharer
While sharing pictures of your pet or meal on social media shouldn’t be a security risk, sharing personal information such as your address, email, phone number, or financial information online can be really reckless. Be a selective sharer online and keep personal information only to yourself, no matter who asks for it.
- Purchase stuff online from secure sites
Are you an online shopping enthusiast? We bet you are! Online shopping provides so many benefits, including the opportunity to shop anything you want, from the comfort of your own home, at any time. However, online shopping is not risk-free when it comes to online security.
Think about it: anytime you make an online purchase, you are asked to share your credit card or bank account information, alongside with plenty of personal information such as name, address, email address, etc. that’s the exact type of information cybercriminals are most eager to get their hands on. So, it’s best to make sure that you purchase stuff online only from websites that you are sure that can protect your data.
How do you recognize secure websites? You can do so by looking for an address that starts with “https” instead of a simple “http”. The “s” in URL addresses stands for secure.
- Don’t trust anyone you meet online
The Internet has opened the doors to global socialization. These days, you can talk to people from the other parts of the world online. You can also connect with old friends you haven’t seen in ages, or people in your surroundings.
Yet, people you meet online aren’t always who they claim to be. While the Internet has facilitated socialization, it also opened the doors to plenty of safety problems. The problem with online socialization is that you can’t always tell for sure who is sitting behind the other screen.
In fact, fake social media profiles are one of the most popular ways for hackers to reach out to users and steal their data. Besides being stolen your personal info by hackers, meeting people online can also turn into an in-person safety risk if the person isn’t really who they claim they are.
Always be cautious and a selective sharer in your online social life just as you are in your offline social life.
- Be careful what you download
Hackers are always going to try to make you download malware in the form of programs or apps that carry malware, allowing them to steal your personal or financial information. Hackers disguise this malware in apps such as games, apps that check the traffic or the weather.
So, how do you protect yourself from this cybersecurity risk? Only download reputable apps that come from sites you know and trust.