Even though most people tend to use web-based apps, when surfing the internet, rather than visiting your more traditional website, this doesn’t mean that all internet safety rules should go out of the window. Hackers are always on the prowl, looking for ways to exploit you, to get your sensitive data, such as credit card and account information.
Surfing the internet without taking into account, any safety regulations, can lead to a number of unfortunate circumstances, such as embarrassing personal images or comments, which, once they’ve been released onto the net, can prove very difficult to remove. In more severe situations, you could also end up being mixed in with people you would much rather forget.
Below are 7 safety rules that you should follow, if you want to avoid any unfortunate situations that can occur while online.
1.Enable Privacy Settings
Marketers are always trying to find out as much about you as possible, and this also goes for hackers. Both are able to learn a lot about you, from monitoring your social media and browsing habits. But it’s possible for you to control this information. Web browsers for both desktop and mobile devices come with privacy protection, which you can and should enable. Big social media websites like Facebook also have their own privacy settings, which you can turn on. Such settings can be somewhat difficult to find, because these companies want to be able to sell your data to marketing firms. But you want to ensure you take the time to locate and enable such features, for your own benefit.
Using complex passwords is a general rule that all web surfers should adhere to. This is because the vast majority of online users do not take the time to make unique passwords for every account that they make online. Most people will use the same password for every account that they create. This poses a serious risk to the user. Which is why it’s important the steps below be taken, to protect whoever is online.
- Make sure you make secure passwords using no less than 12 characters.
- Make sure you find a secure place to store these passwords, and never reveal this information to anyone.
- Take Caution When Accessing Wireless Hotspots
When you’re accessing the internet on your system through a public hotspot, whether it be at a café, hotel or airport, you should consider the following:
- Watch out for anyone around you, as you don’t want them getting a peek at any of your passwords.
- When typing in any sensitive data, you should be cognizant of packet sniffers.
- Make sure your computer device never leaves your sight, as you don’t want anyone to steal it.
- Try to avoid carrying out any real confidential tasks, such as online banking or buying online.
- Practice Safe Browsing
Just like in real life, people tend to avoid the most dangerous parts of town, and that should also be true for the internet. Cybercriminals use certain content in order to lure you in. They know the kind of content that tempts people most, and they use that to their advantage. When on the internet, it’s important that you take precautions, because one careless click can result in a great deal of problems for you. You don’t want your system to be infected with a malicious file or for your personal data to be stolen. Resist the urge to do something you know that comes with any possible risk.
- Phishing Scams
Phishing scams are targeted primarily at the finances of the unsuspecting victim, making them very dangerous, even for children. Why? Because although the average child may not have a bank account, these phishing scams are also designed to acquire personal information about its victims. This means such scams can also be used as gateways into your system. And once your system has been infiltrated and severely damaged, it can be quite costly fixing everything. To avoid such pitfalls, you should definitely consider the following steps:
- Make sure you do not open any emails that appear suspicious to you.
- Never give out any personal information, such as account passwords or bank details, over the internet.
- When you identify any suspect activity, you should report it.
- Reduce Spam
In order to minimise spam, there are a number of steps you should take. The most effective of which, tends to be the following:
- Create a different account for signing up to chain emails or for making accounts on websites.
- Don’t put your email on random forums and blogs.
- Keep personal and business accounts separate from one another.
- Use the preview feature of your email client software, that way you can read the email, without having to open it.
- Invest in an antivirus tool with email scanning.
- Only Purchase from Secure Sites
Any time you purchase something on the internet, you will have to use either your bank account or credit card details to do so. The information cybercriminals are so anxious to get their hands on. When supplying this information, make sure it’s exclusively through encrypted secure connections. It’s very easy to identify a secure website. Just make sure the web address starts with an https: (the S stands for secure), rather than your standard http: website. You should also see a padlock icon, when on the purchase screen, but that isn’t always the case.
- Your Safest While Offline
In short, you want all your confidential data to be offline. This is an essential component of any internet safety rule. A cybercriminal cannot acquire your data if you make it inaccessible to him/her. Information, such as your Social Security Number, or National Insurance Number (depending on which country you live in), should be kept well clear from the internet.
Any sort of document containing sensitive data should be saved offline – that way you can be sure it will be safe from prying eyes. However, if you are required to send such confidential data to a family member or potential employer, then you should do so, over an email, and provide said information in an attachment. That way you can encrypt the file before you send it.
Author info :
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website https://www.compuchenna.co.uk.