The internet is a staggering invention, one that allows us to access endless information and resources with the pressing of just a few buttons. That said, the internet has its downsides as well. And while it may open us up to vast seas of information, it also makes us vulnerable.
As such, when using the internet, you need to make sure that you’re doing so safely. Need a few internet safety tips? Then read on because we’re going to provide some below.
1. Always Run an Antivirus
Antivirus programs aren’t perfect. They do allow viruses to slip through the cracks from time to time. But they’re certainly more effective than no protection at all.
As such, you should be running an antivirus on your computer at all times. You don’t need to pay an exorbitant amount of money or anything. Just find a reliable program (like McAfee) and make sure to update it when the time comes.
2. Use a Secure Network
Another key to internet safety is to use a secure network. If your network isn’t secure, you are leaving yourself directly vulnerable to unscrupulous elements. It’s only a matter of time before one of them tries to steal your information.
Not only should you set a password for your private network, but you should also keep public network users to a minimum. And if you are going to use public networks, make sure to never enter any financial information while using them.
3. Browse Carefully
Most of the websites you come across are safe and legitimate. However, all it takes for your computer to incur a virus is for you to click on one malicious site. As such, when browsing, you must use caution.
Hackers love to dupe online users with tempting content. So, the sites you most typically have to look out for include porn sites, gambling sites, and sites that give away expensive items for free or at a reduced price.
If the web address looks suspicious (different from what you’re used to seeing), or if it’s playing upon your temptation, it’s best left unclicked.
4. Be Cognizant of Scam Emails
Another way that hackers try to steal information (and money) is by sending out scam emails. These emails will often appear to be sent by legitimate organizations such as utility companies or government agencies. They’ll typically inform you that you’re overdue on something and that you have to make a payment immediately to avoid collections, or legal action, or some other harsh consequence.
Before you panic and send money over, make sure that the sender’s website is legitimate. Type the name of the organization into Google and click on its official website in the search engine. Then, compare it against the website of the person who sent you the email.
If the website addresses are identical, it’s probably legit. If they’re different in any way, it’s a scam.
5. Only Buy from Secure Websites
Purchasing products online has become so commonplace that most of us don’t even give it a second thought. And, in most cases, this is alright.
However, if you’re buying from a website that you’ve never bought from before, it’s vital that you ensure its security prior to making your purchase. How do you ensure that a website is secure? By looking for the HTTPS lock sign on the left side of the web address.
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It’s essentially a guarantee that a website is encrypting its data, thus making it difficult for hackers to steal.
Never, under any circumstances, buy from a website that doesn’t contain this symbol next to its web address. In doing so, you would be making your credit/debit card information vulnerable.
6. Vary Your Passwords
One of the biggest mistakes that internet users make is using the same password for all of their accounts.
Why is this a problem? Because, should a hacker obtain a password for one of a user’s accounts, that hacker will have actually obtained passwords for all of that user’s accounts. Conversely, if every account had a different password, the hacker would only have a single password.
But how are you supposed to remember all of those passwords? Your best bet is to not remember them at all. Instead, you should make use of a password storage app like the one at https://setapp.com/how-to/store-passwords-safely.
This app (and others like it) not only stores passwords safely but it also allows them to be accessed with ease. As such, every time you go to sign into one of your accounts, it will have your information ready for you.
7. Use a VPN
If you want to be really careful about who’s able to track your internet activity, you should make use of a VPN or virtual private network. These programs allow you to disguise your internet network, making it appear as if it exists in a completely different part of the world. You could be surfing the web in Iowa, but appear to outsiders as if you’re surfing the web in China.
VPNs are available at a wide range of prices and come with differing levels of quality. Whereas you might be able to find a cheap VPN for as low as $4 a month, an expensive (and effective) VPN will likely run you between $10 and $15.
Think about it: is online anonymity worth $10 to $15 a month? We certainly think so.
Take These Internet Safety Tips to Heart
If you really want to protect yourself while using the internet, you have to take these internet safety tips to heart. The more caution you take when cruising the web, the less risk there will be of your information falling into the hands of unscrupulous individuals.
Looking for more computer safety tips? Our website has you covered. Check out our other articles now!