How to Surf the Internet Safely
It’s very important to consider your personal and business safety while surfing the net. In today’s world of cyber attacks, falling victim to a phishing scam is more likely than ever. However, you can reduce your risks by learning the techniques hackers use to try to gain access to your information.
Hackers today have a lot of different resources to carry out their plans. They can even lure web users into making a fake transaction that goes directly into their pockets. Fortunately, there are plenty of signs that indicate whether a website is safe or not. Find out how you can browse the web safely by following the few preventive tips listed below.
- Make sure you keep your personal information to yourself at all times. Do not share your information on websites that solicit private data such as your residential address or your phone number. This is a red flag and sign hackers could be trying to gain your valuable information to assume your identity.
- Make sure all of your social media profiles are set to private. It’s important to keep your social media activity visible to only friends and family members that you know in real life. Do not share news of upcoming travel plans on any social media site.
- Make sure all of your social media privacy settings are up to date and that you can accept or deny access to those who visit your profile.
- Don’t share any private passwords with friends. Your passwords should only be known by you. It’s advisable to not tell anyone except for an immediate family relative who you completely trust.
- Make sure your password meets the adequate safety measures. This means the password has a combination of letters, numbers, upper and lower-case characters, and a length of at least 15 characters. It is not about how complicated the password is but how long. You can learn about how to create string passwords by clicking HERE.
- Listen to what family members and close friends have to say about your online behavior. If they seem concerned about the amount of time you spend chatting online, reconsider your daily habits. Those who withdraw from day-to-day activities in the real world are more at risk of falling victim to a hacker’s scam.
- Avoid talking to strangers online, even if they seem trustworthy. Fake profiles are abundant and it’s difficult to tell if who you are talking to is real or not. Hackers often try to gain a user’s trust by befriending them. Only trust those profiles of people whom you know in the real world. Keep this important rule in mind: “don’t trust but verify.”
- Don’t believe any suspicious messages where someone is desperately asking for your help.
- Always log out from an account after making a purchase. Do not leave the window or tab open.
- Beware of websites that ask you to make an investment in a risky venture.
- Don’t make online purchases on websites that don’t seem reputable. Any transactions you make should be displayed clearly and the website’s address should indicate that you are on an “https://website address”. The S stands for safety and is a sign that the website is verified by a legitimate third party. Make sure that the address of the website is also spelled correctly. This means that the information is encrypted and secure. Even with an HTTPS link, you still have to check the legitimacy of the site. See if they have a local address, a verifiable location and call their support to see if they have an automated voice system set up.
- Don’t click links that pop up on websites or emails. Most of these links are fraudulent and attempt to hack into the email of your contacts. Review how to close windows for Mac and Windows operating systems by following Step 3 of an article that’s linked HERE for your convenience.
- Use a trusted browser such as Chrome, Safari, or Firefox for added protection. These browsers give users the option to block any websites that seem suspicious.
- Don’t download any plugins (especially with Chrome). Some will still track your browsing and target you via email or pop with advertising. Any free software comes with a price.
- Make sure your browser’s settings warn you of when a tracker cookie has been installed. Tracker cookies can sometimes be used by hackers to track your interests and preferences. However, many authentic websites require the user to allow tracker cookies and most of them do not pose any risk.
- Download security software to protect your computer and make sure your computer is running the latest version at all times. Review the five steps described in the article linked HERE to learn how to protect your computer even further.