The security of your information is important, and more and more scammers or other mal-intended people see your information as just a valuable number. Here are 7 ways you can stay safe online.
Don't Give out personal information.
The best method of protection of your information is as simple as limiting what information you share online. Potential employers or customers don't need to know your relationship status or your home address and every other person does not need to know your phone number, social security information, or banking info. This information is personal to you, and should not be given out to people you don't know.
2. Create complex passwords.
Simple passwords are easy to remember, but make it easy for phishing sites or scammers to guess them based on any other information you have shared online. Complex passwords are just that, complex, hard to remember, and long. So how do we come up with unique and strong passwords to ensure the safety of the login but still make it easy for you to use? This part is easy, as there are many complex password generators available to use and many secure password-saving programs so you do not have to remember your secure but complex passwords. Remember: a complex password consists of at least 15 characters, mixed letters, numbers, and special characters.
3. Check website reliability.
When either making a purchase online or signing up for a new site, this is the perfect chance for scammers to grab your information. To prevent this, be safe and look at the website's address. The address should always start with “HTTPS,” instead of just “HTTP,” and have a padlock icon in the URL field. This indicates that the website is secure and uses encryption to scramble your data so it can’t be intercepted by an identity thief. Also, be on the lookout for websites that have misspellings or bad grammar in their addresses or homepage. If ads seem to cover the main content, or images don't fit right this is a bad sign. They could be copycats of legitimate websites. Only supply your information to sites that provide secure, encrypted connections.
4. Avoid suspicious links.
Carelessly clicking on any link you see makes it easy for anyone to get information from you, at the promise of free stuff or a disguise of a needed work/school attachment. Suspicious links from untrusted sources and spam emails, clickbait, online quizzes, tabloid headers, ‘free’ offers or unsolicited ads are easy to recognize: all will urge you to click or open them.
These links will often be cleverly disguised, but you can follow a simple structure to avoid these links completely. On a website, make sure both text and accompanying links are on the same subject. If you click a link to read more about polar bears and instead of seeing the Arctic, you get a ‘success story’ about a celebrity who lost weight or gave up smoking overnight, then it’s better to quickly leave the page. That deceit doesn't end there, often quizzes will come up promising rewards but only leaving you with stolen information. In emails, they can put on a mask of bigger companies to try to trick you into logging in or sharing further information. For example; an email from Amaz0n telling you that your package needs more information to be sent.
5. Keep your computer updated.
Keeping your software and operating system updated is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your computer. Always accept updates when your computer prompts you and turn automatic updates on wherever they’re available. This makes sure you never forget an update and that the protection of your computer never gets out of date.
Apps also fall under this roaster, especially if these apps contain your payment, health, or other sensitive info. Developers are constantly working to make products safe, monitoring the latest threats and rolling out security patches in case of vulnerabilities. So, accept their work, update your software regularly, and do your bit to keep yourself secure.
6. Monitor app permissions.
App permissions may seem like an annoying popup but are you giving them access to important information when clicking them? Sometimes, yes this can be true. Make sure when downloading a new app that you are not 100% sure of, that the permissions required to pertain to the app. For example, a new camera app will ask for permission to access your camera to take the photos and your files to save the photos. A new shopping app should not be asking for those things, as they do not need them to sell products. Stay informed so you aren't sharing anything you don't want to.
7. Be cautious with public wi-fi.
When accessing public networks, anyone can use unsecured networks to distribute malware and access private information. How can you protect yourself? Prevention is key, make sure your device is secure, and when in doubt, wait for a better time before providing information such as your bank account number. To further improve your internet browsing safety when out in public, use a secure VPN connection (virtual private network). VPN enables you to have a secure connection between your device and an internet server that no one can monitor or access your data. It also changes your IP address ensuring your location is hidden from anyone with malintent.
Thanks for reading, we hope that these tips will help you stay safe online. Want more digital management tips? Check out our other blogs here.
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