Using the internet has become an integral part of our everyday life. This also means that we are introduced to more threats online than ever before. While you can never protect yourself 100% of the time, there are simple steps that you can take to help ensure that you’re using the internet as securely as possible.
1: Keep your device up to date
It is important to ensure that your laptop and mobile are kept up-to-date with the latest software and hardware. Many manufactures include security patches within their automatic updates to help ensure that devices are protected. Having an up-to-date device ensures that your device has the strongest security possible.
2: Use strong passwords
A strong password is key to ensuring that online accounts are securely protected. The longer and more complex the password, the better. Try not to use the same password for multiple accounts. This will reduce the risk of all your accounts being compromised by one password being hacked.
3: Think carefully before clicking on links and attachments
The leading cause of malware and viruses on devices is from emails with malicious attachments. Always be wary of opening emails from people you don’t know, and if an email or its attachment looks suspicious think twice before opening it.
4: Be aware of phishing
Phishing is when a malicious person attempts to find and use information about you, whether to steal your identity or to defraud you. Be aware of who is asking for your information on the internet. If you are visiting a site that looks suspicious, and it asks you to input your financial details, that should be a red flag. So would an unsolicited email asking for personal details. Any time you receive a request for information, scrutinize the source and never be afraid to say ‘no’ or ask for more information.
5: Pay attention to whether a page is encrypted
Websites usually will be either unencrypted (HTTP) or encrypted (HTTPS). When browsing a page requesting you to input information, always double-check to see whether that web page is encrypted. You can do this very simply by checking the beginning of the website’s URL. For example, an unencrypted Google site would look like this: http://www.google.com. An encrypted Google site would look like this: https://www.google.com
6: Use public WIFI sensibly
Whenever joining public WIFI, you’re connecting to a network used by many other people. While most public networks have a degree of security built into them, you should always be wary of malicious users on the same network being able to snoop in on your internet usage. Always be careful when logging into financial websites or websites that require you to input sensitive information. If possible, try to do these things on your home network.
7: Think before posting sensitive or financial information online
When using public sites, especially social media, always be aware of the information that you are posting. Once that information is stored on those sites, it’s usually stored forever. Think twice before posting sensitive or financial information on public sites.
8: Don't be afraid to ask for help
There are various websites that provide more information on how to protect yourself online. One such great website that provides numerous resources on how to do this is https://www.getsafeonline.org/protecting-yourself