In this era, it’s become almost impossible to imagine our lives without smartphones, computers, and the Internet. We depend on these technologies more than ever for all kinds of stuff- shopping, education, entertainment, booking flights and movie tickets, paying bills, etc. However, the security risks have increased too. So, what can you do to stay safe when you access the Internet?
The following are some of the things you can do to protect your devices from most types of online threats:
1. Install a Reliable Antivirus Software
One of the first things that you must do to safeguard your devices is to install a good antivirus program that can give protection against spyware and adware, malicious websites, data thefts, etc. There are a variety of good antivirus programs on the Internet that you can check out. You can also compare the features offered by the top anti-virus programs to pick the one that meets your requirements at the lowest price. Most of them are affordable and able to protect your computer and smartphone from the majority of online threats.
2. Keep Your Personal Information Private Online
Social media allows you to stay in touch with your old friends and meet new and interesting people. A lot of smart entrepreneurs use social media to grow the business too. However, many don’t know about the risks of using these platforms.
If you like to share your personal life with others on social media, then it can land you in trouble. Your private information including email address, phone number, places you visit, etc. can be misused by an unscrupulous entity. For instance, someone can steal your identity and create a fake account to cheat your friends and family. They can also use your personal details to guess your password. At any rate, it’s a good practice to keep your personal details private or at least accessible only to your friends. Most social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter allow you to change your privacy settings easily.
3. Use VPN
A large number of Internet users who don’t want to take any chances with their privacy and security use VPN services which allow them to surf the web without revealing their true identity.
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network which can be imagined as a virtual tunnel that connects you to the Internet. Since the data flow through this secure tunnel, neither your ISP nor any hacker can get their hands on it as long as the service is active.
One of the best things about VPN is that you can use it along with other security measures including antivirus and firewalls. So, you can set up multiple lines of defense which make for a robust security system.
There are a variety of VPN services available for people with different requirements. Some of the features that you can look into include free trials, a large number of supported connections, mobile support, high download speeds, etc.
If you don’t know which VPN would be most suited to your needs, then you can also refer a reputable cybersecurity authority website to get all the information you need. Since you are most likely to use a service for a long period, it’s best to take your time and make the right decision the first time itself.
4. Use a Password Manager
It might shock you, but passwords are the weakest link in cybersecurity today. The reason is simple- a lot of people use the same password for all their online accounts viz. social media, email, shopping websites, etc. So, even if just one of your accounts gets breached, then the hacker can access all the other accounts easily. It doesn’t help that a lot of people use weak passwords which can be easily cracked with a brute force attack in which the hacker tries to guess the correct password by going through an extensive list of common passwords.
A big problem that the Internet users are facing, including the ones who really care for their online security, is creating multiple strong passwords for different accounts and remembering them all. It’s really important but at the same time impractical. A good password manager can solve this problem easily.
Password managers are security programs that can create unique and strong passwords for you at the click of a button. You don’t even have to remember all these passwords as you can lock them all with a single “master password”. So, if you can just remember this one password, you are good to go and never have to worry about creating new passwords ever again.
5. Don’t Install Pirated Software
Not only using pirated software is unethical and even a crime in many nations, it’s harmful to you on a personal level too. This is because a large number of pirated software are injected with malware that gets installed on your devices when you install the base software. You may not even notice the malware entering into your system but when it gets installed, it can be difficult to get rid of.
It’s strongly recommended that you always download whichever software you need only from trusted and reputed websites. The same goes for mobile devices in which case you should install the apps from the official app stores only viz. Google’s Play and Apple’s iTunes.
Opening a malicious email link alone can open a can of worms for you. In fact, there are many ways cybercriminals can hurt you with emails. For instance, in a phishing attack, they can trick you into believing that they are representing your bank or some government institution and ask for your financial or personal details which they can exploit. Similarly, they can share a malicious link masquerading as a discount coupon which if you click may trigger the installation of a malware program on your device.
To protect yourself from harmful emails, always double-check a suspicious email before opening any link given in it. If it’s from your bank, then you can call them up to verify that it’s actually sent by them. You can also check the sender’s email address to make sure it’s authentic.
Also Read: HOW DOES INTERNET EMAIL WORKS ( IN-DEPTH)
When it comes to online security, then there is no such thing as “too much protection”. Cybercrime rates are higher than ever today and the attackers are using all kinds of advanced malware such as ransomware which has baffled even the top cybersecurity professionals around the world. So, if you want the highest level of protection, then be sure to apply as many methods given above.