It’s no secret that the internet is full of dodgy characters, but being secure online doesn’t mean turning off your computer. Instead, practice mindfulness and review these ten simple online safety tips:
– Don’t share personal info.
– Double-check and verify links.
– Use secure public Wi-Fi.
– Use a VPN.
– Only log into sites that start with https://.
– Be careful who you chat with.
– Turn off your Bluetooth.
– Use antivirus software.
– Use secure passwords.
– Backup your data.
Continue reading to discover more about each advice, as well as resources that can help you and your family stay safe online.
Don’t Share Personal Information
It should go without saying that you should never give up your passwords, banking information, or address over the internet. Other information, such as data about your relationship, could be utilized to figure out answers to your security questions or even give hackers a hint when guessing your password.
You should also keep in mind that whatever you submit may remain online even after you erase it. Prospective employers have inquired about articles from old sites, some of which have even been inactive for a decade or more.
Double-Check URLS Before You Click
Before you click on any links in your email or on a website, make sure you know and trust them.
It’s possible to tell if a link is secure by hovering your mouse over it. In your web browser’s status bar, you’ll see a preview of the complete URL. Check that the preview link points to the correct website—you can find the correct website by searching the company name.
For example, if you receive an email from Wells Fargo and the link preview shows “www.wells-fargo-bank.com,” this does not correspond to the correct site link that Google returns: “www.wellsfargo.com.” If you receive an email asking you to check in, it’s best not to click the login link in the email and instead go to the brand’s official website to log in. You can find the official site by googling the brand’s name or typing the address into your browser’s URL bar if you know it by heart.
Use Secure Public Wi-Fi Networks
Unless it’s absolutely necessary, you should never utilize an unprotected (no password) public Wi-Fi network. If you do use one, avoid inputting any personal or financial information or logging into any of your accounts online or on applications.
Hackers have been known to put up bogus Wi-Fi hotspots to entice unwary web browsers. When someone connects to the bogus Wi-Fi, the hacker has access to almost everything they do online. Scary.
When looking for a Wi-Fi connection when out on the town, it’s best to ask a barista or staff what the name of their Wi-Fi network is. Also, if the password isn’t visible, make sure you acquire that information as well.
Use a VPN With Your Wi-Fi Connection
A VPN, or virtual private network, secures your device’s connection to an internet server, ensuring that no one can monitor or read your data via the internet. It’s a terrific (and legal) way to keep your connection safe at home, as well as when you’re utilizing public Wi-Fi.
The sole disadvantage of a VPN’s greater security? It may cause your internet connection to slow down. This is because the VPN encrypts your data by routing it through another server. We suppose you win some and lose some.
Be Careful Who You and Your Children Talk to
Cyberbullying, threats, and harassment are all very real issues that occur online. We advise you to be selective in who you chat to and engage with online. If they cross the line, make a note of it and use the block button. That is not how someone should be handled.
Children and teenagers may be cyberbullied by their peers, putting them in a difficult situation because they know the individuals involved. That is why it is critical for you to monitor your children’s online activities and ensure that they are aware of what to do if they are bullied online.
Turn Your Bluetooth Off
Bluetooth communications can be hacked and even altered, according to a group of academics. 1 They were able to take advantage of a flaw in a Bluetooth connection to listen in on and alter the content of nearby Bluetooth interactions.
That isn’t to imply you shouldn’t utilize your Bluetooth at all times. It’s preferable to turn it off if it’s not paired with another device and you’re not actively using it. You could even be able to save some battery life by doing so.
Use Antivirus and Antimalware Software
You should never use the internet without some form of protection. Even if you’re on a tight budget, antivirus software is available for free or at a moderate cost.
In any case, a small out-of-pocket investment in the program is well worth it to avoid the pain of dealing with malware—or worse. Also, if you have an antivirus or antimalware program installed, make sure it is up to date.