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How to Stay Safe While Browsing Online

Posted on Friday, January 31 2020 @ 12:35:28 CET by

The internet has made information readily available and accessible to anyone, anywhere. However, the internet has also made it easier for those with malicious intentions to come up with schemes that will allow them to use the information and data of others to their own advantage. This is the reason why it is important to ensure your safety and security, especially when browsing online.

Online safety
IMAGE SOURCE: http://bit.ly/2uDlrjo

Restrict the disclosure of your personal information
Keep your personal information professional and limited, available only for access to the authorized entities. For instance, if you are applying for a certain job, your potential employer doesn’t need to know your personal relationship status or your home address immediately. What they do need to know, however, is your professional expertise, as well as your skills, which as normally already included in your portfolio. Just as you wouldn’t immediately offer details such as your home address to a stranger who sits beside you in the park, you wouldn't want to be giving these kinds of personal details to people you meet online. All these entail the need for you to be a selective sharer in the sense that you are extremely cautious about what you share. This is because what you share, particularly about your personal information, can be used to impersonate you or to guess your passwords and login credentials.

It goes without saying that you should be careful about what you post online. This is because there is a great chance that you can never take back what you post publicly. As such, the internet doesn’t really have a delete button, and what you have posted decades ago is still currently available. This also goes true for every comment you made on social media platforms or on different websites. Even if you remove your original post, other users may already have a copy of it either through screenshots or a forwarded image. Thereby, it is noteworthy to think before you click and avoid posting content that you know you will regret later on.

Ensure that your privacy settings are on
Marketers do their research to be able to analyze the behavior of their market, and while the purposes of their research are purely for the growth and sustenance of their business, scammers surely have other intentions. Thereby, it is best to ensure that the privacy settings of your browser, your mobile devices or your social media accounts, are turned on to be able to take charge of your information. Before heavily utilizing a certain browser, your mobile phone, or creating a social media account on a certain platform, take time to learn about their privacy settings which will allow you to protect your online privacy. However, there are instances wherein these settings may be hard to find because more often than not, companies really want your information such as your browsing behavior and habits for their analytics.

Make it a habit to visit only secure sites
Nowadays, reputable and reliable search engines like google implement additional safety measures for their users by prompting them whether the sites are safe or alerting them if proven otherwise. Leverage on these notifications and avoid clicking through the links of the sites which are not yet proven to be safe and secure. For sure you will not walk into a dangerous neighborhood in real life, and this is the same as not visiting sites without the safety seal. However, there are instances wherein clicking the links to these sites are so tempting because cybercriminals make it a point to attract users through lurid and visually engaging content. Nevertheless, by resisting the urge to visit these sites, you are inhibiting these criminals to get a hold of your personal data.

In parallel with this, it also makes it a habit to only purchase from a secure site. This is because oftentimes, you need to enter personal details such as your credit card information in making purchases online. For sure, you will not want this information to be vulnerable to unsecured sites. Thus, ensure that the sites you are entering to make a purchase have the proper data encryption implemented to protect sensitive information from cybercriminals. Some of the indicators that may help you determine whether a site is secure are when the links of the site start with https or whether there is a padlock icon next to the address bar. Nevertheless, search engines usually prompt a message about sites that are not guaranteed to be secure.

Evaluate the security of your internet connection
Since your information can be readily accessed online through the internet, you need to make sure that you have a secure internet connection. This may entail the need for you to use a secure VPN connection as necessary, especially when you are in public places where the Wi-Fi security connections are weak, simply because you have no control over its security. Thus, hackers will easily be able to access your personal data and sensitive information.

A VPN or virtual private network will allow you to have a secure connection between your device and the server you are connecting to, without having to worry that someone may have access to the data that you are transmitting. Not only this but if you are residing in the United States, you can also use a VPN connection to be able to watch and stream your favorite Netflix videos even if you are outside of your home country. The best Netflix VPN will effectively mask your geographical location, allowing you to access your favorite shows, even with the revolutionized filters and VPN blockers of Netflix. As such, you will be able to access Netflix content consistently at an optimum speed. The best VPN services will also offer great customer support, apart from other perks such as a cost-effective subscription pricing.

Exercise precaution on the data that you download
Often times, cybercriminals spread viruses and malware are attachments on the email that recipients can download, or as private messages that users can open. Thus, it is imperative that you take extra precaution in downloading the attachments you receive through email or private messages coming from people that you don’t even know. In parallel, also take the proper precaution in downloading free apps or software because spammers can also disguise viruses and malware through legit-looking downloadable applications, such as apps that monitor the weather or the traffic situation in your locality.

Additionally, it is a good practice to click smart, which entails the need for you to also be wary of clicking links that may be used by cybercriminals for phishing or social engineering. These links typically lure users to reveal their personal information for fraudulent purposes, without the users suspecting that the links are deceitful. These links may be in the form of spam emails, free offer buttons, click baits, and even online quizzes. All these entice users to unknowingly divulge their sensitive information, which is why it is important to be wary of offers which seem to be too good to be true or those asking for too much information from you.

Take time to come up with strong passwords
Users sometimes take password creation for granted and use passwords that can easily be predicted by another user or a computer algorithm. Indeed, users prefer to be able to effortlessly remember their passwords to be able to prevent being locked out of their account, but weak passwords also pave the way for hackers and scammers to easily access your account too. This is the reason why it is best to choose or come up with generally strong and complex passwords that are a mix of characters and symbols. In order to be able the passwords you use for your accounts, search for password management software that you can utilize.

It is also a good practice to change your passwords every so often to ensure that even with enhanced data mining algorithms intended to breach accounts through password prediction, your account will stay secure. In addition to this, check whether the platforms of your accounts offer a multi-factor authentication wherein you are required to key in several pieces of information to be able to access your account, apart from your basic login credentials. In this case, you may need to answer a certain security question or input a code that is sent to your phone number or email.

Be wary of the people you meet online
It is very easy for cybercriminals and scammers to present a certain persona that they wish to portray because the digital world made it easy for people to pretend to be someone they are not. Thus, the people you meet online may not always be who they say they are. This is the reason why you need to be wary of the people you meet online. Fraudulent social media profiles are now very much in common, and so are trolls on the internet, and this is one of the ways that cybercriminals use to lure naïve and unaware users.

Keep an updated antivirus software
Another way to ensure that you are safe while browsing online is by installing antivirus software and regularly ensuring that it is up to date. While an antivirus software won’t be able to protect you a hundred percent from security threats, it will be able to detect and remove most types of malware. There are several types of antivirus software for you to choose from and each boast of certain capabilities that may not be found in other software. Nevertheless, the key thing is that your antivirus software provides a vital layer of security necessary to ensure your safety.

Use a firewall
Apart from an antivirus software solution, it is also a good idea to use a firewall to enhance your security when you are browsing online. A firewall is an electronic barrier that prevents unauthorized access to your computers and other devices, thereby ensuring that all your devices are secured, including the internet of things, or IoT devices such as thermostats and webcams. A firewall is usually a part of a comprehensive security software solution, which is important especially for IoT devices which are commonly not equipped with security measures, making them vulnerable entry points for cybercriminals to get access to your personal data.

Do your research
One of the most important, but overlooked ways of staying safe while browsing online is doing your research and taking time to be aware of the latest scams and fraudulent schemes performed by cybercriminals. This is because online threats are constantly evolving and those with malicious intentions also leverage technological innovations to be more creative with how they can scrape sensitive information that they can use for their own advantage. Proper research will make you aware of what to look out for. For instance, there has been a ‘ransomware’ trend in the past wherein hackers threaten to lock you out of all your accounts unless you agree to pay them with a certain sum. Being informed will help you recognize these kinds of scams and avoid them even before it hits you.

In the same manner, it is always a best practice to keep your guard up when you are surfing the internet, always being cautious with what you do in the digital world. Keep in mind to back up your data on a regular basis to be prepared in cases of unforeseen circumstances or unfortunate scenarios. While the internet may prove to be an avenue that paves the way for several conveniences, it also opened up the doors for security risks and hazards that can make users feel their vulnerability.

Online safety
IMAGE SOURCE: http://bit.ly/2lHE69e

To wrap things up, always perform the necessary measures and make your safety and security a priority even if you are merely browsing online. This is because you can never tell what new schemes scammers are coming up with these days when information is easily accessible and personal data becomes vulnerable. Always bear in mind that the proper safety precautions can save you a lot of trouble in the long run.


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