It’s no secret that the internet is full of shady characters, but staying safe online doesn’t require you to turn off your computer. Instead, practice mindfulness and go over the following ten easy online safety tips:
- Avoid disclosing personal information.
- Check and double-check links.
- Make use of safe public Wi-Fi.
- Make use of a VPN.
- Only visit websites that begin with https://.
- Be cautious about who you talk to.
- Disable your Bluetooth.
- Make use of antivirus software.
- Use strong passwords.
- Save your data.
Continue reading to learn more about each piece of advice, as well as resources that can assist you and your family in staying safe online.
Personal information should not be shared.
It goes without saying that you should never provide your passwords, banking information, or address over the internet. Other information, such as information about your relationship, could be used to deduce answers to your security questions or even provide a hint to hackers when guessing your password.
Keep in mind that whatever you submit may remain online even after you delete it. Prospective employers have inquired about articles from old websites that have been inactive for a decade or more.
Check URLs Twice Before Clicking
Make sure you know and trust any links in your email or on a website before you click on them.
Hovering your mouse over a link can reveal whether or not it is secure. A preview of the full URL will appear in the status bar of your web browser. Check that the preview link leads to the correct website—the correct website can be found by searching the company name.
For example, if you receive an email from Wells Fargo with the link preview “www.wells-fargo-bank.com,” this does not correspond to the correct site link returned by Google: “www.wellsfargo.com.” If you get an email asking you to check in, instead of clicking the login link in the email, go to the brand’s official website to log in. You can find the official website by googling the brand’s name or by typing the address into your browser’s URL bar if you already know it.
Make use of secure public Wi-Fi networks.
You should never use an unprotected (no password) public Wi-Fi network unless absolutely necessary. If you do use one, avoid entering any personal or financial information or logging into any online or mobile accounts.
Hackers have been known to set up bogus Wi-Fi hotspots in order to entice unsuspecting web browsers. When someone connects to the bogus Wi-Fi, the hacker gains access to almost all of their online activities. scary.
When looking for a Wi-Fi connection while out and about, ask a barista or staff member what the name of their Wi-Fi network is. Also, if the password isn’t visible, make sure you get that as well.
With Your Wi-Fi Connection, Use a VPN
A VPN, or virtual private network, secures your device’s internet connection, ensuring that no one can monitor or read your data over the internet. It’s an excellent (and legal) way to keep your connection secure both at home and when using public Wi-Fi.
What is the sole disadvantage of a VPN’s increased security? It may slow down your internet connection. This is due to the VPN encrypting your data as it is routed through another server. We’re assuming you win some and lose some.
Be Wary of Who You and Your Children Trust. Consult with
Cyberbullying, threats, and harassment are all very real online issues. We recommend that you be cautious about who you chat with and engage with online. Make a note of it and use the block button if they cross the line. That is not how you should treat someone.
Children and teenagers may be cyberbullied by their peers, putting them in an awkward position because they know the people involved. As a result, it is critical that you monitor your children’s online activities and make sure they understand what to do if they are bullied online.
Turn off your Bluetooth.
Bluetooth communications, according to a group of academics, can be hacked and even altered. 1 They were able to listen in on and change the content of nearby Bluetooth interactions by exploiting a flaw in the connection.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t use Bluetooth at all times. If it’s not paired with another device and you’re not actively using it, it’s best to turn it off. You might even be able to save some battery life this way.
Make use of anti-virus and anti-malware software.
Never use the internet without some form of security. Even if you’re on a tight budget, antivirus software is either free or inexpensive.
In any case, a small out-of-pocket investment in the program is well worth the risk of dealing with malware—or worse. Also, ensure that any antivirus or antimalware software you have installed is up to date.