8 Tips to Help Keep You Safe Online
Try following these tips to protect important information
The vast majority of people have access to the internet, which is great. It allows everyone to stay connected, share information, and collaborate. It can also be risky. Here are eight tips to help you stay safe while surfing the internet.
1. Keep It Professional
Once information is put online, it is out there. You can't get it back. So, pretend that your grandmother and boss will see everything you post online. Who knows, they might even be looking at it right now, together. Make it a habit to keep your online presence professional and prudent. If you wouldn't want a potential employer to know something about you, don't share it with the online world.
2. Set Up a Secure Connection
Wi-Fi is great, It lets you connect to the internet wirelessly from virtually anywhere you can get a signal. However, before you start working at the local coffee house, consider that public Wi-Fi is just that, public. Heed the warnings that tell you that any information you send could potentially be viewed by others. It doesn't matter if you don't know how to access people's information, someone at the next table might. If you must use wireless networks, consider setting up a virtual private network (VPN) to secure and encrypt your data.
3. Use Internet Security
Internet security tools generally come in packages that can range from very basic to incredibly complex. Even if you opt for the lowest plan, however, you should have access to virus protection and basic firewall protection. These will help keep you safe from some attacks and threats, or, at the very least, alert you to their presence.
4. Browse Safely
Browsing can sometimes lead you down a rabbit hole. You keep searching for something and it leads you from one website to another. Don't make the mistake of assuming that all of the sites you visit are reputable. Use common sense when deciding if that site looks legitimate. Just like you probably wouldn't choose to walk down the street in a dangerous neighborhood, don't spend time visiting potentially dangerous websites.
5. Watch Site Security
Stay on secured websites when possible. This is particularly important when you are transmitting personal information. That could mean a credit or debit card, bank account numbers, or even your full name, address, date of birth, or social security number. If it can be used to identify you, it could be attractive to potential identity thieves. If you happen to notice the small padlock in the corner of your URL field, then the site you are on is secure. Another good sign is when you see https instead of http in a web address. The "s" on the former indicates that the site is secure as well.
6. Create Complex Passwords
Your passwords should be complex and unique. As tempting as it is, do not use birthdays, anniversaries, or the names of your pets. Try to include a combination of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and a symbol or two to make it extra challenging. You'll want to use a different password for every account, too. While that may seem like an incredibly daunting list to remember, there are password managers that can help you keep them organized across devices.
7. Click With Care
Just because there is a link or a popup says "Click Here!" doesn't mean you should actually click. Ask yourself if you wanted to go to that site before. If the link is in an email, is it from someone you know? If so, is it in line with something they would ordinarily send to you? If you have any doubt, contact the person or company that sent the email through a phone number or email address you already have to double-check.
8. Stay Aware of Scams
Because it can be hard to determine if emails or online messages are authentic, it is important to keep up with current scams that are being used. This can help you stay alert and know what to look out for. Don't hesitate to delete anything that seems suspicious or leave a website that doesn't seem quite right.
Being aware is a big part of internet safety. Employing these tools can help you stay safe and secure no matter what you are doing online.