11 Tips to Protect Yourself While You’re on the Internet
The internet is a place that can easily be accessed by anyone, anywhere, at any given time – if they have the knowledge and the correct tools. Different types of people access it – from children and students, to employees and even the least of our interests – cyber criminals and hackers.
As much as we want to stay away from them, we can’t. They’re everywhere and they feed on peoples information for their personal gains. But how do we keep safe from them? Are there really ways on how we can protect our devices and ourselves from these intruders?
It’s always best to take extra precautionary measures while you’re browsing the net. Everyone should know a thing or two about how they can keep their PCs and their overall network environment safe while connected to the web. Here are 11 effective and efficient tips to keep you safe while you’re connected to the internet.
Enable your firewall
Having a firewall active is like having a shield between your computer and the outside world. The firewall acts like some sort of a barrier to whatever’s trying to access or connect to the system through the internet.
Thus, enabling your firewall is like installing a defense mechanism for your computer. You will definitely be aware of everything that would attempt to enter your device through the internet.
Use browsers that you know are safe
There are some browsers that seem unique and rare; they can provide an interesting set of features that can lure you to installing them. However, those browsers might just be a trap.
In using browsers, use those that are trusted and well-known because they wouldn’t be out and available if they weren’t safe. Browsers that are safe and are widely used are Google Chrome, Safari, and Mozilla Firefox. These browsers have an inherent security feature that helps users minimize the risk of obtaining unwanted software like malware, viruses, etc.
Don’t click links that aren’t familiar
Oftentimes, you would receive a random email from some user or site that would contain links you are not very familiar with. It is important that you know that these links can be phishers or fraudsters. The email could come from a website you subscribed to, a product you wanted before but you didn’t purchase, the list goes on.
Normally, these types of emails that come in are emails that say that they’re from banks, promo games, discounts, lotteries, insurance companies, etc.
An anti-virus is not just an annoying program
Yes, we all get annoyed by the constant pop-up of an anti-virus but that is our computer’s way of letting us know that we are in potential danger. Anti-virus software is not just for viruses; it can also detect software that can be a threat or potentially harm our devices such as spyware, malware, worms, and even Trojans.
As much as possible, DO NOT CONNECT to public wi-fi
A public wi-fi that doesn’t require you for a password is usually something to avoid. Most usually, an unsecured public network is a good place for hackers and cyber-criminals to do what they do best – gain access to a certain device, access your accounts, steal your passwords and identity, etc. through the unsecured network.
If you need to use a public wi-fi, be sure to ask the staff or the management on what the exact name of the hotspot is and if it is really safe.
Do not give out sensitive information online
Especially if you’re connected to public wi-fi, NEVER EVER do transactions that are sensitive and important. Avoid using personal identity information (PII) and this includes your full name, date of birth, your license number, security number, and whatever information that is sensitive and personal for you.
Avoid doing financial transactions too.
By the same token, avoiding public wi-fi is a good habit; using VPNs are a good one too. A VPN or a Virtual Private Network is a type of connection that secures your devices by encrypting your internet connection by linking you to a safe server in the middle.
A VPN is more secure because it creates a tunnel between you and the server and only the two of you have access to each other. So, instead of using an unsafe public wi-fi hotspot, use a VPN instead.
Be cautious of what you download
The internet is a place where we can do tons of download without us being charged. However, doing downloads might just put you and your computer at risk from unwanted software. Various browsers have built-in security programs that would confirm if you want to continue a download. Sometimes, these prompts would tell you that the “file” you want to download contains materials that can potentially harm your computer.
Furthermore, you can use your anti-virus software to scan downloaded files first before opening them to ensure that they are safe and harmless.
Windows Alerts won’t pop-up on your browser
One good technique of software vendors and cyber-criminals is they display windows pop-ups on browsers and pretend to be a notification from your operating system. These can both be Windows or Mac and to tell you, a legitimate pop-up would not be coming from your browser.
These are advertisements and should you see them, close the pop-up and just ignore the message. If you’re having trouble closing the pop-up, restart your browser for the message to just disappear.
Manage your passwords accordingly
It is important to note that passwords, sometimes can easily be cracked because some people use personal hints like their birthday, their anniversary, they associate it with their first name, last name, the list goes on. So, it is important that you create a strong password.
You can use a combination of small and capital letters, symbols, and numbers. Furthermore, it is also worth noting to not have the same password for all of your accounts so that intruders will find it difficult to infiltrate your account.
Disconnect when you’re not using wi-fi
While being connected to a public wi-fi, make sure that you disconnect from your wi-fi if you’re not using it anymore. Even if you’re not using it, your device still sucks up bandwidth from that connection, opening an opportunity to cyber-criminals and infiltrators to gain access to your account.
Protecting yourself while you’re connected to the internet is actually not a difficult thing to do. You just have to keep in mind that you’re not the only person using it and that other people might have more sinister plans on why they’re online.