Being safe on the internet has become crucial since we spend most of our time online. While the World Wide Web plays a huge part in the lives of many people today for various purposes, it comes with a dangerous side as well.
However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot use the internet for fun and play like streaming the latest single of your favorite pop star. Or utilize it for educational purposes like researching for your senior high geography project.
Nonetheless, you must follow some basic guidelines that ensure optimum security as you browse the web. Whether your surf the internet in your mobile browser or on your PC, some of these recommendations are pretty standard and will ensure protection in the long run.
Basic Tips & Tricks for Online Security
Here are some measures that you can take right away for maximum protection online!
Protect Your Digital Accounts by Using Strong Yet Unique Passwords
A simple way to protect your digital identity is by implementing unique passwords for your online accounts. Most cyber gurus recommend users create a password that is unique and high in strength.
This involves a blend of both uppercase and lowercase letters, with a mix of numbers and various symbols. Digital users are frequently warned against using the same password(s) for multiple online accounts as this puts them at risk.
You may have a hard time if you are one of the forgetful kind and often struggle to remember different passwords for different accounts. If you have kept a phrase for a password, then you could abbreviate it and make it something like “@BReVi@e!T”
Don’t Use Common Phrases Or the Same Password for All Your Social Accounts
While it is believed that having a longer password is beneficial since it is much stronger but that’s only when it doesn’t include common words or phrases.
This is why internet users are consistently advised to not use common passwords like “123456 password” for their digital account(s). This also includes your high-speed internet device. Protecting your connection protects you as well!
Digital users are also advised not to use personal information like their favorite movie or the name of their beloved pet as passwords either. Another piece of advice that digital users will find often repeated is not to use the same password on multiple accounts.
Using unique yet different passwords for different online accounts means that the likelihood of getting hacked is less. This is one of the fool-proof ways that may help you keep your info much safer.
Make Good Use of a Password Organizer
Another way to keep one’s self safe online is by making good use of a password organizer, which can easily be downloaded and help users with their password management.
The one advantage of using a password manager is that it helps generate new and innovative passwords, which are long and ranked high in strength.
With a password manager, users only need to create one master passcode that’s only for the manager, which in turn keeps the other passwords safe.
What’s more, some password managers are free of cost while many others offer a premium service and charge a bit to keep your digital space safe.
One of the most popular password managers, which are known for their highly trusty features includes LastPass and 1Password among plenty of others.
To find more password managers, simply explore and search Google Play store and Apple Store. Click here to find out how you can protect your system and your internet connection from all kinds of cyber dirt and malware.
Enable Multi-Factor Authentication & Never Save Passwords on Your Devices
Many users allow their web browsers to save their passwords on the device. It is ‘highly not recommended’ as it makes the device vulnerable and far more prone to cyberattacks. This is the primary reason why it is always advised that one should use this feature with caution
One thing that most users can also try is to allow multi-factor authentication on various digital accounts.
The advantage of enabling multi-factor authentication is that it forms a protective layer, which secures an account even more because it takes extra security measures to protect your account.
Like sending a code to a user’s smartphone. This step is now followed by most social media accounts and email providers to minimize cyber fraud or online scams.
If a user wants to check whether an online account offers multi-factor authentication, they can do via the Settings page of the website.
Though all this extra caution on the part of the user may seem annoying, it is only a step further to ensure that all private and confidential information is safer.
And much preferred than the mere dependence on the password alone.
Signup on Legitimate Websites Only
Have you ever come across a website that doesn’t let you enter unless you don’t sign up with your current email address for a freebie?
If so, then it is better to be careful for many sites end up stuffing your inbox with spam, which could be downright dangerous.
It is also important to note that many websites are copycat webpages and are designed so neatly that many times, users can’t differentiate between a fake one and a real one.
A simple way to distinguish between a real website and a fake one is to check for misspellings or terrible use of grammar on the site. But this is not the only common sign that’s usually observed by cyber security enthusiasts.
If one notices too many pop-up ads popping up or just some gibberish present on the website, even that is a sign, which indicates that the web page is not right and needs to be blocked right away!
Always Logout Off All Your Accounts Once You Are Done Using Them
This is another step that’s often underestimated for its mere simplicity. But it is the absence of such simple measures that hackers and cyber criminals often are waiting for.
Users are always advised that once they are done using any social media website or email account, it is best to log out.
If you are using a public PC, then it is advised not to input your credit card number or bank account info as these are sensitive information, which should be displayed without care or caution.
That’s why always log out once you are done to keep yourself safe and protected.
Being Safe Online Starts with the Smart Use of Your Social Activity
Being a part of an ever-changing world that’s gradually navigating more towards cyber safety, it is important to follow some of these measures, now more than ever!
Cybersecurity Is No More Just About Digital Safety
Online safety doesn’t just mean that individuals protect themselves, their loved ones, and even others from all kinds of online scams or digital harms, which jeopardize sensitive and confidential data in the process.
It also means protecting ourselves from all kinds of unsafe communication that can affect our mental health or put our well-being at risk. The World Wide Web can often be considered as one unforgiving space that’s often way too harsh for our psychological selves.
Filter, Filter, & Filter All Web Content, Particularly If You Have Kids at Home
It’s important to always be updated with the kind of content that’s available online since we are consistently engaging with it and there is absolutely no boundary to filter out the information reaching our newsfeed streams.
While regulating the internet is still quite a complex task, it is up to individuals, who have to make sure that the digital content that they come across is not hazardous to their mental health, and more so, especially if they have children in the house.
Since kids today have greater access to the web, it is important to follow some digital security measures since children are far more vulnerable than adults are!
Moreover, this has become far more important ever since the pandemic hit the world and global citizens had access to digital freedom only. While cyberbullying or even internet addiction was already considered a menace, it has become greater than ever!
Keep All Social Media Profiles Private
However, there are plenty of other risks posed for digital users, which is why they need to be aware of all the various kinds of content that’s available and the potential risk it may pose for the average parent.
Young users should keep their profiles on social media private. Whether they are on Instagram, TikTok, or Snapchat, all profiles should be kept locked at all times. Moreover, young users are also advised to not share their location on their status.
One reason for keeping their profile private is so that strangers or cyber stalkers cannot access their info online or misuse private data. That’s why one should only make their social media accounts open to family and friends.
Adjust Your Profile Settings & Keep Them Updated at All Times
Even with people you may know on a personal level, your account privacy levels should be adjusted accordingly. This means that under no circumstances should your residential or personal phone/ mobile number should be made accessible to even people you know.
Until or unless you don’t meet them every day, there is simply no need for your child or your teenager to display this info on their social media account.
All such crucial information such as home address, phone number, credit card number, or even social security number should always be hidden. However high privacy can be difficult to achieve if a social media account was initially public and recently became private.
To ensure that personal info does not leak through social media profiles, always check what info is still viewed by people, who may not be your friends. Always review your privacy after every few months to make sure that all details are always kept safe.
Review the Content Before You Post It Online
Another way through which you can ensure optimal digital security is by the content posted or shared online. Before posting any kind of content on your social media account, think about whether it is something that you will regret (now or later) or not.
This is one of the basic steps that one should follow for being safe and secure online. Consistently reviewing content that you post instead of putting it up on a whim is also helpful.
One should follow the grandma rule, according to which if a post embarrasses your teachers, your grandparents, or even future employers, then it should not be put up. If your post doesn’t make you uncomfortable now, then it won’t in the future either.
If the answer is not in the affirmative, then it's best to avoid putting up such content on your social media profile.
Privacy Settings of Others Can Also Affect Your Privacy Online
Another reason for being careful about your posts is that even if your profile is set to private, chances are your friends are lax about theirs. One feature that’s not often controlled is photo tags.
While you may control who sees your photos if your friends are easy-going about privacy, chances are their photos or images can be viewed by anybody
The Bottom Line
To wrap it up, improving cyber-hygiene is as vital as an individual’s hygiene in the real world today. One must follow all kinds of online habits along with regular digital checks for a safer cyber existence.
If it means modifying a few digital behaviors to ensure optimum security online, then so be it. Though one may still have that Utopian image of the internet (that was initially associated with it), it’s no longer practical.
This is why internet users should always be aware of all sorts of insidious threats that are floating on the internet and follow certain guidelines to keep themselves protected at all times.