Staying safe online demands personal responsibility from users
More and more people are gaining access to the internet with every passing day. This increase in the digital crowd also means that hackers and malicious individuals now have a bigger target to aim for.
Given this situation, it is paramount that you and your information remain secure on the online.
Globally, around two-thirds of internet users have already fallen victim to some sort of cyber crime. These digital criminals are opportunistic and they only attack vulnerable targets. While it is impossible to make yourself impervious to every cyber attack, there are some very basic steps you can take to fortify your online presence.
Avoid sharing personal information
It’s quite hard for anyone to keep their personal information safe in this digital world. Internet users should practice special caution while publishing their full name, home address, email address, contact numbers, and images, as they are easily accessible by others. Be vigilant, especially with social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, etc.
Beware of the phishing scams & attacks
We receive a lot of emails containing links. Upon clicking a legitimate-looking link that is secretly suspicious, you will be taken to a website that will automatically start downloading or urge you to download an update or an antivirus or something that really is malware. This malicious software is designed to harm your computer. Never click on links in messages and emails from people you don’t know or vaguely know. These phishing emails have links that lead to websites that can lure you into giving personal information.
Avoid using weak passwords
I’ve seen many internet users signing up for a website using a basic password, thinking there is no way that someone would want to hack their account. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While choosing passwords for online sites and financial accounts like bank accounts, Pay Pal, etc., make sure you never use the same password for multiple accounts. Use a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters to try to make it as complex as possible. The harder your password is for you to remember, the more difficult it will be for someone else to guess it. Avoid words found in the dictionary.
Don’t use public Wi-Fis
Many people don’t see the difference between public Wi-Fi and private networks and are not familiar with the dangers of free public Wi-Fis. In a survey by Kaspersky Lab, 70% of tablet owners and 53% of mobile phone owners said that they use public Wi-Fi hotspots. Users don’t even know the fact that these hotspots are in fact trouble spots for them. It might only be 30 seconds of access to your bank account on that free Wi-Fi at the coffee shop or any other place, but if the network has been compromised, that is more than enough time for a hacker to collect the data he or she needs.
While the convenience factor is there if you must access the accounts, use a VPN to ensure an encrypted connection. You’ll effectively be using a “private tunnel” that encrypts all your data that passes through the network. This can help stop hackers lurking on the network. There are various VPN protocols with built-in encryption available to enhance your online security and keep you 100% secure from hackers, snoopers, and attackers.
Let’s take a high-profile example involving Brits. It was in 2015 that a team of experts hacked three UK politicians, David Davis, Mary Honeyball, and Lord Strasburger, while they were using open Wi-Fi networks. This was done to demonstrate the risks they are exposed to while using public Wi-Fis. If only those politicians were using a service like UK VPN, this incident could have been completely avoided.
Install anti-virus software
Make sure you have anti-virus software installed on your computer and be careful what you download or install on your computer. Try to get the latest security software, web browser and operating system updates, which is the best defense against viruses, malware, and other online threats.