The issue of personal safety extends to all facets of life, and that includes the World Wide Web. You have likely heard about hacks, malware, phishing, and scams, but have you taken the necessary steps to protect yourself? Read on for our top 5 online safety tips.
1. Vary your passwords and make them strong.
Although it may be easy to use the same simple password for all of your accounts, it’s not the best idea. In addition to using different passwords for each account you have, experts recommend that you make them long and complex with a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
2. Think before you click.
Malicious links are often disguised as links to trusted sites, but you can double-check the veracity of the source by looking at the URL. Hackers and spammers use URL shorteners such as bitly or TinyURL, but you can use sites like Check Short URL and Get Link Info to make sure the link is safe. This advice also applies to downloading files. Many illegitimate sites claim to offer free songs and movies, which sounds enticing at first glance, but the files often contain malware.
3. Be selective about sharing your information.
From your last name to your location, there are some things that are best left private. The rule of thumb is to refrain from posting anything you wouldn’t want the whole world to see. You should also be careful about sharing photos of yourself. Selfies are fun, but not when they get into the wrong hands.
4. Only buy from trusted websites.
When making online purchases, stick to websites with secure, encrypted connections. You can easily identify safe sites by looking at its address – it should start with https (the S stands for “secure”) rather than http. There may also be a padlock icon next to the address bar. In addition, you should try to avoid sharing your bank and credit card information unless absolutely necessary. Most e-commerce sites support Paypal and Google Pay, which keeps your information hidden from the seller.
5. Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible.
Two-factor authentication is a feature used by sites like Google, Facebook, and Twitter that allows users to secure their accounts by requiring an extra code in addition to their password. This code is typically sent to a secondary email or the user’s mobile phone via text. If you enable two-factor authentication, a hacker will be unable to gain access to your accounts even if they have your username and password.
How do you maintain your online safety? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter!