The internet has transitioned from just a tool to a part of our daily lives. The internet is filled with so many things; if you take some wrong turns, you might face dire consequences.
Surfing on the internet safely is something that everyone can do. You don’t have to be tech-savvy to protect yourself on the internet. In other terms, you don’t need to know martial arts to be protected on the streets. If you know where and how to go, you won’t face any problems.
We have come up with easy tips that you can use to improve your internet security. People using the internet should follow these best practices if they value their data and privacy online.
1. Make your passwords SUPER strong
If you use generic passwords like ‘12345678’ or ‘password,’ change them NOW. Don’t use this type of password. The best kind of password should be:
- A random collection of numbers, letters, and symbols
- A unique password
- More than ten characters long
- Don’t share your password
To learn more about passwords on the internet, quickly read how you can beat hackers with a strong password.
2. Change your social media privacy settings
If you’re using social media accounts, you know they have tons of personal information about you. You will be surprised how much of it is available for users on the internet by default.
If you are curious, Google your name and see the results (check google images and google videos). This is why we strongly recommend you check your privacy settings on your social accounts.
Here are the privacy settings of Facebook.
The ultimate decision is up to you, you can show them to everyone on the internet or just your friends or nobody but yourself.
3. Don’t reuse passwords
This is a very common mistake that beginners and professionals make alike. This is a mistake that most people make. You never know when your passwords will be compromised (yes, it can happen).
The problem with having the same password all across your accounts is that when one gets compromised, the others will follow (just like dominos).
Most applications ask you to change your passwords once every 6 months or a year. Not reusing passwords and changing them is one of the best internet practices.
4. Don’t store confidential data on public storage
Google docs is not the place to store your passwords. Even though it’s linked to your Gmail account, it’s not the place to store sensitive information.
With 2 or three clicks, the file can be shared with a lot of people. Don’t use public storage devices to store your personal data like:
- Scanned copy of the passport
- Scanned copy of the ID
- Bank details
- Passwords and other sensitive information
The summary is that don’t use the services that were meant for sharing as a tool for storing your private data.
5. Backup your data
You never know when disaster will hit you. So it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Backing up your data on a frequent basis will save you a lot of money and time in the long run.
6. Be cautious of suspicious emails
For this one, you’re going to have to go with your gut. It probably is if you get an email that seems too good to be true.
Phishing emails are designed so that they are sent to you by posing as a legitimate person or company. A spyware file may also look genuine.
Sometimes there will be “security professionals” who will tell you that your devices are infected with a virus, and only they know how to take care of it. They will do it for a small fee or get remote access to your computer.
This is how ransomware and other problems start to happen. If you think it’s fake, delete the message!
7. Keep your software up-to-date
Software is not 100% foolproof. So when you get an update, it comes with a security patch solving a current vulnerability that is on the applications. This is why you get a lot of updates for your operating system.
Even though it’s annoying, they are necessary. Always update your programs and operating systems. Don’t let a hacker exploit these flaws and harm you.
Also, delete or deactivate any software, programs, or applications that you're not using. If it’s just there on your computer, it’s better to remove it. These are the best practices to follow for small businesses.
8. Use a VPN
When connecting to the internet, always use a VPN. This will encrypt your data and keep you anonymous from the internet. Another good thing about a VPN is that connecting to public WIFI keeps you safe.
When connected to an unsecured public WIFI, anyone in the same network can have access to your files and to monitor what you will be doing.
9. Use end-to-end encryption
The best modern messaging apps use end-to-end encryption, which means that the message is encrypted when sent and decrypted at the receiver's end.
However, most messaging apps are encrypted, but the data are stored on their servers. However, this means that the provider has access to your messages, and if their servers get compromised, so do your messages.
By default, WhatsApp works with end-to-end encryption, but most of the other applications have this feature. You will have to activate it manually.
10. Disable lock screen notifications
You worked so hard to protect your phone with an amazing unique password. So why do you keep your notifications on the lock screen?
Now anyone passing by will know what you’re up to! Set up notifications correctly to keep that information from appearing on the locked screen. Disable lock-screen notifications or hide sensitive information from your lock screen.
Was any of this helpful? Do you have anything to add to our small list? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.
Do you value your privacy online?
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