The Internet is a magical place that lets you find almost anything you are looking for. However, it is also a dangerous place as you can come across things you’d rather not encounter. An experienced internet user can discern between safe and unsafe practices most of the time, but one can never be too careful.
Hackers, fraudsters, and other cybercriminals are perfecting their techniques, so it is becoming more and more difficult to stay safe online by simply using common sense.
There are numerous steps you can take to avoid losing valuable data or having your PC infected with viruses. Many of them are completely free, while others are definitely worth paying for. We’ve listed the best tips below, so make sure to use them and avoid future headaches and regrets.
1. Create ‘Bulletproof’ Passwords
This is your first line of defense when going online. A strong password will deter hackers and make it unworthwhile for them to try and break it. When creating a password, you should make it at least 15 characters long. Moreover, make sure to include small letters, capitalized letters, numbers, and special characters. Passwords are usually broken by sophisticated software, and these types of combinations are the most difficult to break.
Also, never use the same password more than once. If a hacker figures out your password, the first thing they will do is try it on every website where you are registered with your email address. If you are worried that you cannot remember all the passwords you are using, you can use password manager software — it will do the hard work for you.
2. Hire Professionals to Keep You Safe
This tip is intended for business owners, especially those who run smaller companies. Hiring an IT security company might seem like an additional expense, but it is worth it if you have multiple employees and a lot of data that needs to be kept safe.
For example, a company like Tech Brain can make sure that your connection is secured at all times, find and eliminate your vulnerability points, provide data recovery, educate your employees about safe practices, and more. It’s an added investment, but down the road, you will be happy you made it.
3. Avoid Unsecured Websites (HTTP vs. HTTPS)
You must have noticed that some website domains use the prefix http://, whereas others use https://. Whenever possible, you should avoid the former one. HTTP means that the website in question is not using SSL encryption to encode your valuable information on the public internet. You can read more about that here. This means that anyone who intercepts the communication between you and the website will be able to see everything you have shared.
Following this rule is especially important when it comes to e-commerce websites. Never purchase anything from websites that do not use a secured connection and do not have an https://prefix. Doing that means you are potentially leaving your bank account details on a plate for someone else.
4. Be Careful About What You Share
Nowadays, most people use the Internet to browse through social media websites. Staying safe online does not only mean worrying about what you ‘take’ from the Internet, but what you ‘give’ to it as well. It’s tempting to share a lot of personal details about yourself on social media profiles and show everyone how well you are doing. But it’s not a very smart idea to do that.
For example, by using geo-location and ‘checking in’ on your photos, you are letting everyone know where you are at a given time. People often share information about their home, workplace, favorite cafe, holiday plans, and so on. With all this information, it would be easy to figure out someone’s daily habits and use them against that person.
5. Avoid Public Wi-Fi and Chargers
You might already know that public wi-fi hotspots are not safe. A cybercriminal can log in to them and obtain information about the device you are using to access the Internet on that public network. That can make the door to your personal information wide open.
Public chargers are also a bad idea and should be used with caution. When you attach a public charger to your phone, you do not know what is on the other side of the cable. Someone might have installed a hacking device that could infect your device or download sensitive data from it. Therefore, use this option only as a last resort.