The Internet has been integrated into our lives with an estimated 3,885,567,619 people across the globe having an active online presence, according to World Internet Stats.
The web has transformed how we consume information, access entertainment, and connect with one another, but that availability and convenience doesn’t come without potential hazards. From hacking and identity theft to harassment and trafficking, the list of cybercrimes is extensive, and the danger is real.
To protect yourself from these risks, use these 6 tips below for secure internet use and safety:
Enable Privacy Settings on Websites
Most social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram give users the option to make their account private, stopping non-followers from viewing their status updates or profile information. Turn on these privacy settings, if they aren’t enabled yet, to minimize the likelihood of a hacker or predator accessing data about your personal life.
While tagging your location in posts is fun, it can be dangerous. When possible, avoid tagging where you are in your post, especially when out of town for extended periods of time. According to Lifewire, each time you post a “check-in,” a large audience, some of whom you don’t even know, can learn the details of your routines and activities.
Opt for Unique, Complex Passwords
The average internet user chooses a simple, uncomplicated password that’s simple to remember and can be duplicated for all accounts. The challenge with passwords that use a name, birthdate, or generic number sequence is that they’re easy for criminals to guess. They can likely scour your social profiles for pets’ names, birthdays, and other personal pieces of information that may lead them to your password.
To reduce the chances of this compromised security, use a different password for each account and make them obscure with a combination of letters, numbers, or symbols. If you’re concerned about forgetting them, Digital Trends advises downloading a password manager software.
With a password manager, you only have to remember your main unlock code, the manager then remembers and stores passwords for all of your online accounts. Check out LastPass and Keep Security, two of the most popular password managers.
Use a Two-Step Verification Process
To reduce the risk of remote logins on unprotected websites, someone hacking into your account from an undisclosed location, enable a two-step verification under the privacy settings of each online account.
This feature provides an extra layer of identification: “Instances where a remote login attempt is made, the user is prompted to enter not only the account’s login credentials but also a code generated via phone or text,” according to the guide, How to Protect Your Digital Identity. Without that code to authenticate the correct user identity, a hacker can’t encroach on your personal information.
Be Mindful about Posting Content
The internet has an unforgiving memory, so the content you broadcast through social media, blogs, forums and other channels is permanently embedded in cyberspace. Even deleting an inappropriate or thoughtless post doesn’t erase all records from existence, because many websites, including Facebook, store copies of deleted images and statuses on backup files, meaning the evidence is accessible if someone knows where to look.
It’s crucial to maintain tactfulness when posting if you would be embarrassed for a parent, relative or employer to view the content, then you should have no business publicizing it online.
Exercise Caution with Other Users
Exercise the same degree of wariness online as around a suspicious person on the street. Seemingly harmless usernames, ads, and websites might be connected to predators, hackers, and other cyber-criminals who victimize the indiscreet, unsuspecting, or naive.
InfoWorld has reported cases of LinkedIn users being lured into identity theft situations through fake profiles attached to espionage networks. Similar methods are used by traffickers and sex offenders who form relationships with their targets online, learning intimate details about them and ultimately convincing them to meet in person.
Take Your Safety Seriously
The internet is a valuable resource for career advancement, social connections, and global awareness, but making safe usage a priority is essential. Remember these strategies to stay safe as you reap the benefits of our online world and Internet. We can enjoy the good without dealing with the bad when we’re safe, secure and prepared.
To your Internet Safety,