The following are 10 tips we gathered for you to stay safe online.
1. Don’t Use Public WiFi for Sensitive Things.
Yes it is true. Public WiFi is right there when you need it, and ok you can surf the internet quickly and free.
This however could come at a pretty big cost: Your private and financial details. Around 24% of worldwide WiFi hotspots don’t use any reliable encryption at all. This percentage might not seem that bad, but consider this – it’s estimated there will be approximately 432 million hotspots around the world by 2020. So, that means around 100 million hotspots are unsecured.
Please make sure you aren’t using public WiFi (secured or unsecured) to access sensitive information. Ideally, you should only use it for regular online browsing. Not to check your email, bank account, or social media profile(s). If you really need to do that, use your data plan instead.
Also read more here Public WiFi Security: 9 Steps to Protect Yourself
2. Use Strong, Complex and Separate Passwords to Stay Safe Online.
Know how important it is to have a reliable password for any account you use. But while that is well-known, people still don’t seem to listen. In fact, statistics show that approximately 86% of global passwords are extremely weak.
Have different passwords for each account. Having one strong password you use for all accounts isn’t the safest way to go.
Our best advice: use a password manager to help you store and create strong passwords for all of your accounts.
If you do not have a password manager then you can also get some great tips from our « Make More Secure Passwords (and remember them) – easily! » post
3. Practice Safe Surfing & Shopping.
When shopping online, or visiting websites for online banking or other sensitive transactions, always make sure that the site’s address starts with « https », instead of just « http ».
Basically, if HTTP is used on a website instead of HTTPS, it means there is no security in place to encrypt your online communications with said website. So, anyone could see what you’re doing on it. See the problem? It’s very easy for a hacker to compromise your passwords, bank accounts, and credit cards this way.
How can you tell if a website uses HTTPS encryption? Pretty simple – here are some signs:
- The URL address starts with « https » instead of « http ».
- A green padlock icon is present in the address bar, right before the URL address.
- The company name is displayed after the padlock icon (not all the time, though).
- The most obvious one – the browser lets you know it’s not a safe website.
4. Keep Up To Date.
Keep all your software updated so you have the latest security patches. Turn on automatic updates so you don’t have to remember running updates, and make sure that your security software is set to run regular scans and get’s the latest virus definitions & security updates.
5. Stay Safe Online By Not Keeping Bluetooth Turned On.
As a general rule of thumb, you should only turn Bluetooth on when you need to share files with someone you know on the spot. When you’re done, though, you should immediately switch Bluetooth off. Why? Because leaving it on can compromise your online security.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Bluetooth is susceptible to various cybernetic attacks, such as:
- Bluebugging (can result in unwanted spam)
- Bluejacking (endangers your private info)
- Bluesnarfing (can cause unwanted pairing + loss of control over the device)
So, make sure you never keep Bluetooth on at all times. Also, take the time to ensure your device isn’t “discoverable” through Bluetooth if there is a setting for that on the platform you use.
6. Be Careful Who You Meet Online to Stay Safe.
People you meet online are not always who they claim to be. Indeed, they may not even be real. Fake social media profiles are a popular way for hackers to cozy up to unwary Web users and pick their cyber pockets. Be as cautious and sensible in your online social life as you are in your in-person social life.
Also read How to reveal fake Facebook profiles
7. Be Careful What You Download.
A top goal of cybercriminals is to trick you into downloading malware—programs or apps that carry malware or try to steal information. This malware can be disguised as an app: anything from a popular game to something that checks traffic or the weather. As PCWorld advises, don’t download apps that look suspicious or come from a site you don’t trust.
8. Practice Safe Browsing.
You wouldn’t choose to walk through a dangerous neighborhood—don’t visit dangerous neighborhoods online. Cybercriminals use lurid content as bait. They know people are sometimes tempted by dubious content and may let their guard down when searching for it. The Internet’s demimonde is filled with hard-to-see pitfalls, where one careless click could expose personal data or infect your device with malware. By resisting the urge, you don’t even give the hackers a chance.
9. Keep Your Privacy Settings On.
Marketers love to know all about you, and so do hackers. Both can learn a lot from your browsing and social media usage. But you can take charge of your information. As noted by Lifehacker, both web browsers and mobile operating systems have settings available to protect your privacy online. Major websites like Facebook also have privacy-enhancing settings available. These settings are sometimes (deliberately) hard to find because companies want your personal information for its marketing value. Make sure you have enabled these privacy safeguards, and keep them enabled to stay safe online.
You may also want to read Devious Facebook quiz uses your picture in ads
10. Keep Your Guard Up.
Always be cautious about what you do online, which sites you visit, and what you share. Use comprehensive security software, and make sure to backup your data on a regular basis in case something goes wrong. By taking preventative measures, you can save yourself from headaches later on.