The internet’s boundless creativity is what keeps many internet users engaged. However, unsafe surfing can lead to cyber threats – from embarrassing comments on one’s social media posts to getting mixed with some people you would rather have had nothing to do with. Besides, malicious hackers are still on the lookout for internet users’ personal and financial information.
It is in your best interest to take the right precautions to keep your desktops, iPads, laptops, and iPhones safe while using the internet. Today, not many people know that it is easy to learn how to monitor an iPhone without them knowing. And you don’t want the wrong person to spy on you. Here are important safety rules to follow to stay away from trouble online and offline.
1. Limit the personal information you share online
Sure, potential employers and clients are likely to check your social media profiles and other online platforms where your name appears. They need to see your professional background, expertise, and how to get in touch with you.
So, you don’t need to share your home address, relationship status, where you spend your weekends, and other details about your personal life. Don’t hand all the information about you to millions of people online.
2. Keep your device’s privacy settings ‘on’
Modern marketers desire to know more about their target audience, and so do malicious hackers. Both can learn a lot about you from your social media profiles and browsing data. Marketers need your information to offer you the specific answers you seek online, and that’s a good reason. On the other hand, hackers need your data, but no for good reasons.
The good news is that you can limit the information they can access. Both mobile operating systems and web browsers have specific settings to protect your privacy online. Social media giants like Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter have privacy-enhancing features and settings. Be sure to enable these privacy settings and keep them active.
3. Use a secure internet connection
Whenever you use a public Wi-Fi connection, you have no direct control over the connection’s security. Most corporate cybersecurity experts pay special attention to ‘endpoints’ – these are places where private networks connect to the world. Note that your endpoint is the local internet connection.
It is recommended to use a reliable VPN (Virtual Private Network) to encrypt the connection between your smartphone or other devices and an internet server. That means no one can snoop or access the data you are exchanging.
4. Use strong passcodes
Passcodes or passwords are one of the weak spots when it comes to internet security. The problem with passcodes is that many people choose easy-to-remember passwords such as their last name, date of birth, simple numbers such as 12345, their mother’s maiden name, and more. It is easy for cybercriminals to guess these passwords.
It is advisable to choose a strong password that no one can guess. That doesn’t mean your passwords should have a thousand characters. You can have an 8-character password with mixed letters, special characters, and numbers. Don’t use details connected directly to your personal information as a password.
5. Buy stuff from secure online shopping platforms
Every time you want to buy something online, you must provide payment information such as bank account-related information, credit card data, PayPal account data, and more. These are the details cybercriminals are itching to get their hands on. It is in your best interest to shop from secure shopping platforms. Check the ‘padlock’ sign next to the https web address just to be sure that the site is secure.
6. Be careful about the strangers you talk to online
Some of the people you meet online are not who they claim to be. And others are not even real. Hackers use fake social media profiles to cozy up unwary internet users and probably pick their cyber pockets! So, be cautious when interacting with strangers on social media and other online platforms.
It is important to install antivirus programs in your devices and keep them up-to-date. The program will detect malware and remove it. Remember, you must implement the other six internet usage rules mentioned. Other tips to help you surf the web safely include being cautious about the links or files you open, enable two-factor authentication, and online security measures.