Updated: Jun 20, 2021
Billions of people use the Internet every single day, and knowing how to stay safe while using it is vital. Without the proper safeguards, you open yourself up to identity theft, data theft and even computer damage.
Here are 5 tips on how to surf the internet safely:
1. Use an antivirus
An antivirus is a software designed to detect and destroy computer viruses. These softwares help to ensure that there is no virus in a file. Thus, an effective antivirus can protect against many other kinds of malware, such as ransomware which encrypts your files and demands payment to restore them; trojan horse programs which may seem valid on the surface, but behind the scenes they steal your private information.
2. Use a VPN
Whenever you use the free internet in an area, it's possible that someone else on that network, without you knowing, could start looking through or stealing the files and data sent from your laptop or mobile device. The hotspot owner would also be able to access your data. When you use a VPN (Virus Protection Network), it encrypts your internet traffic, routing it though a server owned by the VPN company. That means nobody, not even the owner of the free Wi-Fi network, can snoop on your data.
3. Enable 2FA (2 Factor Authentication)
Two-factor authentication means you need to pass another layer of authentication, not just a username and password, to get into your accounts. If the data or personal information in an account is sensitive or valuable and the account offers two-factor authentication, you should enable it. It can be irritating, but it’s worth it because it makes your accounts much more secure.
4. Turn Off the 'Save Password' Feature in Browsers
Speaking of what your browser may know about you, most browsers include a built-in password management solution. Think about this. When you install a third-party password manager, it typically offers to import your password from the browser's storage. If the password manager can do that, you can be sure some malicious software can do the same.
5. Don’t click on any link/open any file sent by an anonymous user
Be smart with what you click, it can be in the form of emails, text messages, apps, posts on social media, etc, unless they come from a source you trust. Even then, be cautious, your trusted source might have been compromised or the link might be a fake. Phishing links masquerade as secure websites, hoping to trick you into giving them your credentials, while drive-by download pages can cause malware to automatically download and infect your device.
1. Neil Rubenking served as vice president and president of the San Francisco PC User Group for three years when the IBM PC was brand new. He was present at the formation of the Association of Shareware Professionals. (2021, March 19). 12 simple things you can do to be more secure online. Retrieved March 26, 2021, from https://sea.pcmag.com/antivirus/20924/12-simple-things-you-can-do-to-be-more-secure-online