Thanks to the invention of the internet, we are now being able to access information like never before. However, just like any other thing, the internet has the potential of harming us and the people who are using it. Often, we read news about a company falling victim to a cyber-attack or some of our relatives’ or friends’ accounts being hacked. And believe me, these threats are for real.
However, if you think that only a few of the websites can plant spyware on your computer, be ready to be surprised. Spyware hides in every nook and cranny of the internet and often it waits for its prey in such places, where you would not even expect it. All you need to do is to make a wrong move and voila! Your account information gets compromised.
So, now you might think that ‘How can you stay safe on the internet”, don’t worry, below we have curated a list of a few facts about how to be safe on the internet, which can help you to stay safe while browsing the internet.
1. Don’t Create an Account Unless you’re 13
According to US law, you can not create an account for any website under the age of 13. COPPA, the US law basically prohibits the collection of data from children ages under 13. Often various social media sites charge $.50 for each underage signup, just to disallow the creation of a child account. So, you might say that you will lie about your age and your account will be created. So, a word of caution for you! Lying about your age might lead to the termination or removal of the account. The only exception to this rule is those sites, who never collect or allow the collection of user data. These websites are basically targeted towards kids.
2. Sign Up Only on Legitimate Sites
While creating an account on a website, be very careful, only if it needs your email address. It doesn’t matter how safe the password you are using; unsafe sites will always put your information in danger. Avoid websites with lots of gibberish contents and websites that are basically copycats of other legitimate websites.
3. Use Strong Unique Passwords
You might think “is my password safe?” There are several ways to create a safe password that is difficult to crack. Always use a mix of numbers, special characters, upper and lower case, etc. Also, try to use different passwords for different accounts. Yes! I know they are harder to remember. But they are also way safer. Also, don’t create a password that can be easily guessed.
4. Multi-Factor Authentication
After setting up a strong password now you might ask, “is my email account safe?” I would say, you are slowly reaching the point of creating a safe account, but you need to work a bit more. Now you should enable multi-factor authentication on your accounts. Multi-factor authentication makes an account even more secure by requiring an extra layer of information in order to let you log in. Most of the cases, you’ll get an OTP on your phone in order to log in to your account.
5. Avoid Providing Personal Details
I know! This seems quite obvious! But believe me, many of us still make this error of giving out personal details to complete strangers. So, please don’t provide any of your personal information to someone you don’t know properly and only have talked on the internet. Also, make sure that you are not telling strangers about your most favorite local restaurant or store as it can provide a fair idea about the area where you live.
VIDEO Credit: AmazeOrg YouTube Channel
6. Don’t Meet Someone You Met Online
Yeah! I know dating sites exist and blind dating is still a thing. However, try not to meet people in person, with whom you’ve only talked to online. If you need to meet someone unknown, it would be a great idea to bring any of your friends along. Even if none of your friends can tag with you, make sure someone knows your whereabouts and whom you’re meeting with.
7. Avoid Emails from Unknown People
Emails are one of the best things that the internet has bought for us. However, it’s a no brainer. We have talked many times about phishing emails or spam mails. So, avoid these unknown emails, even if they say that you have won millions of dollars in a lottery. It’s a scam! These emails often contain links that can plant spyware on your PC and in no time your security and personal information might be compromised.
8. Clear your Browsing History Regularly
9. Shop from Encrypted Sites
While shopping online, or logging into your bank account, check the URL out and make sure it starts with “https”, not “http”. Here the “S” means that the website encrypts data, thus it cannot be stolen easily. Also, watch out for a small lock icon in the URL field. Additionally, avoid saving any payment information on an e-commerce site. While it can be beneficial for you, in case of any cyber attack on the site, your data might be compromised.
10. Avoid Public Wi-Fi
Don’t use the Wi-Fi networks that can be found in restaurants, hotels, or airports. These are often unsecured, and it’s easy for cybercriminals to track you or your information. Only connect to a public network, if you are in absolute need of an internet connection. However, in these cases proceed with extreme caution and use a VPN, that can help you to stay safe.