Digital Privacy: How to Keep Yourself Safe Online
Clearly, the internet isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. From cell phones to laptops, It’s become part of our everyday lives.
It’s used for working and learning and at this point, the internet and society have become fully integrated.
Unfortunately, with the internet comes the concern regarding privacy. You might hear about a recent email scam that managed to rig a few thousand out of various vulnerable individuals or maybe you’re worried about Google or Amazon listening in on your private conversation (No, Google - I wasn’t talking to you!).
Are you giving away your personal information? How can you protect yourself from scams or fraud?
Here’s How You Can Stay Safe & Protect Yourself Online:
1. Password Protection
That little colored line at the bottom telling you when your password is strong or not - pay attention to it. Avoid using passwords like ‘password’ or ‘123456’ or ‘myname.’ These are easy to hack or guess. If you use these easy-to-hack passwords, you’re setting yourself up for someone to come along and get into your accounts.
Instead, use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols in your passwords. Make them unique. Try not to use words.
Longer passwords are also much stronger and if you have trouble remembering them, use a password manager to help you keep them safe and to help you remember them!
2. Enable the 2-Step Authentication Process on ALL Your Accounts
This adds an additional wall of protection. Usually, you can find this option in your account settings. It requires you to log-in using your password, but then also provide an additional piece of information after this. Sometimes, it may involve a code being sent to your phone number or another email address.
It may seem like a hassle but this small extra step could save you big time!
3. Be Mindful of Where You Create Accounts
Not all sites are created equally. In fact, some of them are made just to scam you (we’re not kidding here!). Yes, bad people exist. If the site doesn’t seem legit, don’t enter your information. And absolutely, do not fill out your credit card information.
Easy ways to spot these types of websites include pop-ups, a lack of an SSL certification, gibberish addresses, or spelling mistakes.
4. Always Log Off When You’re Done
Never leave yourself logged in - especially on a public computer. At home, you’re probably fine to stay logged in. Just make sure to put your computer on sleep, lock, or shut down mode when you’re done.
5. Avoid Saving Your Financial Info on Sites
Buying items online is huge now and for a good reason. It’s convenient and oh-so-easy, but at the same time, a lot of sites try to save your payment info. Try to avoid doing this. It leaves you vulnerable to credit card fraud or theft.
6. Set Your Social Media Accounts to Private
Don’t want unsolicited messages? Switch your account to private. This keeps your social media between you and your friends and family. It also prevents others from making fake accounts using your photos or info. It further may prevent cyberbullying, allowing only your friends to see what you post.
Read more about working to prevent cyberbullying here.
7. Never Give Away Your Personal Info or Financial Info to Someone You Met Online
Online scams happen every single day. And while we always want to think the best of people, you just can’t trust those you’ve only met online. You don’t know who they are. There is almost no way to verify it. So, avoid giving out your personal info, such as your name, address, or payment information to anyone you meet online.
8. Don’t Open Messages or Emails from People/Companies You Don’t Know
And in addition to this, never click on links in these emails from people or companies you don’t know as well. It could contain a virus or a hack that you potentially could seriously regret.
Be cautious and if you’re not sure, don’t take the risk.
9. Use Secure Internet Connections
… especially when performing tasks like online banking or paying your taxes. Maybe stick to doing these sorts of activities at home where you can be sure you’re safe and protected.
Make sure you don’t log into your online banking on a strange wifi and if you absolutely have to access your bank, make sure you use your cellular network instead.
10. Install a VPN on Your Device
VPN’s have also become popular in the past couple of years because of their ability to hide your information and keep your internet connection secure and secret. There are a few that you can install as Chrome Extensions and others that come with firewall software.
However you can get it, we’d recommend getting one before you continue surfing the web.
While some of the above may seem fairly obvious, people still overlook them. Don’t get yourself caught in a jam! Know the ins and outs of internet privacy and safety before you click unknown links or open up any accounts.
Protect yourself and your family! Share these tips with your kids and loved ones.
Most people have tons of personal information online. Keep yours safe by using your good ol’ noggin! Then, go ahead and realm the internet as far as your heart desires. You can learn new activities or even new languages all online. This age we live in is pretty crazy! Technology only continues to advance so who knows where it will go from here!
Want to learn more about the possible harmful side of social media? Read this article next!