Everything you do nowadays is connected to the Internet, even if you don’t know it. That’s how ingrained the Internet is in our society. Your hobbies, your job, maybe even your life, is in some way connected to the Internet.
And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! However, this inherent connection to the Internet means your data, your activity, and your identity are at risk. So, that said, there are ways to protect yourself online.
You’ll want to read through these tips and implement them as fast as possible if you haven’t already. Staying vigilant and keeping your activity safe is key to staying safe in an interconnected world.
1. Keep Your Network Secure and Encrypted
Let’s kick off this list by talking about how many cybercriminals steal information: through a network. We need networks to connect to the Internet, but not every network is outfitted to ward off hackers and cybercriminals—especially public networks since they often lack encryption.
To keep yourself and your devices safe, make sure you’re always on an encrypted network when doing anything regarding your personal information. Failing that, you can also encrypt your device and protect yourself with a VPN. The important thing is that you have some overall protection on whatever network you’re on.
2. Update Your Passwords
Not counting two-factor authentication, passwords are the only thing standing between your personal information and cybercriminals. For this very reason, it’s important that you only use long and secure passwords.
However, you may want to also change your passwords frequently. Even the strongest passwords can be cracked given enough time. If this seems too bothersome, you can also change the passwords of accounts that hold personal information as well, such as your banking accounts.
3. Don’t Give Out Too Much Information
Social media encourages users to share everything about them, including where they are, where they are going, and what they’re up to. Think about that—personal information uploaded for the world to see.
No one is saying not to post on social media. However, don’t post anything that could give away your personal information—information like your location, your whereabouts, or any other personal information.
4. Take Advantage of Anti-Malware/Anti-Virus Software
Even if you were to take every single precaution before you log onto the Internet, never share an ounce of personal information, and essentially keep yourself walled off from the Internet, malware can still find its way onto your devices and network.
Legitimate websites can be infected with malware such as crypto-miners. Highly-rated programs can contain a virus no one knows about. Because of this, it’s a good idea to run frequent scans on your devices and network to confirm that no malware is present on them.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, as they say!
5. Avoid Strange Links and Websites
Finally, the golden rule of the Internet: stay away from anything that seems suspicious, fake, or too good to be true.
It’s easy to fall for scammers and fraudsters on the Internet, and you’ve probably come face-to-face with fake links, sketchy websites, and dangerous spam emails. Even entertaining the thought of clicking on these puts you in harm’s way.
It seems like common sense to not interact with these types of dangers, but many do because scammers have grown smarter, and cybercriminals have evolved their tactics.
Avoiding these seemingly-obvious dangers is key to staying secure on the Internet.
Cybercriminals, scammers, and even companies view your personal data as a way to exploit you for profit. For this reason, it’s important you do whatever you can to protect yourself, including your data, while online.