Stop and Think About Your Online Safety

As the world continuously shifts to the digital realm, there’s a growing need for online security. Far too many people browse the web without realizing they’re at potential risk. How can one better secure themselves online?

Nevertheless, how can you keep your information and profiles safe on the internet? This article touches on a few ways to protect yourself while using the internet or browsing the web.

Online Transactions

If you’re someone who enjoys online shopping, gambling, or any activity that requires banking details, your information and money could be at risk. It’s important to read up on the shop or casino you intend on visiting to ensure their facilities are safe and SSL encrypted. For example, suppose you want to visit the BetMGM online casino. In that case, it’s best to read a BetMGM review first, or if you were to shop at an online retailer, you’d first inquire about their reliability and legitimacy.

Spam and Phishing

Spam refers to unsolicited or unwanted junk mail. These are different from newsletters. The emails are sent in bulk and often have links with malware attached or links to sites trying to sell you something. You can avoid spam by enabling filters in your email client and hiding your email from social network sites. You can report spam emails to your provider so they can block the specific addresses in the future.

Spam emails often include links that allow phishing attacks. These attacks will track your keystrokes to collect passwords, personal information, and download malware onto your device. You can also find spam and phishing links on social media posts or online ads. 

Always be suspicious of emails asking you to go to another site, click on a link, or enter your personal information. Make sure these emails are coming from official emails and websites. If anything seems suspicious, report the message or reach out to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG). If you get a suspicious email from a company like your bank, it’s best to call them and ask about it to validate if it’s real.

Malware and Bots

Malware or viruses are harmful programs or tracking software that can destroy your device and give hackers access to your personal information and accounts. A virus is a type of malware designed to spread from device to device and provide hackers with access to anything it infects.

Spyware is a type of malware designed to download itself onto your computer discreetly. Usually, it gains access when you visit a website or download an attachment. Once downloaded, hackers can use it to control your device, track your online activity, and access your accounts.

Botnets are networks of computers infected by malware that allow hackers to launch a bigger attack or harvest data. The malware turns your device into a farm for information or computing power. Hackers use this for identity fraud or to launch attacks on large networks.

Ransomware is another type of malware you might come across. It works the same as others, where it downloads itself when you click a link or view an attachment. This malware locks your files and accounts then holds them for ransom. Victims are told they can only get their information back once they pay the demanded fee. Often the data is used for malicious purposes regardless of the action taken by the victim.

It’s best to have an updated antivirus and scan your device regularly to avoid nasty viruses. As mentioned before, never click on a link or download an attachment that looks suspicious. Even if you know who sent it, delete anything that doesn’t look right. It’s also important to make sure you scan devices like hard drives and USB sticks when you plug them in.

Secure Connections

You can do a few things to ensure your home Wi-Fi network is always safe for all your devices.

  • Rename everything:

When you first get your router set up, it will have a default username, password, and network name. Be sure to change these, as a default network name often gives hackers easy access to important information about your setup. You can also hide your network name.

  • Passwords:

We know it’s easier to use the same password for everything, but it’s not practical. Make sure the password you use for your wireless network is secure

  • Updates:

Just like your PC and phone, routers need to be updated regularly or replaced.

  • Encryption:

You should be able to encrypt your wireless network, so there is an extra layer of security, passwords, and encryption for hackers to go through.

Safe Browsing

Even if you have an antivirus and have secured your internet connection, hackers can still track your information through your IP address. One way to avoid this is by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). These are proxy networks that allow you to browse using their IP addresses. This will make it almost impossible for hackers to track you because you aren’t browsing using your IP address. Additionally, you can connect to networks worldwide and view the content you wouldn’t have been able to view otherwise.

Final Thoughts

Cyber security has been a big topic over the last decade. It seems we are constantly fighting a battle to keep our personal information out of the hands of nefarious hackers. Hopefully, after this article, you have got a good idea of how you can protect yourself from cyber-attacks. 

Featured Image Credit: Pexels