Internet security is a growing concern of all citizens of the digital galaxy. The online realm is teeming with harmful software, frivolous offers, identity thefts, cyber criminals and other menaces that lurk in dark corridors. Indeed, it has become a primary source for unlawful procurement of passwords, data, financial and sensitive information, etc. On the brighter note, there are many ways to steer away from these dangers. After all, your safety depends on the habits you exhibit, not dumb luck.
First off, you must develop a deeper understanding of how a legitimate, trustworthy website looks like. The first thing to do is check the address bar and look for a green padlock in the left corner. It is one of the best telltale signs that confirm the website is reliable and safe. A two-factor authorization process is another good indication that a site adheres to safety principles. You can also do a background check on the company you encounter and figure out if it is real or not.
Moreover, note that there is no shortage of websites that appear as convincing imitations of various charities, banks, government agencies, etc. Bear in mind that fake online contests and sweepstakes are pretty common as well. So, be extra careful when handing over your personal information and never do it before you inspect the website thoroughly. Requests to do so or make a payment should never be taken lightly because they are most likely bogus.
Avoid using debit cards when shopping online because credit cards offer more protection. Monitor your bank accounts regularly for any suspicious and unauthorized transactions. It pays off to contact your bank and get to know what security measures it uses to safeguard your finances. Pay special attention to guarantees for fraud protection. And in case you do fall prey to scams, report it immediately to local authorities or Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
You shall not pass
Your computer must be guarded by several layers of protection. An up-to-date combination of an anti-virus, anti-malware and anti-spyware programs is a must. Free packages of well-known platforms offer limited safety measures, which is to say you still need to be very careful when wandering cyber highways and byways. Business users may need advanced solutions like remote software to improve service, keep their networks secure, and boost customer satisfaction and safety.
Furthermore, use strong internet passwords. It is quite astonishing that the most used passwords in the world are cartoonishly bad: 123456, password and qwerty. Using your own name or date of birth is not recommended. In fact, experts argue that people should stay away from any passwords that contain real phrases and stick to random strings of numbers, symbols and letters. What’s more, they underline the importance of using different passwords for every single service.
Finally, refrain from connecting to open networks. The surge in mobile platforms has contributed to this problem. It may be convenient not to have to type in the password, but this puts you at a higher risk. Namely, you expose your data to any wrongdoers with the access to the same network. It would be child’s play for hackers to steal sensitive information and find their way to your bank account. At the very least, do not perform actions such as shopping when using open networks.
Safe and sound
More and more businesses and services migrate online and while this trend gives customers a great freedom of choice, it also faces them with dire security threats. The good news is that the aforementioned best practices go a long way in minimizing the risk. Educate yourself and do not let laziness or carelessness cost you dearly. Ditch weak passwords or remember not to take internet offers at face value. Navigate the ocean of the World Wide Web without going astray and ending up in pirate coves and perilous reefs.