Maintaining proper internet security can help protect you from fraud. As Information Technology keeps advancing so does the options for communicating, banking and purchasing online. This means you are doing almost everything through the Internet. You thus need to safeguard your privacy and secure your data while online using your personal computer, tablet or mobile device.
Below are ten tips you can use to ensure your information, online purchases, and communications are less insecure;
1. Use strong passwords
All your accounts should have strong passwords. A password should have not less than eight characters, including a mixture of upper case letters and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Such passwords cannot easily be guessed by a human or a computer. For every account, use a different password, so that you protect all of them just in case a hacker gains access to or finds the password of one account.
2. When shopping online, use your own computer or mobile device
You have no reason trusting a computer that does not belong to you, even if it is your best friend’s computer. You cannot be sure if it has the appropriate protection or if malware has already compromised it. That is why you should always use your own computer or mobile device, have antivirus software installed, and scan your network to be sure if it is safe before you start doing anything.
3. Use a secured Wi-Fi connection
Most public hangout points have open Wi-Fi hotspots for visitors to use. What most users don’t know is how they are putting their data at risk by using those open Wi-Fi connections. Hackers are most likely to listen to your online transaction using Wi-Fi sniffing tools on those open Wi-Fi connections. If you set up a Wi-Fi connection at home, ensure you have a secure password configured on the router. Router vulnerabilities and wrong configurations with weak passwords allow cybercriminals easy access to your home network. Liaise with your vendor to ensure your router is well configured with the strongest password possible.
4. Ignore Emails that appear to have been sent from your bank
Hackers easily get victim’s data through phishing – you receive an email that appears like it came from your bank asking you sensitive information like your password, credit card number, bank balance, etc. Banks never ask for sensitive information like this through emails. So keep your bank accounts safe by not responding to such emails.
5. Be wary of attachments sent to your emails and free software from untrustworthy sources
If an email looks suspicious and it has an attachment, do not try downloading it, it could be malware that automatically gets installed on your computer and copies your information to a hacker’s servers. Such information could be your bank financial data or other online accounts. Another thing you should be careful of is installing software from unknown sources. People browse the internet for free stuff; movies, music, etc. Websites hosting these files ask you to install some software so as to download the digital content, never do that! It is the simplest way hackers get malware on victims’ computers without struggling.
6. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
VPN services encrypt the communication between your computer and the website you are communicating with. It is the surest way to maintain anonymity and online security.
7. Choose your online store wisely when buying stuff online
Focus on the online stores that have the best customer reviews. If you are buying apps, focus on the official sites like Google Play, Windows Store, and Apple iTunes so as to avoid getting fake apps.
8. Update your computer and mobile devices
Whenever a new update is released, install the update immediately. Software vendors usually release updates with the latest security patches, hence updating keeps you and your information secured.
9. Look for secure sites
When browsing online, look for security-enabled websites. Consider addresses starting with “HTTPS” rather than just “HTTP,” the extra “S” denotes security. Such sites take extra measure to secure your data by encrypting the browsing between the computer and the website. Be wary of links you receive in online messages and emails, even if they come from friends. If you suspect the link may steal your personal information, do not click it.
10. Secure your smartphone with a screen lock
As simple as it may look, just do it. In case your device falls into the wrong hands, you won’t be worried about your data being compromised.