Tips for Staying Safe Online

The internet can be a scary place. With all of the cyber attacks and data breaches making headlines, it’s no wonder that people are concerned about their safety online. But there are steps you can take to protect yourself from becoming a victim of a cybercrime. Here are tips for staying safe online.

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Educate Yourself

The first step to staying safe online is to educate yourself. There are a lot of scams and malicious software out there, and the best way to protect yourself is to know what to look for. Please read up on the latest online threats and learn how to spot them. The Online Threats Encyclopedia from Norton by Symantec is a good resource for this.

Use Strong Passwords 

One of the simplest things you can do to protect your online accounts is to use strong passwords. A strong password is at least eight characters long and includes a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid using easily guessed words like “password” or your birthday. And don’t reuse passwords across multiple accounts. If one of your accounts is compromised, a hacker will then have access to all of your other accounts if you’re using the same password. 

Keep Your Software Up to Date 

One way hackers gain access to people’s personal information is by exploiting software vulnerabilities that haven’t been updated with the latest security patches. So it’s essential to ensure that all your devices’ software is up to date. This includes your operating system, web browser, apps, and plugins. Many software programs have an automated update feature that you can enable, so you don’t have to remember to check for updates. 

Be Careful What You Click 

Another way hackers try to steal people’s personal information is by sending phishing emails. These emails look like they’re from a legitimate company but are actually from a hacker trying to trick you into giving them your login credentials or financial information. To avoid a phishing scam, be careful what you click in emails, even if they appear from a company or person you know. If an email looks suspicious, go directly to the website in question by typing the URL into your web browser instead of clicking on any links in the email. 

Use a VPN 

Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) can see everything you’re doing online when connected to the internet. But suppose you use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). In that case, your traffic will be encrypted and routed through a server in another location, making it much more difficult for anyone to snoop on your activity or steal your personal information. 

There are several things you can benefit from using a VPN. First, you will most likely increase speed because the data is not being routed through as many servers. This also encrypts your information so that anyone who may be trying to hack into your system will not be able to see what you are doing. Overall, it is a great way to stay safe online.

Use Secure Messaging Apps

 If you’re concerned about someone snooping on your conversations, use the most secure messaging app like Signal or WhatsApp. These apps encrypt your messages so only the intended recipient can read them. And since they’re end-to-end encrypted, not even the company that makes the app can read your messages. 

Don’t Post Personal Information Online 

You should also be careful about what personal information you share online—even if your account privacy settings are set to “private.” Once something is posted online, it’s essentially public property and could be shared beyond your control. So think twice before posting anything—including photos—that could jeopardize your safety or the safety of others if it falls into the wrong hands. 

Invest In A Good Antivirus Program

Last but not least, one of the best things you can do to protect your devices from malware and other online threats is to invest in a good antivirus program. This will help to detect and remove any malicious software that may have found its way onto your device. Many different anti-virus programs are available, so be sure to research to find one that best suits your needs. 

By following these simple tips, you can help protect yourself from becoming a victim of a cybercrime. Remember to use strong passwords, keep your software up-to-date, be careful what you click, use a VPN, and don’t post personal information online—even if your account privacy settings are set to “private.” These precautions will help keep you safe as you navigate the sometimes scary world wide web!

Karla Urwitz
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