Much of our daily lives take place on the internet. This makes it critical to remain diligent about practicing good cyber security habits and protecting yourself from fraud or identity theft. Therefore, internet safety is an important issue and everyone should know how to be safe online. Increasingly, consumers are turning to e-commerce because of its convenience, potential free shipping, and ease of returns and refunds. But the modern convenience of the digital marketplace comes at the expense of cyber safety and security. Safe online shopping is indeed possible, provided you take proper precautions and follow important Internet security tips.
Although internet scams and cybercrime occur, that doesn’t mean you ought to avoid being online altogether. Read on to learn more about tips to stay safe, plus find out about resources that can help you and your family and friends stay safe while surfing the web.
Why is cyber safety so important?
The Internet provides many important services that anyone with a connection can access. One of the important services is digital communication. Although this service allows communication with others via the Internet, it also allows communication with malicious users. Common threats to personal security include phishing, Internet fraud, malware, cyber bullying and so on.
There are many cyber security tips that everybody need to know, below are some tips to help you navigate the web safely and securely!
1. Use security software
Although search engines help with product reviews or price comparisons, there is a risk that you may inadvertently click on “malicious” search results, which could lead to malicious links instead of the intended website. Even if you are careful to prevent malicious links, it is still a good idea to install an antivirus program that will protect your computer or laptop from spyware, malware, and other malicious viruses. Even if you are on a limited budget, you can find free and inexpensive antivirus software. In any case, it pays to pay a little out of pocket for software to be safe when dealing with malware – or worse. If you already have an antivirus or antimalware software installed, make sure you update it regularly.
2. Visit secured sites
Nowadays, HTTPS is a standard web practice even among non-shopping sites. Furthermore, even the Google Chrome browser is flagging any website without HTTPS or a padlock as “not secure.” This makes it easier to keep away from unsecured websites. To the left of a URL of the website, a legitimate site will show a small ‘padlock’ meaning it has SSL (secured socket layer) encryption installed. You can also verify that the site has SSL installed if it starts with HTTPS – as opposed to HTTP only.
3. Do not share your personal information
It is obvious that you should not share your passwords, bank details, or addresses online. But other information, such as details of your relationship, or friend’s information can be used to find answers to your security questions or even to provide tips to hackers about guessing your password. You should also know that anything you post online can still exist, even if you delete it.
4. Turn off bluetooth
A group of researchers found that Bluetooth communication can be compromised and even manipulated. This does not mean that you should not use Bluetooth. However, if you are not paired with another device and are not actively using it, it is best to turn it off. This can also save you some battery power on your phone.
5. Get a temporary credit card
You can use a temporary credit card instead of a regular credit card for online purchases. Ask your credit card company if they can provide you with a temporary credit card number. Many credit card companies will do this to allow you to make a one-time purchase. This will prevent fraudsters who steal your credit card number from making further fraudulent purchases. Some banks also offer virtual credit cards. It’s the same as your regular card, but a random account number is created for each purchase so that hackers can’t use the number again.
6. Avoid phishing attempts
Be careful of email scams. Messages from strangers can be suspect and even communications from someone you trust, such as your bank, can be impersonation. Do not respond to suspicious emails, instant messages, or pop-ups requesting personal information. Do not click on questionable links or enter personal information in questionable forms or surveys. If you have been asked to contribute to a charity, go directly to the organization’s website and do not click on the link that was sent to you. Many phishing attacks happen through infected documents and PDF attachments. If you find a suspicious extension, open it using the Chrome browser. These browsers automatically scan the file and warn you if they detect a virus.
7. Check all the links again before clicking
When checking your email or visiting a website, make sure you know all the links and trust them before clicking on them. One way to find out if a link is safe is to hover over it. An example of a full link will appear in the status bar of your web browser. Make sure the preview link matches the page you’re looking for – you can verify the correct link to the page by searching for the company name in search engines.
8. Monitoring your financial statements
Regularly check your online transactions for any suspicious activity. Credit cards should be used for online purchases in preference to debit cards. This will ensure that your direct funds are not compromised. If you observe any strange purchases in any of your accounts, immediately contact your bank or credit institution and file a complaint.
9. Using a dedicated email address
Create an email address that you should use only for online shopping. This will significantly reduce the number of spam messages you receive and reduce the risk of opening potentially harmful emails disguised as promotions or other advertisements.
10. Strengthen the security of your personal email accounts
Defend against hackers with 2‑Step Verification. Two-Step verification helps to protect your account by requiring you to also use a secondary factor like a code on top of your username and password to log in to your account.
11. Use password management tool
Always use strong passwords that are difficult to predict. Each online account must have a different password. It is difficult to remember so many different passwords, especially if they consist of many letters, numbers, and special characters. However, you can use password management software to help you store strong passwords for multiple accounts.
A good password manager also encrypts passwords that would otherwise be in plain text. Some antivirus and internet security products include password management and password protection features. Even browser extensions are available that protect email addresses and payment information in addition to passwords.
12. Use secure public Wi-Fi
Public places like restaurants, coffee shops, airports, hotels, stores, etc., often provide free Wi-Fi connections. This can be helpful to keep track of email messages, surfing the Internet, and other online activities. However, using public Wi-Fi to sign in to a private account is a big security risk. If you need to access the Internet for online shopping when you’re out shopping, it’s safer to do so via your mobile phone network. Try to avoid online purchases using public Wi-Fi.
13. Use secure VPN connection
If you need to shop online using public Wi-Fi, first install a VPN (a virtual private network). VPN encrypts all data transmitted between your computer or mobile device and the VPN server to prevent hackers from intercepting and displaying any sensitive data you enter. VPN ensures you can safely shop online when you use public Wi-Fi. To further increase your Internet browsing security, use a secure VPN (virtual private network) connection. VPN allows you to have a secure connection between your device and an Internet server without having to control or access the data you exchange.
14. Be careful with what you download
The top goal of cybercriminals is to get you to download malware – programs or applications that transmit malware or attempt to steal information. This malware can be disguised as an app: anything from a popular game to something that checks traffic or the weather. It is recommended not to download apps that look suspicious or come from a site you don’t trust.
15. Use trustworthy mobile apps
When buying from your smartphone or tablet, it is safer to use the app from a trustworthy retailer than a browser. For example – If you shop on Wal-Mart, Amazon, Target, or any other brand, use the app supported by these retailers.
16. Use mobile payment apps
Even with the latest chip technology for cards, consumers are at risk every time they use their debit or credit card in a physical store. Fortunately, many retailers are accepting payments from mobile payment apps, such as Apple Pay, which are the most secure options for making transactions. Mobile payment applications use their verification code for each required purchase. Even when you are shopping online, try to make payments through mobile payment applications.
17. Back up your data
Most Macs and PCs have an option that allows you to back up your data, and it pays to spend time on a regular basis. Backing up your data is helpful if your computer is infected with a virus or you need to restore your computer to its original state. Data backups also help in case your device ever gets lost, stolen, or infected. Data should be backed on an external disk or cloud.
This blog covers a range of cyber security tips & topics, including some things that most people do not consider while being online. From tips for creating a strong password to advice about protecting your identity, we have covered everything the average internet user needs to know to stay safe online. It is possible to enjoy secure online activities provided you follow the tips and recommendations mentioned in this blog. Always keep these basic Internet safety rules in mind to stay safe.
If you have any additional questions regarding online security, please feel free to contact us.