These days, there’s just no escaping the inevitable daily usage of the Internet. In most cases, we welcome it, warmly, appreciating its convenience for so many of our routine tasks. Just as it is convenient, though, online activity also holds the potential to compromise your personal security.
While there are several ways that a person’s online security can become compromised, there are also several ways that these risks can be combatted. Heeding caution — even in seemingly harmless situations online — can help you reduce the risk of experiencing security issues. Here are some helpful hints for minimizing security risks online.
1. Be Sensible and Smarten Up Your Passwords
Come on, you can be a little more creative than just using “password123” as your go-to for everything. It’s not just a matter of creativity, however. Commonplace passwords such as these can be guessed easily, making a hacker’s work much easier.
Additionally, a universal password (one used for all online accounts) is also risky as it would allow a hacker access to not only the particular account they hacked, but subsequently, everything else with that password.
To hopefully prevent this possibility, creating different passwords for your various accounts is recommended. Additionally, these passwords should be changed about twice a year. It might force more memorization than you’re used to, but it will be worth reducing the security risks.
2. Familiarize Yourself with Anti-Malware Software
Even computer novices know about anti-virus software, but there are major perks for those who are aware of anti-malware software. While anti-virus software is great to have, it does not always come equipped with anti-malware features. Therefore, it’s recommended that you ensure protection from malware by separately installing an anti-malware software.
3. Fine Print Isn’t Always So Fine…
Everyone has rolled their eyes and scrolled through a seemingly endless ‘terms and conditions’ manifesto when signing up for something online. This is sometimes harmless, of course, but there can also be fine print that puts you at risk in these agreements. Some companies will discreetly mention soliciting your information for marketing purposes, which you’ll obviously want to avoid. Whenever possible, seek opt-out options and pay attention to any automatically-checked boxes that appear when agreeing to legal terms.
4. Conceal Your Identity with a VPN (Virtual Private Network)
One of the most convenient aspects of the Internet is that we can access it just about anywhere we go today. However, hackers are known to exploit the use of public wi-fi by creating faking networks. A great way to give yourself some protection when you’re using a public network is through the use of a VPN, which is short for “virtual private network.”
A VPN is designed to keep your profile anonymous from threats such as hackers when you’re using the Wi-Fi at the likes of an airport or a cafe. The use of a VPN will also keep your profile anonymous when you use it at home.