Online safety is hugely important – especially with how often we now use online technologies. We are continually online – via our smart television, when we use social media apps on our smartphones, or when we do online shopping and check emails on our computers.
The online world has become integrated into our daily lives, and this is why these Internet safety tips we have listed are so important. There are a plethora of hackers and cybercriminals who act unethically online and use various methods to try and steal your personal data, card information, or simply to cause disruptions.
You must therefore be guarded when online, and understand how to protect yourself. To ensure you can do this, we have listed 10 online safety tips that you can put into practice immediately!
1. Install antivirus software
Firstly, you should install antivirus software. This is one of the best things you can do for the Internet safety. Antivirus software protects virtually all of your online world including email, web browsing, and all incoming and outgoing traffic.
You can find a host of quality free antivirus programs, but we advise purchasing a full software license to a product like Norton, Panda, or AVG. Antivirus software can run in the background and provide excellent online safety.
2. Ensure your web browser has a pop-up blocker
Unfortunately, pop-up adverts and spam viruses are still prevalent on the web today. These pop-ups can be incredibly annoying and difficult to close. However, more importantly, they can pose a real security threat. Some pop-ups may be embedded with viruses or damage your device if you click on them.
As a result, you must have a pop-up or add blocker enabled on any web browser you use. Most web browsers like Google Chrome and Firefox have these cyber safety features enabled as standard.
3. Use advanced authentication when logging in to websites
Most websites today where you can sign into an account will offer some type of advanced authentication. This could be sending a confirmation code to your mobile device or requiring the use of a third-party authentication app like Authy to verify your login.
If a website uses any type of advanced authentication, always use it! It may take a little more time, but the extra security is never too much for the Internet safety. Never use personal data on websites with HTTP protocol. Here is the full information about the difference between HTTP and HTTPS.
4. Regularly clear your browser history
Whenever you visit a website on a web browser (unless you have history turned off), the information is stored in your browser history. This can provide a potential security flaw, especially if you have inadvertently clicked on a virus link or a malicious pop-up, for example.
As a result, we advise regularly clearing your browser history and clearing cache as well. Some web browsers allow you to schedule this, or you can change the settings, so it only keeps your browser history for a set number of days. Doing this improves your cyber safety, but can also improve your browser performance.
5. Use an email spam filter
When using an email service such as Outlook or Gmail, it is important to use an email filter. Most antivirus software provides email filtering and scanning as default. Also, some email clients also provide basic filtering measures.
By using email spam filters, you can prevent dangerous and malicious emails reaching your inbox. Your inbox will remain clear, and it will also prevent any malicious attacks like DoS where thousands of emails are sent instantly to try and flood your inbox.
6. Never reply to, or open links from questionable email sources
Building on the above point, you should always exercise caution when using your email client and interacting with emails. One of the most important online safety rules is to never interact with a questionable email in any way. This includes opening it, clicking on any links in the email text, or replying to it.
By doing so, you could accidentally trigger a virus that could destroy your computer. If an email looks suspicious, it probably is – simply delete it and clear it from your deleted items immediately.
7. Never reveal a password online
This should be a given, but it is surprising how many people would still give out their personal details and passwords without question. 99% of the time, customer support teams, or businesses will only ever ask for basic details like your name and email address.
Under no circumstance should you ever give your password out. There should be no need for the person you are speaking to, to have your password – if someone asks for it, you can be fairly certain they are trying to scam you!
8. Always use complex passwords
Weak passwords are easy to crack and can allow hackers entry into your accounts. There is a reason that most websites today require you to use a password that includes a combination of numbers, letters, different case, and special characters.
This is because it greatly improves the strength and security of your password. There is also less chance that a hacker will guess your password if it is something random. Always choose complex passwords with multiple different characters!
9. Keep your browser, email client, and anti-virus software up to date
To ensure that you are equipped with the latest security and protection, you must regularly update your various online tools. This includes your email client, antivirus software, and web browser. These products are often updated with new security patches and bug fixes for the higher online safety level. Updating drivers on your computer is also a great idea.
10. Exercise selective clicking on websites
Finally, you should use caution and be selective when clicking anything on websites. Don’t simply click links, images, or adverts without understanding what they are and where they go to. Some websites are embedded with malicious links and adverts that could infect your device with viruses.
We hope you have found these online safety tips beneficial. Please take your Internet safety seriously! There are real threats online, and if you do not exercise caution, you could be caught out. By practicing these simple online safety tips you can greatly reduce the chance of anything bad happening when you surf the web, use social media, check your email, or order online shopping, for example.