The internet is a wonderful place, from that first time you set up your first modem to today when you made a convenient search on your smartphone’s Wi-Fi the web has opened a whole different world of possibilities. Unfortunately, however, these possibilities aren’t always positive in nature.
The harsh reality is that there are plenty of troublemakers across the web who are looking for opportunities to steal information, misdirect people, and spread malware. Millions of people are losing money every year to all kinds of scams on the internet and it’s not pretty. Even large corporations are paying firms hundreds and thousands of dollars to handle their cybersecurity issues these days (http://www.goodwinlaw.com/services/practices/privacy-and-cybersecurity) so you can be sure this is an important topic.
The silver lining, however, is that there are plenty of simple and straightforward tips you can use to help protect your valuable information. Whether it’s learning to spot suspicious emails or utilising proxies to boost your anonymity while browsing, there are so many options out there to help. Below we’ll take a look at some of the best and most common tips for staying safe and secure online.
Learn to Spot Unusual Emails
Emails pretending to be companies like Paypal or your bank in order to steal your financial information are known as phishing scams. The best way to deal with these is to read up on what to look out for in a phishing scam email. Some common signs are broken English with spelling mistakes, a weird-looking email address, and links to an unusual website.
Only Visit Secure & Trusted Sites
While most websites are doing their best to bring you quality information and services, some websites exist solely to try to mislead you or install malware onto your machine. With this in mind, you should only visit websites which you know to be legitimate and those recommended by trusted sources. This dramatically reduces the likelihood of your computer or details being compromised.
Be Careful with your Personal Information
It should go without saying that you should always be careful with your sensitive information, especially when you’re online. For example, only give our your bank details to established vendors you know you can trust – it only takes the one criminal to get a hold of these details for your account to be cleared out in extreme cases.
Do Not Download Files from Untrusted Sources
This goes hand-in-hand with only visiting trusted websites which are secure. Beware of downloading any files from suspicious sources, these can sometimes be destructive or irritating pieces of software like Trojans, Malware, Worms, or Adware.
Use Antivirus Browser Extensions
Some antivirus programs offer browser extensions which can do two very useful things; they can tell you if a website is trusted or not and they can alert you if any elements on a site are trying to do anything malicious in nature. While these extensions are never full-proof, they are certainly a great place to start when trying to stay safe and secure online.