Surfing the Web 101: How to Stay Safe Online
“The Internet is a wonderful tool
but technology is increasing faster than the safety message is.” -Pam Weaver
In a world of fast internet wherein almost everything is accessible and possible online, most individuals would spend a huge fraction of their time surfing online. Because of this recent trend, online savvy people would invest so much time on social media and other Internet platforms and though that is not exactly a bad thing, being blissfully unaware of the risks these individuals are exposing themselves to is.
Before the untoward happens in any of your online exploits and excursions, arm yourself with information as to how to protect yourself while surfing the Internet. After all, it may look harmless, but that does not mean that the danger is not very real.
Here are some of the few things you can do to make sure you are safe online:
1.) Know the scams
The Internet is a vast place that it would be inevitable for scammers and unsavory charlatans to find their way in. Though most websites are protected, the same cannot be said for the rest of the web pages you visit—you may be unaware, but the web page you are visiting may be created for the sole reason of scamming.
Keep yourself ahead by reading articles and blogs as regarding current scams. Follow the news and pay it forward by sharing it with your family and friends, so that they too can adequately protect themselves and be safe online.
2.) Think before you click
In the same vein as thinking, before you post, you should think before you click whenever you are surfing online. Suspicious looking links, messages from people you do not know and the like may contain malware or worse phishing scams. Be wary of websites that ask you for any personal information—especially if the site itself already looks fishy from the get go.
Additionally, take extra caution with the messages from people you do know. If it contains anything dubious or if anything about the message makes you feel skeptical, verify first with your friend if they had indeed sent you the message. This is basic tip to stay safe online.
3.) Shop safely
Online shopping provides the convenience of shopping in your sweatpants which its alternative, in-store shopping cannot. However, like any online transactions, online shopping is also peppered with risks—mainly if you use your credit or debit card for these online transactions. To stay safe online, remember to never shop on a site that does not contain the “https” and a padlock icon to the left or right of the URL.
There is a myriad of web pages online that there are bound to be phony and spurious websites cropping up every now and then. These are sites that you should avoid, and though they may look like a legitimate website, there are a few things that would give it away. Check the page for misspellings, low-resolution images, and bad grammar.
If these are present, there is a good reason for you to suspect the website. However, scammers are getting ahead and are getting better at replicating websites so do a double check. If it asks for your information, check the URL and make sure it is not asking for information when it should not. Additionally, you can download McAfee SiteAdvisor which is free and would protect you from illegitimate websites.
5.) Get a sophisticated password
While “123456789” or “qwerty123456” might be easy to remember, they are not exactly safe to use. Do away with the weak passwords and use uncrackable and complex ones that would contain letters, numbers as well as a symbol.
Phrases would be excellent as well if you do not wish to have to commit to memory an incredibly convoluted password. Routinely change your passwords and do not commit the novice mistake of using the same password for critical accounts.
I hope these tips will help you to stay safe online! If you have any advice, please share them in the comments