The Internet is one of the greatest inventions ever achieved by humankind. By connecting people worldwide, the Internet accelerated development and rushed us into a new era of the free flow of information, knowledge, and ideas.
Nowadays, we use the Internet in many aspects of life, be it professional, educational, commercial, or scientific. Rarely anyone can imagine your life without the Web.
However, the brighter the light of success, the darker is its shadow. Unfortunately, the freedom in cyberspace enables various criminal activities you might fall victim to, such as online scams, bank account hacking, or identity theft.
Fortunately, you aren’t completely vulnerable. With security measures like creating strong passwords, keeping your data private, or using antivirus and VPN software, you will be able to protect yourself from the shady characters on the Web.
Read on if you want to find more rules of internet safety.
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Create Strong Passwords
Passwords are the keys to your accounts and your security, so you must choose them carefully. Creating a good password is not an easy task. The password must be long and complicated enough to prevent someone from guessing it.
If you want to create a strong password, you should at least use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, symbols, and punctuation marks.
Also, avoid using words that can easily be found in the dictionary or related to your personal life. Don’t use your date of birth or your child’s name as a password either. Moreover, you should never use the same password for multiple sites, don’t share your passwords with anyone, and change them periodically. Alternatively, you can use password management software to take care of that for you.
The good news is that many platforms now offer two-factor authentication (2FA), which requires you to use unique codes when logging in, apart from your password.
So, if you are using software like Rescale HPC for your work, the hacker won’t access it even if your passwords are compromised.
Don’t Give Out Personal Information
The first rule of internet safety is to give out as little personal information as possible. Never reveal your address, social security number, credit card data, etc., to a party you don’t trust.
In particular, you shouldn’t share such sensitive data on online forums or other platforms that are widely accessible to anyone.
And don’t forget that many fake websites ask for private data. If you think that the website is suspicious, check its address in the browser’s address bar – scam websites often have typos in their addresses, or simply type its name into an Internet search engine and see if it has any reviews.
If it’s a scam, you will probably find online complaints about it.
Use Reputable Antivirus Software
Antivirus software is a crucial part of your Internet security. It helps detect and block viruses before they infect your computer or mobile device and steal data from your hard drive.
Some antivirus software comes with additional features like anti-spyware protection or firewall protection but doesn’t let these features confuse you.
Just choose an antivirus tool with a good reputation out there and run regular scans of your hard drive at least once a week to see whether any threats are lurking on your computer or phone.
Most antiviruses now also include real-time file scanning, which blocks dangerous files before they even make it to your hard drive.
Use A VPN to Protect Your Privacy
If you value privacy and anonymity while browsing the Web, consider using a VPN service to encrypt your IP address and protect your identity while browsing the Internet by replacing it with the address of its servers, making it harder for hackers to find out who you are and breach your security.
In addition, a VPN allows you to pretend to be in another country so that you can access services from other countries like Netflix US – just make sure you select a VPN server located in the country whose content you want to access, e.g., for watching Netflix US you need a server located in the United States.
Take Precautions When Dealing With Scams
There are many types of scams on the Internet, and we can’t possibly list all of them here. However, some general rules apply in most cases: if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is; if someone offers you something free of charge, there must be something in it for the scammer.
Never provide your personal or financial information to anyone you don’t know, and never respond to suspicious requests or messages. As a rule of thumb – be very cautious with anything that promises to make you rich overnight.
Avoid Opening Unknown Attachments
Many viruses and other kinds of malicious software spread through emails and messages sent by unknown senders. The emails might contain links to virus-infected websites or attachments that can infect your system just by opening them.
To avoid such dangers to your computer or mobile device, make sure you never open attachments coming from unknown senders, no matter how convincing they seem to be.
If you don’t know who sent an attachment in an email and are not expecting one from that sender, don’t open it! Instead, delete it immediately.
Be Careful With Public Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi hotspots are handy. However, they might also facilitate the hackers’ work. It is important to remember that any public Wi-Fi network may be compromised.
That doesn’t mean hackers will be able to go through your browsing history or steal your data straight away. But instead, they can spoof websites to trick you into entering private information, such as passwords and credit card data.
To avoid falling victim to that kind of attack, don’t use banking apps or other sensitive tools on public Wi-Fi networks, and use a VPN service to encrypt your connection.
If you need to do that, check twice that you’ve entered the correct address, and don’t enter sensitive information unless you can verify the site’s authenticity.
Don’t Post Inappropriate Photos
Most people know not to post their social security number online, but people often post pictures of themselves in compromising positions. Anything you put online can stay there forever and come back to haunt you later in life.
So never post or send nude photos or videos of yourself or others. But nude photos aren’t the only things you shouldn’t post. If you don’t want to disclose your address, phone number, or workplace, keep that information out of your online photos and videos.
The Internet is a great place to have fun, communicate, and share information. However, the fact that you can find information and get in touch with people from all over the world also opens up a new window for online threats.
Therefore, it’s essential to know how to stay safe on the Internet, follow internet safety rules, and protect yourself from hackers, scammers, and other shady characters who might want to harm you or steal your personal information.