Wondering what safe internet habits you should be doing? If you aren’t, you should – more and more of our lives are done online especially during this pandemic, and it’s become the newest avenue for crooks and other people to take advantage of people. That being said, there are a few, simple ways to keep yourself protected from the terrors of the web, and it doesn’t take a genius to learn them by heart:
Check The Link
When you receive suspicious links on your email, it’s likely that these are “phishing” sites. These are fake or misleading websites that are made to look exactly like a website you intend to browse but are made with the sole purpose of acquiring your account information. One way to tell if you’re on a phishing site is by being discerning about the link you’re about to click on. This is a common occurrence with bank websites or online payment portals. One way to check the legitimacy of a site is if there is a lock icon showing next to the URL bar. This also applies to spotting fake news sites.
Just because you can post anything online doesn’t mean you should. Posts that have sensitive information can put your account at risk if you’re not careful. By simply participating in harmless Facebook post trends that ask what your mother’s full maiden name is or what city your parents were born in, both of which are common password retrieval questions are very real dangers that can lead to your account getting compromised. In the same fashion, one shouldn’t post documents such as passports, IDs, or credit card information online least you want someone to steal your identity, even if you blur out some of the details.
Mind your privacy settings
Answering quizzes online about yourself on Facebook or opting-in on apps because of a viral trend via Facebook usually come at the price of your personal information. Some of these apps lure users to sign-up via their Facebook account where they can access your information. Sometimes these apps will ask if they can post on your Facebook wall or if it’s a mobile app, ask if they can access certain features on your phone like your camera or microphone. It’s not always dangerous per se, but it pays to know how your information is used by these apps. You can tell your browsing habits is being monitors by simply noticing that the ads you’re seeing change after doing a quick search. This is usually linked to your off-Facebook activity which can be turned off on your settings.
Say things that you can say in person
Nowadays companies do a quick Google search to do a background check of a potential hiree. Sometimes careless online habits, like making emotional posts, can lead to regretful consequences. In some extreme cases, proof of trolling or online bullying can cost a career or ruin one’s reputation. Always bear in mind that whatever you post online can be traced back to you. It may not be always the case but with online head-hunters especially that hiring can be done virtually, companies are bound to come across your digital footprints.
Strengthen your password
Safe internet habits also include strengthening your passwords, as a quick Google search can show you some of the most common password combinations. It might be counterproductive but if you can remember your password, the chances are it’s probably not safe enough. The best way to do this is to use long alphanumeric passwords, avoid dictionary words, and use unlikely text combinations. You may also opt to use two-factor authentication if that is an option. This entails verifying your information twice either on your pc / laptop and your mobile phone. This makes it harder for hackers to log-in to your account.