7 Easy Ways to Protect Yourself Online

People often feel a sense of anonymity and isolation while on their computer. However, the online world exposes individuals to a wide range of possible dangers. Yet, by taking a few precautions, being on the internet need not become a potential hazard.

1) Security 

Whether you get online to visit with loved ones, surf the web or complete financial transactions, your computer must be secure. Make sure security updates are regularly installed and the firewall is working. However, for added protection, you must install software that prevents malware, spyware and viruses from infecting your device. Otherwise, hackers may be able to also obtain your passwords and get into your online accounts.

2) Password Wisdom

The more complicated the password, the harder you make it for hackers to decipher. Recommended passwords often contain upper and lower case letters along with numbers and symbols. If need be, write your passwords down and keep them in a safe place. IT techs also advise that you change your password every month or so to heighten the security.

3) Select Websites Carefully 

If shopping online or making other financial transactions, make sure the website has security features. Secure websites typically have an “https” address and a closed padlock somewhere on the page. Nevertheless, make sure the page is safe by clicking on the padlock. There should be a security certificate displayed. Check the “issued to” pop-up window to ensure that the issuance matches the page. If not, you are on a phishing site that will steal personal information.

4) Download Dangers 

When you download a file, game or program, you are at risk for additionally getting malicious or unwanted software. Many sites have hidden programs within applications that may not become immediately noticeable. These programs may then gain access to files on your computer or follow your keystrokes to sites and gain access by learning your passwords.

5) Personal Computer Only 

If needing to complete any type of transaction involving money, always use your own computer or other device. You do not know if a public machine or another individual’s computer does not contain potentially harmful software. If for any reason you must use another device, delete all of the temporary files and the history before getting off the computer. Likewise, use caution in letting other people use your device.

6) Worries About Wireless 

Internet hotspots that offer wireless connections do not always have the greatest safety precautions. Use caution when connecting your mobile devices at airports, in hotels or at restaurants. Similarly, if using Wi-Fi at home, make sure your connection is password protected and only allow designated users on the network.

7) Log Out 

When done conducting business online, make sure to log out of the site. Otherwise, someone may gain access to your account. Never use the “remember my password” or other login features, which can also be hacked.