Life on the internet nowadays can be risky – you’ll either found yourself getting bullied or harassed online or in a blink of an eye, your personal computer or devices is no longer working because it has acquired malware from an unprotected website, or worst comes to worse you’re account on several social media accounts have been hacked.
The hardest thing after such unfortunate circumstances is that you’ll found yourself clueless as to how you can resolve this matter. So before things get out of hand, here are some tips that you can practice to always stay safe online.
1. Don’t post your personal information publicly
Totally a big NO in the world of internet and social media, naivety and posting of your personal information just to get anyone’s attention or for any other purposes is not advisable. You may find yourself in the midst of scams, or people using your information to blackmail you in exchange of something you may not afford to provide. As much as possible, limit the circle of people you’ll be sending out your personal information.
Also, sharing your real time location isn’t a good idea at all. If you have stalkers, you are just giving them an open invitation to enter your nearby where you are.
2. Think Before You Post
Just always keep in mind that before your enthusiasm gets the best of you, everything that you have posted, from pictures to videos, even if you have deleted it a long time, it will be kept forever. Not only to the social sites, but someone out there may have actually downloaded or screen captured whatever it is you have posted.
Think that once you have posted something, it gets to be viewed and owned by public and the frenzy it may cause would be beyond your control. Since internet is a world wherein people share their thoughts and beliefs, you should also respect others’ opinion on different situations to avoid arguments that may result for your reputation to be bashed.
Also, if your online posts offended someone or it is against the law, you can potentially find yourself in a much big trouble.
3. Keep a Unique Password (and change it every now and then)
As much as possible keep your password as unique as it can be. Most sites suggest if the password you have provided is strong enough. Do not also give out the password/s you have on different websites especially to those people you really don’t know or you’ve just met online.
Some complications may rise if your passwords have been changed beyond your knowledge and you can’t get in touch with the people you believe know your log in credentials. But having a hardened password doesn’t mean it will never be hacked by anyone, so make sure that you occasionally change your passwords for safety measurements.
Most banks do this every 3 months to protect their client’s online banking access. While it is somehow inconvenient, you have to make sure no one can access your online information.
4. Don’t Talk to Strangers
We can also apply this rule that we usually say to kids. Be cautious as to whom you are talking to because most of the time, some of them isn’t actually the person they are saying to you. Some people has this technique of getting someone’s trust and eventually engage them in meeting up or other transactions that are deemed to be speculative. If someone expresses or puts you in an uncomfortable situation, you may either report it to avoid future conversations or tell someone so you’ll be able to assess on what actions you should take.
5. Clear your Cache
Probably one of the things we always forget to do after browsing the internet – cleaning your devices cache for it actually keeps track of you what you’ve done while browsing the internet. If you won’t clear your cache, people can actually look into details of your online activities every day.
Another option you can do if you always forget to clear your cache is to you incognito. This will not keep track of the websites you visit nor your online activities. So if someone else’s uses your computer or laptop, your activities will not be restored.
You can also use VPN, TOR or web proxy if you want protection not only in your network but also outside your network since these types of online security conceal your true whereabouts.
6. Never use the free Wi-Fi
You may have been swayed by free Wi-Fi access in malls or your favorite coffee shop without being speculative as to what these institutions may get from your devices. Not only you’re putting yourself at risk, but you’re actually letting strangers get access into your delicate information that might cause you trouble in the future.
7. Always check if the website uses HTTPS
Always check if the website you’re visiting has the HTTPS, more specifically if it’s green coded, because sites without such precautionary measure will expose your transactions and communications with the website.
8. Avoid using Public Computers
Yes, you have logged out all your accounts or even cleared the history. But some computer shops uses software to save your passwords on the websites you’ve opened. So as much as possible, use your own devices when browsing online.
9. Use Anti-Virus Protection on your PC
Probably one of the things that you should never go out of your checklist to maintain safety online. Using a reliable Anti-Virus will inform you if a site may cause malware issues to your PC or it’s unsafe to browse. There are some anti-virus that offers either free or paid version, but will nevertheless ensure you’re safe surfing the internet.
10. Protect your network with Firewall
A firewall is an efficient comprehensive security software that has the ability to block malicious access to your personal computers and devices, thus protecting you from possible hackers that may have access to your confidential accounts and information.
You can also use firewall to block unnecessary websites from being accessed on your end to protect potential risks. The common websites you must block is of course, porn sites, messaging sites.
11. Smart Choice in Clicking Websites
Just because a website has something to offer that you’ve been wanting for so long or it has a freebies that you find interesting, doesn’t mean that your safety is not at stake. Accessing these sites and giving them the ability to know your IP Address and letting them have your information is definitely not a smart choice of keeping yourself safe online.
Always be cautious and be inquisitive as to why a person or a website needs this crucial information from you.
There’s nothing wrong in making sure that you’re safe online, but knowing the precautionary measures and doing nothing about it, or performing things online that might get you in trouble is an attitude that should be change over time.
Not only because we do not your information getting spread like a wildfire beyond your recognition, but also because the impact of such incidents might affect you physically and psychologically. Doing these simple steps signify that you are aware of your actions online and you uphold your reputation.