How to Protect Yourself Online

Careless habits on the internet leave millions of people vulnerable to scams, viral attacks and identity theft. Risks have increased even more with virtually everyone accessing the internet on smartphones every day. Even though people’s behavior has changed with the prevalence of mobile computing, people have to keep the same basic safety measures in mind.

Be careful when downloading

Most types of malware are delivered when someone consents to download a seemingly legitimate file or program. Before downloading anything, research the file to make sure it’s not a scam or reported as malware. This should always be done if it is not a well-known piece of software from a trusted website.

Password practices

Hackers can easily steal your information if you use weak passwords. Your login information should be unique and difficult to guess. It’s also unwise to use the same passwords for multiple accounts. Change passwords on a regular basis to thwart criminals who may already have your passwords.

Avoid dangerous temptations

Scammers use provocative images to get you to click on dangerous links. Use your best judgment when random suspicious links or thumbnails pop up to tempt you. Be extremely suspicious of any link that takes you to a site that prompts you for personal details such as credit card or password information.

Limit the information you share online

Any pictures or personal details that you submit on social media are there forever. Once you post information, it is likely that you can’t undo that decision. This can be especially damaging if you upload sexually explicit or disparaging images. If you’re searching for a job online, be careful where you submit personal information such as your address, birth date and social security number. It’s usually sufficient to list your professional credentials and work experience.

Keep software and security apps up to date

Hackers are constantly looking for vulnerabilities in commonly-used software such as operating systems, browsers and common office productivity suites. In order to prevent these attacks, make sure that all the software on your system is updated as soon as patches are released. It’s also vital to install a comprehensive security suite that catches viral attacks online and prevents malware from gaining a foothold on your device or system. Make sure your antivirus is able to update its virus definitions and engine on a regular and frequent basis.

By using some basic safety measures, you can surf the internet without severe consequences. For even greater safety when conducting financial transactions and other sensitive activities, you could use a VPN or use a private browser that doesn’t expose your device to harm. Many dangers lurk on the internet, so protecting yourself is more important now than ever before.

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