The internet is a wonderful place to socialize, explore, and shop — but it can also be dangerous. Every day, cybercriminals and hackers find new ways to steal your personal information and use it for malicious purposes.
Therefore, it’s important to know how to keep yourself safe against online threats.
Avoid Unsecured Wi-Fi Connections
When you’re on the go, using free or “open” wireless networks can be appealing. However, these connections aren’t secure, leaving them susceptible for hackers to infiltrate and easily access your personal or financial information. In other words, if your device is broadcasting personal information over an unsecured network, it could easily fall into the wrong hands. Ultimately, when in public spaces, you should only be using a password-protected wireless connection.
Make Passwords as Secure as Possible
From checking your email to online shopping and banking, you will need to create a password for almost every online activity. While it’s convenient to use a short, easy-to-remember password, this can be a serious threat to your online security. That is why you will want to use long, complicated passwords that are difficult for someone else to guess yet relatively easy for you to remember.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
Regardless of how strong your password is, it’s not enough on its own when it comes to protecting sensitive data online. Hackers can find ways around simple passwords if they’re determined enough. That’s why security experts recommend using two-factor authentication to verify your identity before accessing accounts since it requires you to enter a unique code, typically sent via text message or an app on your phone when you log in. Adding another layer of protection makes it harder for hackers to access your online personal accounts, even if they get a hold of your password.
Don’t Click Suspicious Links
Chances are you rely heavily on email to communicate online. But did you know it’s one of the most common ways hackers spread malware? In particular, hackers can send out malicious links as an email or text message containing a fake website link. When you click on it, your device could be infected with malware and ransomware, leading to identity theft. If you’re looking to uncover more information about malware removal tools and other website security services, turn to a resource like Sitelock to help protect you from these and other suspicious links.
Bottom line: Never open attachments or follow any links in emails unless they’re coming from someone you trust.
Precautions to Keep in Mind While Shopping Online
Whether you’re shopping online at home or on the go, hackers are always looking for ways to steal your personal information. Here’s what you should know to protect yourself:
- Make sure websites have “HTTPS” — and not “HTTP” — in the address bar.
- Never respond to pop-ups asking for personal information while you’re on a checkout page. Instead, close or navigate away from them and contact customer service about unknown charges.
- Use an online shopping app instead of an internet browser to make it harder for hackers to access your data through phishing scams, as the former is more secure than the latter.
- Use a credit card for online transactions, especially on unfamiliar e-commerce sites. As compared to debit cards, credit cards offer better fraud protection, and these types of transactions can more easily be canceled if your information gets stolen.
- Avoid using public computers (e.g., those in cafes and libraries) to access sensitive data like payment details.
- Don’t use your office device or network for online shopping. Hackers are looking for ways to gain access, so it’s best not to take the risk.
Whenever Possible, Avoid Sharing Personal Information Online
With cybersecurity threats increasing every day, staying safe online can feel like a challenge — but it doesn’t have to be. By using secure Wi-Fi connections, creating strong passwords, and using two-factor authentication, know you’re making the right steps to protect your identity online. Taking necessary measures to safeguard your personal and financial information should always be top of mind.