Most people spend a lot of time online, surfing around different websites. In the early days of the internet, it was hard to know what sites were real and which were fake as there just wasn’t enough experience built up. These days, although scams are getting smarter, there are a bunch of things you can do to keep yourself safe. This article will share will you some pro tips for how to be safe while surfing online.
Get A VPN
For those that travel a lot, you may find yourself frequently using public wifi. While public wifi is often very handy, these networks are not secure. When you log in to one of these services, you become open to attacks from hackers. By using a VPN or virtual private network, allows you to have a secure connection wherever you go.
If you are concerned about costs you can normally find NordVPN coupons on various websites. Having a VPN is a super simple and effective way to keep you and your information safe whilst on the move. This is the number one pro tip for how to be safe while surfing online.
Use Complicated Passwords
Sometimes it has hard to imagine why anyone would try to hack your computer. Why would they bother, you might think. It is this kind of mentality that leads to users not setting up complicated enough passwords. The more characters a password has, the harder it is to guess by brute force. This difficulty increases exponentially with each character, especially if you have numbers, capital letters, and special characters in your password.
A good tip is that it is not any less safe to use a series of words in a memorable combination. For instance, “MyDogEats5£Notes!” would be just as hard to predict as a random series of numbers and letters. By using a brute force algorithm, it would take approximately 3 million years to guess a password of this length. Make sure your passwords are extra secure as this is a really good way to stay safe online.
Firewalls are often included in laptop security packages and are a really important security measure. Firewalls block any access to your network from insecure devices. These are especially important if you have smart devices connected to your internet which are not often secure. Without a firewall, these devices can provide backdoor access to your network that hackers can exploit. Getting a firewall is a great way to stay safe online.
Be Careful Where You Click
Using a VPN, a strong password, and firewalls are great ways to stop hackers from accessing your computer from the outside. However, these don’t protect you from everything. If you click on a bad link that has malware embedded in it, then you have just given access to your computer, despite all of these protections. Be extra careful of what links you open and if anything looks suspect then don’t touch it.
Be Careful What You Share
Sharing personal information online is part of the way modern websites work. Every company wants to be able to gather extensive information on their customers as this is how they are tailoring their products and marketing.
However, you need to be wary of companies that appear to be asking you for additional information, above and beyond what you would normally expect. These might be websites phishing for information which they might try to use to reset your passwords and gain access to your accounts. If something appears fishy, take a step back and consider how trustworthy this website seems.
Consider Your Mobile Phone
Much like using your laptop on public wifi if you use your phone on your mobile data provider is not always very secure. You should also make sure that any apps your download is downloaded from an official app store.
There are many text message scams these days that will pretend to be from a delivery company or bank. Double-check any messages you receive and don’t click on any links that appear disingenuous. Keeping your mobile safe is crucial to remaining secure in your online surfing.
Check Before Entering Your Payment Information
One of the easiest ways for scammers to access your bank accounts is if you just give them all your details. There are certain pieces of information that no reputable site will ask for. For instance, if you are setting up a direct debit, you should only need to give over your account number, sort code, expiry date, and security code. They do not need your full card number to set up a direct debit and if you gave that over as well, a hacker would have all of your card information and be able to use it as if it was their own.
Similarly, a website asking for payment should only need your card number, name, expiry date, and security code. Being savvy about where you enter your payment information is essential for keeping yourself safe online.
Update Your Systems
Although some updates may slow down older machines if you want to keep your devices secure you have to keep updating regularly. Most software that has updates include security increases where they are making it harder for hackers to gain access.
Out-of-date software is easier for hackers to break into because they will have had more time to work out its weak points and it may no longer be supported by the software company. Keeping all of your devices up to date is paramount to your online security.
Keep Your Guard Up
Staying safe online should not be too difficult if you take the appropriate cautions. Most hackers, like most thieves, will be opportunists, looking for an easy win. By making your accounts and networks as secure as possible, it won’t be worth their time to try and break down your systems.
Unless you are mega-rich and an obvious target then you should be able to stay safe by keeping as secure as possible. You will still have to remain vigilant and keep your guard up but following the tips in this article should keep you safe whilst surfing online.