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There are many things to think about regarding online safety. On a basic level, your mind may first come to protection from scammers and hacking. However, staying safe online is much more than that. It’s also about protecting yourself on a personal level, and not sharing anything which could compromise you. This particularly includes social media.
Staying safe online means being in control of what you choose to share, keeping personal data and information safe, and protecting yourself (or your business) from online threats.
Here are some important methods to consider to stay safe online:
It’s never easy to read long terms and conditions or look through settings in detail, especially with websites and social media, but privacy settings are key to protecting yourself. Switch your social media profiles to private instead of public, for example, so that you can always control who sees your content.
You can also tailor any other privacy settings in regard to your internet browsing for specific websites, and how you want to control the way people can communicate with you.
Even if you have a secure and private internet connection, VPNs can provide that additional barrier of security for your home browsing. However, VPNs real purpose is shown through public internet, as they become a boon for those wanting to browse on the go, or need to work remotely.
Connecting to a VPN means you can more securely use a public WiFi, like at a hotel or in a restaurant or coffee shop. You should try not to use a public WiFi for internet browsing if you’re going to be making confidential transactions or expressing personal information like entering bank card details, as public WiFis are never completely secure.
If you’re looking to develop a keen and professional understanding of safe online practices, both for yourself and in a technical way to assist others, then you can actively work to gain qualifications such as an online computer science masters degree. This will allow you to focus on and learn more about how to keep systems secure and online practices protected. This is an ideal choice for those who want to learn more about the subject, who already have an interest or qualification in computer science or who would simply like to arm themselves with top information regarding online threats and how to deal with them.
It can be very easy to identify junk or spam emails a lot of the time, but sometimes — especially if you’re busy or not concentrating — some can look more professional than others, especially if scammers have attempted to use official names, like the name of your bank or an online shopping company you’ve recently ordered from.
Be sure to take the time to understand what junk and scam emails look like, how to react to them and how to safely avoid them.
Furthermore, pay attention to the possibility of scammers online through social media channels, too. Anybody online has the power to create the social media profile they want, using fake information and photos, so be sure to trust your instincts when it comes to new people, and be wary about who you share information with.
The common issue with passwords is that it needs to be something you can easily remember — which is why so many people choose something simple. It’s fundamental to secure your online browsing with secure passwords, however. This needs to include a mixture of letters, numbers, and other relevant characters. It shouldn’t be anything too obvious, such as the place where you live or something obvious to you. A lot of people don’t realize that they may be giving their passwords out on social media to potential hackers — such as using the name of your pet as your password and then making a large, public post about your pet with their name included in the description.
It’s easy to want to share that perfect snap or post on your social media, and it’s achievable in seconds to upload straight to your profile. However, if you upload quickly and frivolously, you may risk sharing information you don’t want to be shared. There could be something in the background you didn’t notice – like your wallet with your bank card left on the side – which could open up possibilities for criminal behavior.
It’s important to remember that information that could compromise you may not always be obvious to you, but it may be obvious to someone else who is on the lookout for vulnerabilities. Posting a snap of your holiday with a large statement of how long you’re going to be away for maybe great to share with friends, but if your profile is public, perhaps you have just alerted a criminal to the fact that you won’t be home for a while — and your house may be vulnerable and empty. This is just one example.
So always double-check your posts before you make them public.
While there are many technical and official methods to protect yourself online, such as anti-virus security, VPNs, and privacy settings, a lot of staying safe online is also about using your own instincts. A lot of the time, you can trust your own intuition to know when something feels like a threat, but to do so you need to make sure you’re always browsing mindfully.